- There was quite an anticipation, excitement, and buzz surrounding the impending expansion/reshuffle of the Union Cabinet in the past few weeks. As reported extensively, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a flurry of meetings with the ministries over the last couple of weeks leading to speculation that the much-needed fillip to the Union Cabinet is finally seeing the day of light after more than two years. The pandemic did play its role in speeding up the effort of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s leadership since the challenges to pull back the country on the growth path are paramount in the face of tremendous suffering experienced by the citizens. Prima facie, the latest endeavour of the BJP top-brass appears headed on the right track.
PC: Aishwarya Upadhyay
- Knowing how unpredictable and inscrutable the Prime Minister is whilst handling tough decisions and policy matters of importance, there were always expectations of him throwing few surprises vis-à-vis unheralded, unassuming, and new faces making it to the Union Cabinet. Suffice to say that the PM has not disappointed on that front while going about expanding his ministry. Indeed, few unforeseen revelations are going against the accepted norms when it comes to senior and seasoned political leaders making way for wannabe greenhorns. Professionals, ex-bureaucrats/technocrats, and new entrants getting inducted is a refreshing change.
- The PM has sent out a stand-out message that spells performance is the sole criteria which are unquestionable merit having a great bearing on India’s post-pandemic revival. Therefore, crucial ministries viz. health, education, labour, aviation, petroleum, pharma, IT, telecom, law, I & B, and railways will be helmed by new ministers henceforth. A standout new minister in terms of the PM’s big bet must be ex-IAS Ashwini Vaishnaw entrusted with the ministries of IT, telecom, and railways. Note that these ministries were earlier helmed by supposed Cabinet heavyweights says how much is expected of Vaishnaw. As Covid showed at great cost, the conjoining of health and pharms under one ministry headed by Mansukh Mandaviya is a welcome step.
PC: Surabhi Agarwal
- As expected, Jyotiraditya Scindia is entrusted with civil aviation which was incidentally held by his late father during the erstwhile Congress regime. Dropping heavyweights like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javdekar, and Ramesh Pokhriyal is unexpected and most probably would be accommodated in the organization structure with equivalent responsibilities. Of course, the firm focus is on politics and ensuing elections to crucial states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. As such, several OBC faces amply demonstrate the game plan to revive and hold onto OBC votes so very critical in guarding/furthering the fortunes of the party in UP.
- In a welcome move, most of the inductees are less than 50 years and seven are women signalling great care and intent in balancing age as well as gender. Out of the ceiling of 81 ministers, 77 members will adorn Modi’s biggest council of ministers with an avowed responsibility of getting pandemic-battered India back on track. Needless to mention, the economy is in the worst shape in the last three decades and every sinew needs to be stretched from now on to ensure the task of governance moves ahead at the desired pace. Priority should be to fully answer the vaccination imbroglio as well as potent preparation to thwart or tame the anticipated third Covid wave. The Union Cabinet has its task cut out. Hopefully, the results will be positive.