PM Narendra Modi to chair first meeting of revamped union council of ministers today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold the first meeting of the expanded union council of ministers on Monday evening.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold the first meeting of the expanded union council of ministers on Monday evening.

Reports said Modi will first hold a meeting of the 26-member union cabinet, followed by a meeting of the council of ministers that now has 65 members. Yesterday, PM Modi had undertaken an expansion of his council of ministers and reshuffled portfolios while bringing in 21 new faces.

Of the 21 new ministers, four were of cabinet ranks, three ministers of state with independent charge and the rest took oath as ministers of state.

Former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was among the biggest gainers as he was allocated defence portfoli0, thereby giving him a member of the cabinet committee on security (CCS).

The other big gainer was Suresh Prabhu, who quit the Shiv Sena and joined the BJP hours before the searing in ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Prabhu, power minister in the Vajpayee government, has already been appointed Modi's 'sherpa' for the G-20 Summit and was appointed the railway minister.

Prabhu replaces DV Sadananda Woda, who has now been moved to the law ministry.

The big surprise was Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who shed Defence portfolio, getting the additional charge of Information and Broadcasting.

The I&B ministry was held by Prakash Javadekar, who has now been left with only Environment and Forests.

Another big change was JP Nadda taking over from Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who now moves to Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

Powerful Jat leader from Haryana, Birender Singh, who joined the BJP recently the Congress, has been rewarded with cabinet rank in the Rural Development ministry. Nitin Gadkari was holding the additional charge of the ministry following the death of Gopinath Munde in a road accident.

The three ministers of state with independent charge who were sworn in today were former ministers in Vajpayee government Bandaru Dattatreya and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who have been given Labour and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship portfolios while new comer and first time MP Mahesh Sharma from Gautam Budh Nagar, bordering Delhi, gets independent charge of Culture and Tourism and MoS in Civil Aviation. Rudy is also MoS Parliamentary Affairs.

14 other Ministers of State were sworn-in. They are Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Ram Kripal Yadav, Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, Sanwar Lal Jat and Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya Giriraj Singh, Hansraj Ahir, Ram Shankar Katheria, Jayant Sinha, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Babul Supriyo, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Vijay Sampla (all BJP) and Y S Chowdary, a Rajya Sabha member from TDP.

Cabinet Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has retained Communication and Information Techonogy while shedding Law.

Nirmala Sitaraman, MoS with independent charge of Commerce has shed MoS in Finance to newcomer Jayant Sinha, son of former union minister Yashwant Sinha.

Santosh Gangwarwill now only hold the charge of Textiles Ministry and MoS (Independent charge) and has been divested of the charge of MoS Parliamentary Affairs and the MoS, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

The charge of Labour and Employment has been taken away from Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and given to Bandaru Dattatreya as MoS (IC).

Gen (retd) V K Singh is the new MoS (Independent Charge) of Statistics and Programme Implementation, held by Rao Inderjit Singh. V K Singh will also continue to hold the charges of MoS External Affairs and MoS Overseas Indian Affairs.

MoS in PMO Jitendra Singh gets the additional charge of

Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge) till now held by V K Singh. The charge of Ministry of Science and Technology (Independent Charge) and Earth Sciences (Independent Charge) has been taken away from Jitendra Singh.

Inderjit Singh Rao is now MoS Planning (Independent Charge) and MoS Defence, while he will no longer hold additional charge of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Shripad Yesso Naik is the new Minister of State (Independent Charge) of AAYUSH (Independent Charge) and MoS Health & Family Welfareand, shifting him from the charges of MoS Culture (Independent Charge) and MoS Tourism (Independent Charge) now given to Mahesh Sharma.

The charge of MoS Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has also been taken away from Sarbananda Sonowal, who now retains only Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge).

G M Siddeshwara is the new MoS Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises shifting him from the Civil Aviation Ministry now given to Mahesh Sharma.

Nihalchand gets the charge of MoS Panchayati Raj while Upendra Kushwaha is the new MoS, HRD Ministry after shifting him from MoS Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministries.

P Radhakrishnan is the new MoS Road Transport and Highways and Shipping while Krishan Pal gets the charge of Social Justice and Empowerment, moving him from Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Ministries.

Sanjeev Kumar Balyan retains only MoS Agriculture shedding additional charge of Food Processing Industries Ministry.

Significantly, Naqvi, BJP Vice President and a minister in the Vajpayee government, was only made a Minister of State, and Rudy became MoS with Independent Charge but eyebrows went up when Mahesh Sharma, a first time member of Lok Sabha, was made Minister of State with Independent Charge. Ahir was rewarded for his relentless campaign as a whistle-blower in the coal block allocation scam.

Among those rewarded with ministerial berths were Giriraj Singh, Lok Sabha member from Bihar who had made a controversial statement that the place for those who do not like Modi is in Pakistan and Ram Kripal Yadav, a former RJD leader, who defeated Lalu Prasad's daughter in Patliputra on BJP ticket.

The induction of Rudy, who defeated Lalu's wife Rabri Devi in Saran, Giriraj Singh and Yadav is seen as an attempt to woo various caste groups in Bihar which will go to Assembly polls next year.

With PTI inputs

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