8 new faces in Manmohan ministry; Jairam moved out of Environment

Jul 12, 2011

In the much-talked about revamping of his ministry, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday dropped seven ministers, inducted V. Kishore Chandra Deo and seven other new faces, and elevated three others including Jairam Ramesh from whom Environment and Forests has been taken away.

Dr. Singh did not touch the ‘big four’ —Finance, Home, Defence and External Affairs —— but shifted M. Veerappa Moily from Law to Corporate Affairs and brought Salman Khursheed in his place.

Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi has been elevated to the Cabinet rank and given the Railways portfolio left vacant by Mamata Banerjee after she became the West Bengal Chief Minister.

Beni Prasad Verma became a Cabinet Minister for Steel, a portfolio he earlier held as Minister of State with Independent charge.

The other new faces in the Council of Ministers are Jayanthi Natarajan (Environment and Forests), Dibrugarh MP Paban Singh Ghatowar , Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyaya (Health and Family Welfare), Alwar MP Jitendra Singh (Home), Milind Deora (Communication and IT) and Rajiv Shukla (Parliamentary Affairs).

Ministers who have been dropped from the Cabinet are M. S. Gill, B. K. Handique , Kantilal Bhuria, Murli Deora and Dayanidhi Maran. While Mr. Maran had resigned last week in the wake of him being named in the 2G scam, Mr. Deora had offered his resignation citing old age and had reportedly sought a berth for his son Milind.

The new ministers would be sworn in at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan this evening. While there were eight additions, seven have been axed.Restructuring incomplete Mr. Ramesh, who was seen as a pro-active minister but often courted controversies by his handling of environmental issues, has been shifted to Rural Development in the Cabinet.

The restructuring exercise appeared incomplete with additional charge of Textiles and Water Resources being given to Anand Sharma and P. K. Bansal respectively. Mr. Sharma retains Commerce and Industry and Bansal retains Parliamentary Affairs.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal continues to hold additional charge of Telecom, while Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi retains additional charge of Civil Aviation.

Telecom portfolio went to Mr. Sibal after DMK representative A. Raja resigned over allegations in 2G spectrum allocation. No DMK representative was inducted today as replacements for Mr. Raja and Mr. Maran. Apparently, some of the portfolios have been kept as additional charges so that DMK can be accommodated if it chooses to send replacements.

DMK is expected to decide on the issue at its General Council meeting on July 23—24 at Coimbatore. Veteran Parliamentarian from Andhra Pradesh V. Kishore Chandra Deo makes his entry into the Cabinet for the first time, making him the second minister from the State after S Jaipal Reddy.

Srikant Jena, who nursed a grudge when he was made Minister of State in 2009, has got a promotion being given Independent charge of Statistics and Programme Implementation. However, he continues to be MoS in Chemicals and Fertilisers where DMK’s M. K.

Alagiri continues to be Cabinet minister. Jena was a Cabinet Minister in the United Front government of 1996—97.The lone Congress MP from Chhattisgarh Charan Das Mahant makes a debut as MoS in Agriculture and Food Processing. Gurudas  Kamat has been shifted from Home and Communication ministries to a newministry of  Drinking Water and Sanitation with Independent Charge.

Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has been shifted to Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed has been also been allocated the HRD portfolio. Minsters of State V. Narayanasamy and Ashwani Kumar shed Parliamentary Affairs portfolios which have gone to new entrant Rajiv Shukla and Harish Rawat, who retains MoS for Agriculture and Food Processing.

Minister of State for Shipping and Railways Mukul Roy, who yesterday defied the Prime Minister by not visiting the rail accident site in Assam, has been divested of the Railways portfolio.