Today's Paper

Seven new faces in Union Council of Ministers

new additions: President Pratibha Patil swearing in M.S. Gill (left) as Minister of State with independent charge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and V. Narayanasamy (right) as Ministers of State, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday.

new additions: President Pratibha Patil swearing in M.S. Gill (left) as Minister of State with independent charge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and V. Narayanasamy (right) as Ministers of State, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTOs: V. SUDERSHAN

Anita Joshua

M.S. Gill gets Sports; IT and Communications for Jyotiraditya

NEW DELHI: Seven new faces, including the former Chief Election Commissioner, M.S. Gill, and second generation Congressmen Jyotiraditya Scindia and Jitin Prasada, were inducted into the Union Council of Ministers on Sunday in an expansion and reshuffle that saw the exit of six Ministers of State.

While the face of the Cabinet remains unchanged, work has been reassigned with Parliamentary Affairs being taken away from Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi and given to Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi. Also, Mani Shankar Aiyar has been taken out of Youth Affairs and Sports, but will retain charge of Panchayati Raj and Development of the North Eastern Region. Mr. Aiyar will be replaced in Youth Affairs and Sports by Mr. Gill though he will hold it as Minister of State (Independent Charge).

Of the seven new entrants, all but one are from the Congress. The lone coalition partner to be accommodated in this expansion is the Rashtriya Janata Dal which has got Raghunath Jha into the Ministry. The other Congressmen in are Santosh Bagrodia from Rajasthan, V. Narayanasamy from Puducherry and Rameshwar Oraon from Jharkhand.

The six Ministers of State who have been dropped are Suresh Pachouri (Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions besides Parliamentary Affairs), Dasari Narayan Rao (Coal), M. V. Rajasekharan (Planning), T. Subbarami Reddy (Mines), Akhilesh Das (Steel) and Manikrao Gavit (Home). All six put in their papers during the course of the day and their resignations were accepted by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil just ahead of the swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Barring Mr. Gill, the other six will be placed under Cabinet Ministers. Mr. Scindia has been given Communications and Information Technology while Mr. Prasada will replace Mr. Das in Steel. Mr. Narayanasamy has been given Parliamentary Affairs and Planning, Mr. Bagrodia will be the new Minister of State for Coal, Mr. Jha will get Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, and Mr. Oraon, Tribal Affairs.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also effected changes in portfolios at the Minister of State level — Jairam Ramesh, Prithviraj Chavan, B.K. Handique and Pawan Kumar Bansal have been given additional charge of Power, Personnel and Public Grievances, Mines, and Parliamentary Affairs respectively. In the case of Mr. Handique, he has been stripped of Parliamentary Affairs.

Besides, Shakeel Ahmed has been shifted to Home from Communications and IT. And Kanti Singh will move out of the Department of Heavy Industry to Tourism and Culture.

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