On September 3, 2017, the restructuring of Narendra Modi’s cabinet took place. This is the third reshuffle since he took over as the Prime Minister of India in 2014. Nine new ministers have joined the Modi government while four junior ministers have been elevated to the Cabinet. Till now, Arun Jaitely was holding the charge of both the finance and defense ministry. But in the latest reshuffle he will only retain the finance ministry. Let’s take a look at the new members of the Modi cabinet.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, 64, has been sworn in as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Choubey was earlier the Health Ministry in the Bihar Government. A social worker and agriculturist, Choubey holds the distinction being elected to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar for five consecutive terms. A prominent Brahmin face from the state, Choubey has held many important positions in the Bihar government such as Health, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering.
Virendra Kumar has been appointed as the Minster of State for Women & Child Development and Minority Affairs. Kumar is a Dalit leader. He has been a six-term Member of Parliament from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh. He played an influential role during emergency and was even jailed for his activities. He has held some very important positions. The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour, he has also held the offices of the chairman of the Joint Committee on Office of Profit. He has also been a Member of National Social Security Board.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has been appointed as the Minister of State for Agriculture. Shekhawat is a Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. 49-year-old Shekhawat is a member of the Standing Committee on Finance. He is also the Chairperson of the Fellowship Committee. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who holds and MA and MPhil degree in Philosophy, is also BJP Kisan Morcha’s National General Secretary.
Anant Kumar Hegde
Anant Kumar Hegde has been appointed as the Minister of State for Skill Development. An agriculturist, Hegde represents the Uttara Kannada constituency in Karnataka and has been a five-term member of the Lok Sabha. Hegde, who was elected to the Lok Sabha for the fist time at the age of 27, has never lost an election. Some of the important positions that Hegde has held include Member of the parliamentary standing committees on home affairs, external affairs, finance, agriculture, commerce, and human resource development.
Satyapal Singh has been appointed as the Minister of State for HRD and Water Resources. Satyapal Singh is a 1980 batch IPS officer. The former police commissioner of Mumbai, Singh resigned from the IPS to join politics. A Maharashtra cadre IPS officer, Singh has also served in the Central Bureau of Investigation. He has several medals to his credit. He received the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2004. In the year 2006, he received the President’s Police Medal for meritorious service and the DG’s Insignia.
Shiv Pratap Shukla
Shiv Pratap Shukla, who has taken over as the Minister of State for Finance, is an experienced leader. 65-year-old Shukla is a law graduate and began his political career in the late seventies as a student leader of the ABVP. He even spent time in jail during emergency. In 2012, he was appointed as BJP’s vice president in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He was also a minister in BJP-led governments in UP. In the government of Bharatiya Janata Party-Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh from 1996 to 1998, he was the Minister of Jails. In 1998, in the Rajnath-led BJP government, he became the minister for rural development.
Alphons Kannanthanam has taken over as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Tourism and the Minister of State of Electronics and IT. A 1979 batch IAS officer, Alphons has been nicknamed the Demolition man for his activities against illegal constructions in Delhi. His name also found a place in the Time magazine’s list of 100 young global leaders, in 1994. In 2006, Alphons resigned from the civil service and joined politics. He was an independent legislator in Kottayam and was supported by the communists but in 2014 joined the BJP. He was a member of the national executive council. This is his first appointment as a minister.
Raj Kumar Singh
Raj Kumar Singh has been made the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Renewable Energy. Raj Kumar Singh is a former IAS officer. He has also served as the Home Secretary of India. A Lok Sabha MP from Arrah in Bihar, Singh has held important positions such as Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Law & Justice, Health and Family Welfare, Pensions and Public Grievances, and Personnel.
Hardeep Singh Puri
Hardeep Singh Puri, who has been made Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Housing and Urban Affairs, is a former Indian Foreign Service officer. He has a rich expertise in foreign policy, as well as national security. He served as ambassador to Brazil Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, etc. He was the Vice President of the International Peace Institute in New York and is the President and chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank.