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At last, politics is an attractive job option

The new Cabinet is an optimistic mix of youth and experience, with a strong focus on performance.

india Updated: May 29, 2009 21:17 IST

Prime minister Manmohan Singh has given considerable thought to the composition of his new Cabinet. Important portfolios that touch the lives of the disadvantaged have gone to ministers with ability and vision. The human resources development ministry, at the core of India’s knowledge-based economy, has gone to a dynamic minister like Kapil Sibal. Similarly, given the growing concerns over environmental degradation and challenges faced by India in the talks on global warming, the appointment of an adept interlocutor like Jairam Ramesh as minister is heartening. The minority affairs ministry, having been in the doldrums under A.R. Antulay, will get a fillip with Salman Khursheed at the helm.

The PM has gone for experience in the external affairs ministry by bringing in a seasoned hand like S.M. Krishna for the top job with UN veteran Shashi Tharoor among his two deputies. The line-up is indicative of Dr Singh himself playing a bigger role on the global stage, his burden being reduced significantly on the economic front with the installation of Pranab Mukherjee as Finance Minister. P Chidambaram’s retention as Home Minister was a given from the beginning, the MP having shown great promise after replacing Shivraj Patil. His continuation in the key ministry became all the more imperative with his success in delivering a peaceful election that’s thrown up a stable government. At a time when building infrastructure is the PM’s prime goal in the road to economic recovery, Kamal Nath’s arrival in the road transport and highways ministry is reassuring, given TR Baalu’s abysmal record. The same is true of the commerce and industry ministry, where the presence of two able ministers, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia, means that greater thought will go into perking up exports and reviving the manufacturing sector.

But here and there, concessions to coalition politics are visible in the new team. Some of the choices could have been better. The induction of a large number of new faces is a welcome step. As is the selection of people in recognition of their hard work. That alone should serve as the light at the end of the tunnel for younger, full-time aspirants in politics.