Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane on Thursday took charge of the Ministry of Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Rane, 69, was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for a short stint in 1999 in the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government. He had been a six-time MLA and one-time MLC in Maharashtra and had served as cabinet minister handling important portfolios such as industries, revenue, ports and animal husbandry.
He takes charge of the MSME Ministry at a crucial time as the sector has been among the most affected business segments amid the Covid pandemic. The sector has been among the core focus of the government in its financial support announcements made in the past one year, including a separate resolution framework for MSMEs.
Rane has been serving the public in elected offices across different capacities for over 35 years now. Before that, he had served in the Income Tax Department from 1971 to 1984. Rane succeeds Nitin Gadkari, another senior BJP leader from Maharashtra.
Narayan Rane, who was inducted into the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, joined the BJP in October 2019 after switching over to the Congress in from the Shiv Sena in 2005 and then leaving the Congress to form the short-lived Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha in 2017.
(With inputs from Agencies)