Rajnath gets Home, Sushma External Affairs, Jaitley Finance

NEW DELHI: BJP heavyweight Rajnath Singh was today appointed the Home Minister and Sushma Swaraj the External Affairs Minister while Arun Jaitley was given Finance with defence as additional charge as Prime Minister Narendra Modi effected a major restructuring of the cabinet to ensure synergy and efficiency.
A day after being sworn-in at the head of a 45-member coalition government, Modi distributed portfolios giving the Ministries of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways to Nitin Gadkari in the experiment combining 17 related ministries under seven different ministers.
The restructuring, which Modi had on Sunday described as a convergence of activities under one cabinet minister heading a cluster of ministries in complementary sectors, also brought back Corporate Affairs Ministry to Finance headed by Jaitley.
He clubbed together Overseas Affairs Ministry with External Affairs and brought Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation in one group that has been given to another BJP veteran Venkaiah Naidu.
The ‘big four’–Finance, External Affairs, Defence and Home–constituting the key Cabinet Committee on Security, remain with BJP along with other important portfolios like Railways and Agriculture.
Significantly, first-time MP Jitendra Singh, who was elected on a BJP ticket from Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, has been made Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office as also of Department of Personnel, which has an administrative control over the CBI.
The Prime Minister will has retained Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy Department of Space.
The Prime Minister will also look after “all important
policy issues” and all other portfolios not allocated to any Minister, said an official communique of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
As part of the restructuring experiment under the principle of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’, Piyush Goyal, a close confidante of Modi, has been made Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy portfolios.
Members of BJP allies in the NDA have been given four ministries. Anant Geethe of Shiv Sena gets Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Ashok Gajapathi Raju of TDP gets Civil Aviation, Ram Vilas Paswan of LJP Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Harsimrat Kaur Badal of SAD Food Processing Industry.
The star of BJP’s victory in Delhi Harsh Vardhan has been given the Health while BJP leader Smriti Irani will look after Human Resources Development.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda was given the important portfolio of Railways in his ministerial debut at the Centre.
Lawyer Ravi Shankar Prasad has been given Law and Communication and Information and Technology. (AGENCIES)


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