Hours after announcing a major Cabinet revamp that saw 12 high profile exits and the induction of numerous new leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now begun working in tandem with his new team. This came even as the newly appointed Union ministers, including Ashwini Vaishnaw, Anurag Thakur and Mansukh Mandaviya, began taking charge of their respective ministries on Thursday.
Modi interacted with Directors of Centrally Funded Technical institutions like IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur and IISc Bangalore, through video conferencing today. New Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan was also part of this interaction. According to sources, the interaction is a part of the PM's personal efforts to ensure our education institutions further improve.
Bureaucrat-entrepreneur-turned-politician Vaishnaw, 51, took charge as the country's new Railway Minister, while Thakur who was elevated as Information and Broadcasting Minister also assumed office. Vaishnaw also holds two other important portfolios of Communications and Electronics and Information Technology.
"I thank the honourable Prime Minister for the great opportunity he has given me to serve the nation. Telecommunications, IT and Railways. There are lots of synergies in the three and I will be working to ensure that his vision is implemented," Vaishnaw told reporters.
Darshana Jardosh took charge as Minister of State for Railways.
Speaking to reporters after assuming charge, Thakur said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given him a huge responsibility and that he will make best efforts to fulfil it. "Modiji has done fantastic work in the last seven years. My endeavour will be to meet his expectations, reach out to maximum people and take the legacy of my predecessors forward," Thakur said.
Mansukh Mandaviya, a BJP leader from Gujarat, took charge as the new Health Minister amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandaviya replaces Harsh Vardhan.
Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, who succeeded Ashwini Kumar Choubey, took charge as the Minister of State (MoS) for Health and Family Welfare.
Ram Chandra Prasad Singh and Kiren Rijiju took charge of Steel and Law Ministries respectively. Singh, a JD(U) leader, is a retired IAS officer.
Bhupender Yadav assumed charge of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Veteran parliamentarian Virendra Kumar took office as the country's new Social Justice and Empowerment Minister. Two junior ministers in the ministry Pratima Bhoumik and A Narayanaswamy also took office.
Jitendra Singh took charge as the new Union Science and Technology Minister. Singh was on Wednesday allocated two new portfolios -- the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Earth Sciences -- with independent charge after a Union cabinet reshuffle.
BJP Rajya Sabha member Bhupender Yadav took charge of the Ministry of Labour and Employment as Union Cabinet Minister amid the pandemic which has hit the working class, especially informal sector workers, hard.
Minister of Culture, Tourism and DoNER G Kishan Reddy also assumed charge.
Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane took charge as the new Union MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) Minister. Rane said the ministry will work in the direction of creating more jobs and promoting GDP growth. "Today, I have taken the charge. We will think of steps to promote GDP growth and the creation of jobs for youth," he told reporters.
Senior Gujarat BJP leader Parshottam Rupala, who has been promoted as a cabinet minister, took charge as Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. Rupala (66), who comes from the influential Kadva Patidar or Patel community in Gujarat, is in charge of the new ministry formed in 2019 in order to promote allied farm activities for enhancing farmers' income.
Subhas Sarkar and Munjapara Mahendrabhai took charge as Minister of State for Education and Women and Child Development Ministries respectively.
(With inputs from agencies)