Sitharaman new Defence Minister, Piyush gets Railways

Posted September 04, 2017

With the clock ticking, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday shuffled his council of ministers to get the team ready for the crucial 2019 general election.

The promotion of Naqvi, Pradhan, Sitharaman and Goyal, who were all State Ministers with independent charge, is an endorsement of their good performance, official sources said.

R K Singh, former Home Secretary, was given charge of Power and New and Renewable Energy portfolios.

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Ms Uma Bharti was divested of the Prime Minister's pet ministry, Ganga rejuvenation and water resources, and shifted to the ministry for water and sanitation.

Former Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday said that number of accidents has gone down during the last three years ever since he assumed the office, but a single accident is painful and he took the moral responsibility of it.

MoS (independent charge) for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was elevated to Cabinet rank.

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Six ministers of the Union Cabinet had put in their papers, days ahead of the reshuffle. The saffron party has also been wooing Christians and his induction is likely to help this cause.

Goel, who earlier held independent charge, has been shunted as the Minister of State for Parliamentary Afairs and Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Arun Jaitley is all slated to retain Finance ministry.

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The Cabinet reshuffle was imminent as many key portfolios were lying vacant and the existing ministers were handling additional charges. Nine new faces - Hardeep Singh Puri, RK Singh, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Alphons Kannanthanam, Satyapal Singh, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Anant Kumar Dattatreya Hegde and Virendra Kumar - took oath as Ministers of State in a small ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan.