Lawmaker Nirmala Sitharaman Appointed as India's Defence Minister

Pauline Gross
September 4, 2017

Nirmala credited her promotion to the party's leadership and described it as cosmic grace.

Reacting to the development, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who was temporarily managing the Defence ministry said, "It is great for the country, not just for women".

Shukla, a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh, has served as Cabinet Minister in the State for eight years and is known for his work in rural development, education and prison reforms.

"She is someone who is considered among the performers".

The expansion is primarily seen as a desperate need to shore up bench strength in the union cabinet.

Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party said Modi had chosen ministers with "passion, proficiency, professional and political acumen". Former IAS officer of UT cadre KJ Alphons is the new tourism minister.

Then there is the need for upgrading Indian military's infrastructure.

It is for the first time in independent India that both the country's serving External Affairs Minister and Defense Minister are women.

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Nine new ministers from diverse professional and social backgrounds were inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet as Ministers of State. In a tweet, Patnaik said, "Congratulation to all ministers on swearing in". He has now been allocated the commerce and industry portfolio.

Sunday's cabinet reshuffle raised the strength of the Union Council of Ministers from 73 to 76.

Pradhan is known to have spearheaded one of Prime Minister Modi's main schemes - the "Give it Up" plan for people to forego subsidised cooking gas or LPG voluntarily. He returned to the alliance this year, in his home state, ditching the earlier alliance which had helped him register an impressive win in the state's assembly elections. The BJP's sense of political control finds reflection in the dismissive ease with which the reshuffle has left the BJP's allies out. The NDA was "almost dead" and that BJP remembered it only when it needed support, Sena sources said.

Despite a number of prominent bureaucrats being sworn in as ministers, it is not clear how their earlier expertise will help the government. Three of the four ex-babus, who joined the government, have got independent charge.

Jaitley said the allocations were made based on competence and who would perform well in which ministry. The chopping and changing that saw six ministers resign ahead of the reshuffle also saw downsizing of senior leader Uma Bharati, who has shed the water resources and Ganga rejuvenation portfolio and has been moved to sanitation.

It must be noted that "Start up India" and "Make in India" initiatives were initiated by the commerce ministry.

Other reports by GizPress

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