In cabinet rejig, Jaitley gets I&B, Gowda loses railways and Harshvardhan health ministry
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi left the portfolios of Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and M. Venkaiah Naidu untouched among the top few important ministers, while he re-juggled the portfolios of most others and distributed their extra ministries to newcomers, with Arun Jaitley being expectedly divested of defence but surprisingly being given the Information and Broadcasting ministry instead.
While Rajnath Singh continues to look after home and Sushma Swaraj continues as minister of external affairs and overseas Indian affairs, Naidu also continues with his three ministries of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs.
Jaitley loses defence to newcomer Manohar Parrikar as was widely expected. He now looks after Finance Corporate Affairs, Information & Broadcasting.
Nitin Gadkari, who had five ministries to look after, now has two ministries -- Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, being lightened of the other three of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation, which were additional portfolios given to him after the death of Gopinath Munde in June.
Chaudhary Birender Singh, who quit the Congress ahead of the general elections to join the BJP, and was inducted Sunday is now the new Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation minister.
New inductee Suresh Prabhu, who Sunday also quit the Shiv Sena to join the BJP, is the new Railways minister. D.V. Sadananda Gowda was surprisingly divested of the railways portfolio and is now looking after Law and Justice, which was being looked after by Ravi Shankar Prasad. Prasad now has only the Communications and Information Technology ministry.
Another surprise change was of Harsh Vardhan, who has been divested of his health and family welfare ministry and now looks after Science and Technology, Earth Sciences.
BJP leader Jagat Prakash Nadda is the new minister of Health and Family Welfare.
The portfolios of the other cabinet ministers who were sworn in in May remains untouched. They are: Uma Bharati - minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Najma Heptulla - Minority Affairs minister, Ramvilas Paswan -Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Kalraj Mishra - Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi - Women and Child Development, Ananthkumar - Chemicals and Fertilizers, Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati Civil Aviation, Anant Geete - Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Harsimrat Kaur Badal Food Processing Industries, Jual Oram - Tribal Affairs, Radha Mohan Singh -Agriculture, Thaawar Chand Gehlot - Social Justice and Empowerment and Smriti Zubin Irani - Human Resource Development.
Narendra Singh Tomar has been divested of the Labour and Employment ministry while retaining Mines and Steel.
Among the Minister of State (MoS) category, the most surprising change has been of Prakash Javadekar, who was earlier MoS Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge). He is now the MoS Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge) and has also been divested of the MoS Parliamentary Affairs ministry.
General V.K. Singh has been divested of the Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge) and given Statistics and Programme Implementation (Independent Charge) instead - a ministry taken from Inderjit Singh Rao. Gen. Singh remains MoS for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs.
Inderjit Singh Rao retains his other portfolio of Planning (Independent Charge) and Defence.
Santosh Kumar Gangwar, now looks after only Textiles (Independent Charge). His MoS Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation portfolio has gone to new joinee Sanwar Lal Jat. He has also been divested of the MoS Parliamentary Affairs charge.
Another surprise change in MoS category has been of Shripad Yesso Naik, who is the new AAYUSH (Independent Charge) as well as Health & Family Welfare. He has been divested of MoS Culture (Independent Charge) and Tourism (Independent Charge).
Piyush Goyal continues as MoS of three ministries of Power (Independent Charge), Coal (Independent Charge) and New and Renewable Energy (Independent Charge).
Dr. Jitendra Singh has been lightened of the MoS Science and Technology (Independent Charge) and Earth Sciences (Independent Charge). He is the new MoS Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge) and retains the other four important charges of Prime Minister Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space.