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Home / India News / Cabinet reshuffle Highlights: Parrikar praises Sitharaman, Prabhu wishes Goyal luck

Cabinet reshuffle Highlights: Parrikar praises Sitharaman, Prabhu wishes Goyal luck

In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third cabinet rejig, Nirmala Sitharaman was named defence minister, taking over from Arun Jaitley, while Piyush Goyal took over railways from Suresh Prabhu.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2017 19:41 IST
DK Singh
DK Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Smriti Irani greets Dharmendra Pradhan as Nirmala Sitharaman looks on during the swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on September 3, 2017. PM Narendra Modi rejigged his Council of ministers for a third time since he became prime minister in 2014.
Smriti Irani greets Dharmendra Pradhan as Nirmala Sitharaman looks on during the swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on September 3, 2017. PM Narendra Modi rejigged his Council of ministers for a third time since he became prime minister in 2014.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejigged his cabinet on Sunday morning, naming Nirmala Sitharaman as the defence minister, elevating her and three others to cabinet ranks. Modi’s Council of ministers were also given nine new faces as he looks to revamp his core ministerial team with an eye on the 2019 general elections.

Sitharaman became India’s second woman defence minister, taking over from Arun Jaitley who held the portfolio after Manohar Parrikar resigned to become Goa chief minister earlier this year.

Other significant changes included Piyush Goyal taking over as railways minister from Suresh Prabhu, who was instead given Sitharaman’s commerce portfolio.

Among the new ministers of state are two former bureaucrats, one retired diplomat and an ex-police commissioner – an indication of the Prime Minister’s focus on professionalism and administrative experience.


Highlights of the day:

6:55pm: Hardeep Singh Puri, newly appointed housing and urban affairs minister, says he will join the ministry tomorrow. “Will try to understand the department,” he says.


6:15pm: Defence minister designate Nirmala Sitharaman called on home minister Rajnath Singh after being sworn in as the union cabinet minister.

6:10pm: If you take any five-year period and particularly the last three years, the number of accidents has gone down, former railway minister Suresh Prabhu tells ANI after being shifted to commerce ministry.

6:00pm: Suresh Prabhu, who was shifted from the railways to the commerce ministry in the cabinet rejig, tells ANI: “Piyush Goyal (the new railways minister) is like my younger brother. I have full faith that he will bring new thinking and will be successful in the railway ministry.”

5:05pm: Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar tells ANI: “Very excellent...well-thought-out decision. Nirmala is very analytical, deep thinking, hard-working and very knowledgeable.”

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had been holding the additional charge of the defence ministry after Parrikar came back to his state to accept the top job. On Sunday, Nirmala Sitharaman scripted history, becoming India’s second woman defence minister.

4:45pm: Ashwini Kumar Choubey, newly appointed minister of state for health and family welfare, says he will take care of the responsibility given under the leadership of PM Modi.

4:40pm: Sitharaman tells ANI: “Have to prove and perform to satisfy the goals which are expected of me. In all probability, it (taking charge) will be on September 6.”

4:36pm: “What is more important is there are going to be two women in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Sushma Swaraj and me,” says new defence minister.

4:35pm: Newly appointed defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman tells ANI it is very big responsibility. “To me, very overwhelming day, just can’t express my feelings.”

3:30pm: Jaitley says Nirmala Sitharaman will take charge as defence minister after dialogue with Japan ends over the next two days, ANI reported. Jaitley is leaving for Japan on Sunday night to participate in a two-day security dialogue.

3:15pm: Jaitley says he believes Sitharaman will be an “extremely competent successor”.

3pm: Union minister Arun Jaitley congratulates Nirmala Sitharaman on her elevation. “Very significant landmark in this reshuffle is that we now have Nirmala Sitharaman as the new defence minister... It is a case where a minister performs well and earns a higher responsibility for herself,” Jailtey said, according to ANI.

2:35pm: India’s new defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman thanked “cosmic grace” for her elevation, PTI reported.

2:30pm: Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh congratulated the newly appointed ministers. “Congratulate all the 13 ministers. I hope they work together towards bringing in New India,” he said, ANI reported.

2:16pm: Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan arrives at Jagannath Temple in Bhubaneswar to offer prayers.

2:10pm: Anantkumar Hegde is appointed minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship.

2pm: Puducherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi congratulated Nirmala Sitharaman on being given a cabinet berth. “Proud of her. She is brilliant in her work. She has earned her way thru every bit. @nsitharaman Wish her the best (sic),” she posted on Twitter

1:54pm: Alphons Kannathanam given independent charge of the tourism, and ministry of electronics and information technology.

1:52pm: Raj Kumar Singh has been given independent charge of the ministry of power, and new and renewable energy.

1:50pm: Among the new ministers of state, Hardeep Singh Puri was given independent charge of ministry of housing and urban affairs.

1:47pm: Dharmendra Pradhan, who was elevated as a cabinet minister, keeps petroleum and natural gas. Is also given additional charge of skill development and entrepreneurship, a portfolio that was earlier help by Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

1:45pm: Smriti Irani, who is minister of textiles, retains additional charge of information and broadcasting.

1:44pm: Bharti’s earlier portfolio of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation is given as additional charge to Nitin Gadkari, who already holds transport.

1:43pm: Uma Bharti given drinking water and sanitation portfolio.

1:40pm: Arun Jaitley keeps finance and corporate affairs ministries.

1:35pm: Portfolio list released. Nirmala Sitharaman replaces Arun Jaitley as defence minister. Suresh Prabhu gets commerce after Piyush Goyal takes over as railways.

1:34pm: New minister of state, Hardeep Puri to be MoS urban development ministry, reports ANI.

1:23pm: Shiv Pratap Shukla, who was sworn-in as minister of state, says he might be in the finance ministry. Shukla said he was told he would be working in Arun Jaitley’s ministry, ANI reported.

1:20pm: Nirmala Sitharaman, who was elevated to cabinet rank, says portfolios yet to be assigned.

1:19pm: Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari questions BJP over last week’s ministerial resignations.

1:05pm: Uma Bharti, who resigned from her ministerial post last week and missed this morning’s swearing-in ceremony, dismisses reports of a dispute. “My programs were already fixed, I am not angry,” Bharti said, ANI reported.

1pm: BJP chief Amit Shah congratulates the new members of Prime Minister Modi’s Council of Ministers. “Congrats to all newly sworn-in ministers. I am sure they will leave no stone unturned in realising PM @narendramodi’s dream of a #NewIndia (sic),” he posted on Twitter.

12:50pm: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu calls on the new inductees to help the southern state. “Hopeful new team would help Andhra Pradesh,which has been facing problems after unfair and unscientific bifurcation,” said Naidu, according to ANI.

12:40pm: Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who took oath as minister of state, says he is grateful to Buxar, Bhagalpur and and entire India. “Will work responsibly and never betray PM’s trust,” ANI reported his saying.

12:30pm: Congress party extends its wishes to the newly inducted ministers, but warns that is “watching” them.

12:25pm: JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi says party will not comment on not being included in cabinet expansion. “It was BJP’s internal reshuffle and not NDA’s, so we would not like to comment on it,” said Tyagi, ANI reported.

12:10pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut hit out at the BJP over not being included in the expansion. “This cabinet reshuffle and the one before, this were only BJP reshuffles not of NDA,” ANI quoted him as saying.

12:09pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for BRICS summit in China.

11:56am: Piyush Goyal set to be new railway minister, replacing Suresh Prabhu, government sources said after the swearing-in ceremony.

11:48am: Newly elevated to cabinet minister, Dharmedra Pradhan thanked PM Modi for his wishes. “Thank you very much Hon’ble PM for entrusting this greater responsibilities to us. We will keep working to realise your vision of #NewIndia (sic),” he posted on Twitter.

11:44am: After being promoted to a cabinet rank, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Our duty is to match up to expectations of PM Modi. We pledge to carry our duties honestly,” ANI reported him as saying.

11:35am: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu posts a thank you message for his colleagues on Twitter, strongly indicating his exit from the post.

11:25am: PM Modi congratulates all those on his new and improved Council of ministers.

11:20am: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav reacts to his former alliance partner, Nitish Kumar and the JD(U), not being included in the cabinet expansion. “They didn’t even get invites (to the oath ceremony). One who leaves his people won’t be taken in by others. It’s Nitish Kumar’s fate,” ANI reported Yadav as saying.

11:16am: The swearing-in marks the promotion of four minister to cabinet berths.

11:06am: All new ministers gather to take group photo with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.

11:04am: Oath taking ends. National anthem plays once again to mark the end of the ceremony.

11:02am: IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam takes oath as minister of state in English. Earlier served as commissioner of Delhi Development Authority, and was dubbed Delhi’s ‘Demolition Man’.

11am: Dr Satya Pal Singh, former Mumbai police commissioner and Uttar Pradesh MP, begins oath taking. President Kovind administers oath.

10:58am: Rajasthan MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat takes oath in Hindi.

10:56am: Former permanent representative to the UN and ambassador to the UK and Brazil, Hardeep Singh Puri called forward. Begins taking oath in English.

10:55am: Raj Kumar Singh, an MP from Bihar, takes oath.

10:52am: Karnataka MP Ananthkumar Hegde begins taking oath in Hindi.

10:50am: MP from Madhya Pradesh Virendra Kumar takes oath as minister of state.

10:48am: Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Lok Sabha MP from Buxar in Bihar, follows.

10:45am: Ministers of state begin taking oath. Shiv Pratap Shukla from eastern UP first to take oath. Shukla is a known detractor of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

10:44am: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called forward to take oath. Takes oath in Hindi.

10:43am: Nirmala Sitharaman is next. First three to take oath given Cabinet berths.

10:40am: Piyush Goyal second to take oath.

10:37am: Dharmendra Pradhan first to take oath, promoted to cabinet rank.

10:32am: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Dharmendra Pradhan to be given Cabinet rank.

10:31am: Swearing-in ceremony begins as President Kovind arrives. National anthem plays

10:30am: TV reports say portfolios to be announced at 11:30am

10:29am: Vice president Venkaiah Naidu arrives.

10:27am: PM Modi arrives at Rashtrapti Bhavan.

10:20am: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu and minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj occupy front row seats along with home minister Rajnath Singh and finance minister Arun Jaitley.

10:17am: Also skipping the ceremony is Uma Bharti, who resigned as water resources and Ganga rejuvenation minister last week.

10:14am: The BJP’s ally in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, are unhappy about not being included in the revamp. ANI reported that the Sena would be skipping the oath taking ceremony.

10:12am: Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also arrive. Greet their colleagues and fellow politicians. Minister for road and transport Nitin Gadkari among audience.

10:08am: Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal among those at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

10am: People begin gathering at Rashtrapati Bhavan for swearing-in ceremony. BJP president Amit Shah arrives too.

9:45am: Alphons Kannanthanam, known as the ‘Demolition man’ during his stint at the Delhi Development Authority, will be inducted today. He will be the first Malayali face of the Modi government.

9:30am: TV reports says BJP chief Amit Shah also attending PM Modi’s breakfast meeting with new inductees

9:20am: Hardeep Singh Puri of the BJP thanks the Prime Minister for being chosen. “I am grateful to the PM for making me a part of his team,” ANI reported him as saying.

9am: Some ministers of state are expected to get a promotion. Speculation is that Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Manoj Sinha, and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are in contention for a cabinet rank.

8:58am: Other inductees include Shiv Pratap Shukla from eastern UP, Ashwini Kumar Choubey from Bihar, Virendra Kumar, a Dalit leader from Madhya Pradesh, Anant Kumar Hegde from Karnataka, and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from Rajasthan.

8:50am: Among those set to be sworn in are former representative to United Nations Hardeep Puri, former Mumbai police commissioner Satya Pal Singh, ex-home secretary RK Singh, and former Delhi Development Authority Commissioner KJ Alphons, also known as the ‘Demolition Man’ of Delhi.

8:44am: BJP’s RK Singh, one of the soon-to-be inducted members, says portfolios have yet to be decided, ANI reports.

8:38am: All eyes will be on defence, railways, information and broadcasting, environment and forests, and urban development and housing portfolios. Defence and urban development and housing portfolios were given away as additional charges after Manohar Parrikar became Goa chief minister and Venkaiah Naidu was elected vice president.

8:33am: The rejig is expected to allot important portfolios as well reassign those being held as additional charges by ministers

8:30am: Non-performance was said to be the reason behind most of the six the resignations.

8:14am: The larger message of Sunday’s revamp is a thrust on efficiency and dynamism in the government . “The new ministers are going to be strategically placed in key ministries, especially focusing on last mile delivery directly to the people,” a government source earlier said.

8:06am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to leave for Xiamen in China in the afternoon where he will attend the 2017 BRICS summit.

8:01am: Ahead of the ceremony, Modi will meet the new ministers over breakfast at 9am.

8:01am: The new ministers will take the strength of the Union council of ministers to 76.

8 am: The new ministers will be sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind at 10:30am in a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, marking the third rejig of Modi’s council of ministers since he took over three years ago.

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