Placing Faith In Top 4, Rewarding Performers, Respecting Allies: Three Mantras Of Team Modi 3.0 – News18

President Droupadi Murmu, VP Jagdeep Dhankar with the PM Narendra Modi and other members of Council of Ministers after the Swearing-in Ceremony in Delhi on June 9.

President Droupadi Murmu, VP Jagdeep Dhankar with the PM Narendra Modi and other members of Council of Ministers after the Swearing-in Ceremony in Delhi on June 9.

These three mantras reflected in the list of portfolios for the 71 Ministers who took oath alongside the Prime Minister at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reposed his faith in the top four lieutenants on Raisina Hill, rewarded the key performers who have acted like the engine of his government in the earlier term and has made it a point to respect the NDA allies in what is Modi’s first brush with running a ‘true coalition’ government.

These three mantras reflected in the list of portfolios for the 71 Ministers who took oath alongside the Prime Minister at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday. 24 hours later, soon after the maiden Cabinet meeting chaired by Modi where he stressed upon implementing the 100-day agenda, the government put out the portfolios signaling a combined message of continuity, experience and some young blood. The entry of Shivraj Singh Chouhan into the Union Cabinet and being given the charge of two key rural sector Ministries is also significant. The message was clear from the PM: avoid controversy and perform in the order to rise, and put your expertise to best use.

Raisina Hill Stands Like a Rock

Modi has chosen to continue all four ministers on Raisina Hill who form the apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). Rajnath Singh continues as the Defence Minister after handling the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on the India-China border and pushing the ‘Make-In-India’ efforts to cut down defence import bill, as well as enhance defence exports. Amit Shah continues as the Home Minister after steering through the three new criminal law amendment bills and CAA, while S. Jaishankar remains the chosen one to steer Indian diplomatic efforts at the Minister of External Affairs. Modi has also reposed faith in the senior woman face of the government, Nirmala Sitharaman, for another stint at the crucial Finance Ministry. Sitharaman will present the full budget next month in Parliament.

Rewarding Performers

Ministers who have performed in Modi 2.0 and have been like the engine driving the government have also been rewarded with continuity, and some with additional responsibilities as the PM believes they can shoulder the burden of responsibility. Leading the charge here is India’s Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari since 2014, who will get a record third term in the same Ministry. Gadkari, who once said he had demanded this particular Ministry though the PM was ready to give him one on Raisina Hill, has led the transformative change in India’s highway network as well as pushed the adoption of green vehicles in India.

Ashwini Vaishnaw has seen his responsibilities grow from being the Minister of Railways, and Electronics and IT, to getting additional charge as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting as well. Vaishnaw will now lead the government’s effort in getting its message across to the people as well as continue in his successful efforts in the airways and the IT Sector. Another performer has been Jyotiraditya Scindia as the Civil Aviation Minister and he has been given the Ministry of Communications now at a time when the government wants to do a fast country-wide roll-out of the 5G mobile network. Scindia also got the charge of the DoNER Ministry.

The PM has also taken care to bring in new talent to the central level, like the former CM of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan who got charge of both the Agriculture Ministry and Rural Development Ministry. Chouhan has led the turnaround in the agriculture sector in Madhya Pradesh and also delivered the state to the BJP both in the assembly and the Lok Sabha elections. This is a rare case where both the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministries have gone to a single Minister. Chouhan will also lead the effort to build three crore more houses in India’s villages under the PM Awas Yojana that was cleared by the Union Cabinet as the first decision of Modi 3.0 on Monday.

Former Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar has also been given two key ministries, Power, and Housing and Urban Affairs. Similarly, BJP’s Gujarat President CR Patil has made his debut in the Council of Ministers as the Minister of Jal Shakti – the PM has reposed his faith in Patil to steer his ambitious ‘Har Ghar Jal’ scheme aimed at bringing drinking water to every household in the country by next year. Other performing Ministers at the Centre, like Bhupender Yadav and Hardeep Singh Puri will continue in their existing Ministries of Environment and Petroleum respectively. Kiren Rijiju has a key responsibility of Parliamentary Affairs in a house that will see some spirited show by the Opposition.

Respecting Allies

Cognizant that this is a government which is truly one bound by coalition dharma, Narendra Modi has given due respect to allies in terms of portfolios after allowing 11 ministerial berths to them and keeping one in abeyance for the NCP. Former Chief Ministers like HD Kumaraswamy and Jitin Ram Manjhi have prestigious portfolios – Heavy Industries and Steel for the former, and the crucial MSME portfolio for Manjhi. TDP’s Ram Mohan Naidu has been rewarded with Civil Aviation Ministry, a portfolio held by the TDP in its earlier innings with the NDA.

JDU’s Lallan Singh has been given two Ministries – Panchayati Raj, and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy. LJP’s Chirag Paswan is also a Cabinet Minister with charge of Food Processing, a charge held earlier by his late father Ram Vilas Paswan. Shiv Sena however won’t be pleased so much with its sole Minister with independent charge, Jadhav Prataprao Ganpatrao, getting the charge of Ayush Ministry and a junior minister post in Health Ministry. RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary has been given independent charge of the important Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and a junior minister in the Education Ministry as well.