New Cabinet portfolios overlap to boost work efficiency

Published on Jul 08, 2021 01:49 AM IST

The distribution of portfolios was announced hours after 43 ministers were sworn in and the new council of ministers was a mix of fresh faces and experienced hands with a focus on harnessing effectiveness.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves after a function at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters following a state election in New Delhi, India.(AP file photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves after a function at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters following a state election in New Delhi, India.(AP file photo)

Thirty Cabinet ministers and two ministers of state with independent charge will handle all Union ministries as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government moved on Wednesday to create synergies between departments with similar or overlapping domains and break silos to boost work efficiency.

Union home minister Amit Shah will manage the newly created ministry of cooperation, the statement added.

Among the new Cabinet ministers, Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia will be in charge of the ministry of civil aviation, technocrat-turned-politician Ashwini Vaishnaw will handle the ministry of railways, the ministry of communications; and the ministry of electronics and information technology, and former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane will manage the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises.

To facilitate synergy, the Union ministries of health, and chemicals and fertilisers, were brought under one minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, to better coordinate the two critical departments in helping the government fight the Covid pandemic. Pharmaceuticals and chemicals essential for drugs are key to medical infrastructure.

Similarly, the Union ministries of education, and skill development and entrepreneurship, were clubbed under Dharmendra Pradhan to help the departments work in unison to bring the Covid-ravaged sector back on track.

“These are among the most important ministries…It was thus imperative that these be handled by the same minister so that the same can work in unison for achieving common objectives,” said a government functionary aware of developments.

Mandaviya, who was earlier in charge of the ministries of ports and shipping and chemicals and fertilisers, played a key role in resolving a supply crisis of Remdesivir. “Health and pharma are being allocated to the same Cabinet minister to bring critically needed synergy between the two in the middle of a global pandemic,’’ explained a senior official in the government.

The official quoted above said that the clubbing of ministries under Pradhan was done to “implement the PM’s vision of overhauling the education landscape.”

The distribution of portfolios was announced hours after 43 ministers were sworn in and the new council of ministers was a mix of fresh faces and experienced hands with a focus on harnessing effectiveness.

In all, the 77-member new Union council of ministers will have 30 cabinet ministers, two ministers of state with independent charge and 45 ministers of state, said a statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan.

HT learnt that the Prime Minister felt that the IT ministry was best handled by ”professional technocrats”. The former minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, had several run-ins with social media companies over new intermediary guidelines this year.

Former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal will handle the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways, and the ministry of Ayush. Rajya Sabha member Bhupender Yadav will look after the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, and the ministry of labour and employment

Among ministers who were promoted to cabinet rank, Anurag Thakur will handle the ministry of information and broadcasting; and the ministry of youth affairs and sports; Hardeep Puri will look after the ministry of petroleum and natural gas; and the ministry of housing and urban affairs; and Kiren Rijiju will be in charge of the ministry of law and justice.

Among the BJP’s allies, Lok Janshakti Party’s Pashupati Kumar Paras was named the cabinet minister for food processing industries, Janata Dal (United) leader RCP Singh was given the ministry of steel and Apna Dal (Sonelal) leader Anupriya Patel was appointed minister of state in the ministry of commerce and industry.

The textile ministry was moved from Union women and child development minister Smriti Irani to commerce minister Piyush Goyal, who was relieved of the railways portfolio. The rural development ministry and panchayati raj ministry were shifted from Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar to Giriraj Singh.

Virendra Kumar was appointed the Union social justice minister and Parshottam Rupala the minister for culture; tourism; and development of north eastern region. New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi was named minister of state in the ministry of external affairs and ministry of culture.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sunetra Choudhury is the National Political Editor of the Hindustan Times. With over two decades of experience in print and television, she has authored Black Warrant (Roli,2019), Behind Bars: Prison Tales of India’s Most Famous (Roli,2017) and Braking News (Hachette, 2010). Sunetra is the recipient of the Red Ink award in journalism in 2016 and Mary Morgan Hewett award in 2018.

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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