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Manmohan Singh begins second term as PM; ready for challenges

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken oath at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Nineteen other Cabinet ministers have also been sworn-in by President Pratibha Patil. Manmohan Singh is the first PM since Jawaharlal Nehru to hold consecutive term in office. First look: Council of Ministers | India's PMs

india Updated: May 22, 2009 21:53 IST
Hindustan Times

Manmohan Singh was today sworn-in as Prime Minister for a second term along with 19 other Cabinet ministers including new entrants S M Krishna and Mamta Banerjee but Arjun Singh, H R Bhardwaj and two other senior ministers of the previous Cabinet have been excluded.

In the first instalment of the new UPA Cabinet after the coalition's victory in the Lok Sabha elections, the 76-year-old economist-politician took oath of office and secrecy at the Rashtrapati Bhawan along with senior members of his previous team, Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar and A K Antony.

The 19 ministers, all of Cabinet rank, include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Veerappa Moily, new entrant Rajasthan PCC chief C P Joshi and Anand Sharma and B K Handique, who were promoted from the previous ministry.

Others inducted were S Jaipal Reddy, Kamal Nath, Vayalar Ravi, Meira Kumar, Murli Deora, Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni and Sushil Kumar Shinde.

Failure of negotiations with southern ally, DMK, over the number of slots and portfolios resulted in only 19 ministers taking oath from President Pratibha Patil. Another group of ministers, probably a larger one, is expected to be sworn-in on Tuesday next.

The portfolios of the ministers would be announced in the next two or three days, according to the Prime Minister who voiced the hope that DMK would accept the offer made to it by the UPA.

First priority restoring economy: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the new government's focus will be on restoring the economy and ensure inclusive growth.

"Our first priority is to restore the economy, especially keeping the global recession (in mind)," the prime minister told reporters after assuming office for a second term after his Congress party's sweeping win in the general election.

"Industrial production is down. Certain sectors need revival, though the Indian economy is not so badly affected. Corrected measures have to be taken. Growth will be our main focus. And when I mean growth, I mean inclusive growth that will carry everyone along, including the underprivileged in the country," he said. (With IANS inputs)

First Published: May 22, 2009 13:43 IST