In a major cabinet reshuffle of the PM’s Council of Ministers, key portfolios including health, law, information and Technology, Railways and Shipping went through a major reboot, in which 36 new ministers joined the government and seven got promoted.
Sarbananda Sonowal, the former Chief Minister of Assam who handled the Sports and Youth Affairs ministry in PM Modi’s first government, has been assigned the Ports, Shipping and Waterways portfolio, formerly headed by Mansukh Mandaviya. Sonowal will also handle the Ayush ministry.
Jyotiraditya Scindia has taken over as the Civil Aviation Minister, a post formerly held by Hardeep Singh Puri. This reshuffle comes at a time when the civil aviation industry has been through a major setback owing to the covid-19 pandemic. Hardeep Puri will now head the Urban Development and Petroleum Ministry
“I express my gratitude to all the senior leaders for giving me this opportunity. I will try to keep intact the belief that they have shown in me,” Mr Scindia said on Wednesday.
An alumnus of Harvard and Stanford institutions, Mr Scindia contested his first election as a Congress candidate in 2002, a by-election in Guna Lok Sabha constituency, which was held after his father and former Civil Aviation Minister Madhavrao Scindia.
Mr Scindia, 50, resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP in March 2020.
BJP MP Mansukh Mandaviya has been assigned the Health Ministry in the reshuffle on Wednesday. He has been elevated to the Cabinet rank from minister of state (MoS). He was earlier holding the independent charge of shipping ministry and was MoS for the chemicals and fertilisers ministry.