The portfolios of the new cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been announced today– a day after the new ministers were sworn in. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office and secrecy to Modi and his ministers at a glittering ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhawan. There are total 57 ministers in the new union cabinet – 24 of cabinet rank, 24 ministers of state and 9 of independent minister of state rank. The council of ministers includes six women – three of whom were sworn in as cabinet ministers on Thursday. Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani and Harsimrat Kaur Badal are the three cabinet ministers in the newly elected government.
Here’s a look at six women ministers, along with their profiles, in the Narendra Modi cabinet 2.0.
Nirmala Sitharaman – Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs
Defence minister in Narendra Modi cabinet 2.0, Nirmala Sitharaman is appointed as the new Finance Minister. Arun Jaitley was the Finance Minister in Modi’s first ministry of the cabinet, but due to health reasons, Piyush Goyal was given the charge of the ministry in August 2018. As the new finance minister, Sitharaman will have to work towards prioritising higher GDP growth, job creation, GST simplification and adoption of the new direct tax code. For economic growth, she also needs to work on the clean-up of NPAs in the banking and NBFC sectors.
Nirmala Sitharaman is also given the responsibility of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, a portfolio held by P. P. Chaudhary in Modi government 1.0.
Sitharaman is a two-time Rajya Sabha member and the second woman, after Indira Gandhi, to helm the key ministry. In Modi cabinet 1.0, she was appointed as the defence minister in September 2017. She has been an active face of the party and is known to take the party’s stand on a number of issues including the Rafale deal and sexist remarks from opposition leaders. In 2008, she joined the BJP as a spokesperson, six years later became a junior minister in Modi’s first government. In 2016, she won the Rajya Sabha Elections from Karnataka seat and became the Member of Parliament. In 2017, after Manohar Parrikar took over as the Chief Minister of Goa, she was given the charge of Defence Ministry.
Smriti Irani – Minister of Women and Child Development and Minister of Textiles
Smriti Irani who defeated Rahul Gandhi from his pocket borough of Amethi by a margin of 55,120 votes, also took oath as a cabinet minister on Thursday. She is appointed as the new Women and Child Minister. The ministry was held by Maneka Gandhi in Modi cabinet 1.0. Irani has also retained her ministry of textiles.
Irani’s political journey is full of twists and turns – from condemning Modi to holding one of the big ministries in his cabinet. Irani joined the BJP in 2003 and a year later became the vice-president of the Maharashtra Youth Wing. In general elections 2004, she contested unsuccessfully against Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi. Irani blamed Modi for BJP’s electoral loss and threatened to fast unto death until he resigned. She took back her demand after she was threatened with a strict action by BJP. She contested the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections from Amethi and lost to Gandhi. Even after losing the elections she was appointed as the Minister of Human Resource Development in his cabinet. Her appointment was criticised owing to her lack of formal education. Irani has always made headlines for misrepresenting her educational qualifications and her term as HRD minister was a controversial one.
In 2016, in a cabinet reshuffle, she was given the Ministry of Textiles and a year later she was handed the additional charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India) after Former Minister M Venkaiah Naidu resigned for Vice Presidential Elections. In 2018, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was elevated Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal – Minister of Food Processing Industries
Harsimrat Kaur Badal is a two-time parliamentarian and the former union minister for food processing, who took oath in PM Modi’s new cabinet. She has retained the Food Processing Industries ministry. She is said to bring good development to the constituency. In Lok Sabha Elections 2019, she won the Lok Sabha elections by defeating Amrinder Singh Raja Warring of the Congress by a margin of 21,772 votes. During her campaign, she raised the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and Operation Bluestar. She is responded to Congress leader Sam Pitroda’s ‘hua toh hua’ remarks. Harsimrat holds a degree in textile design. She is married to Sukhbir Singh Badal who is the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). She is the daughter-in-law of Akali stalwart Parkash Singh Badal. In 2015, a year after her appointment as the Union Minister of Food Processing, she had to deal with a lot of controversies over consumer safety after the presence of lead content in Nestle Maggi noodles.
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti – Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti is appointed as the new Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development, a portfolio held by Ram Kripal Yadav in Modi Cabinet 1.0. In the previous cabinet, she held the portfolio of Minister of State for Food Processing Industries. She is known for her work towards promoting afforestation, helping women who belong to the financially weak background and uplifting underprivileged children.
Renuka Singh Saruta – Minister of State in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs
Renuka Singh Saruta who was sworn in as a Minister of State in the Modi government is appointed as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The portfolio was held by Jaswant Singh Sumanbhai Bhabhor in Modi government 1.0.
Deboshree Chowdhury – Minister of State in the Ministry of Women and Child Development
Deboshree Chowdhury, a BJP leader from West Bengal, has been appointed as Minister of State in the Ministry of Women and Child Development. With the new portfolio, she has made her debut into the union cabinet. The portfolio was held by Dr Virendra Kumar in Modi government’s first term.