Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers was expanded on Sunday, with nine new faces -- including four former bureaucrats -- being inducted, suggesting an admission of talent crunch in the BJP ranks.
The four are former Union home secretary R K Singh, former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh, former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri, and retired IAS officer KJ Alphons Kannanthanam. The five other new faces include MPs Ashwini Choubey from Bihar and Anant Kumar Hegde from Karnataka. The others to be inducted are Shiv Pratap Shukla, a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh; Virendra Kumar, a Scheduled Caste member of Lok Sabha from Madhya Pradesh; and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a Lok Sabha member from Rajasthan.
The swearing-in ceremony saw the elevation of four MoS to cabinet rank and the induction of nine new MoS rank ministers.
Oath taking ceremony: Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sworn in as Cabinet ministers
The oath taking ceremony is currently underway as the President has arrived. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu and minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj have occupied the front row seats along with home minister Rajnath Singh and finance minister Arun Jaitley. Meanwhile, Uma Bharti, who resigned as water resources and Ganga rejuvenation minister last week, is skipping the ceremony.ANI reported that the Sena would be skipping the oath taking ceremony. Dharmendra Pradhan first to take oath, has been promoted to cabinet rank while Piyush Goyal
was second to take oath. Nirmala Sitharamn, as well as Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, have taken oath as cabinet ministers.
Oath taking ceremony for MoS: Rajya Sabha MP Shiv Pratap Shukla was the first one to take oath as Minister of State
Veerendra Kumar has also taken oath as Minister of State. Kumar is a six-term MP from Tikamgarh and an important Dalit face of the BJP. Bihar's Ashwini Kumar Choubey also took oath as MoS. Choubey is currently a Lok Sabha MP from Buxar.
Anant Kumar Hegde, Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Kannada also took oath as MoS, followed by Raj Kumar Singh, an MP from Bihar.Former permanent representative to the UN and ambassador to the UK and Brazil, Hardeep Singh Puri has also taken oath as MoS.
Government sources conceded that with 2019 Lok Sabha polls drawing near, the concern within the government was to ensure last-mile delivery of projects. The Modi government has received criticism from the Opposition for its failures to meet its promises, particularly on job growth.
Sources said six ministers have resigned as part of the restructuring for which the Prime Minister has chosen the power of four Ps - Passion, Proficiency, Professional and Political Acumen for Progress.
Among those who resigned are Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Mahendra Nath Pandey and junior Water Resources Minister Sanjeev Balyan.