The meticulous month-long exercise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recast his Council of Ministers shows up not just in the thoroughness behind the choices but also in placing right jobs in the right hands, matching capabilities to ministerial requirements and interlinking ministries with common ministers to bring more synergy to the Modi government, top government sources explained.
Like technology-driver ministries like MeITY and Communications have been put under technocrat Ashwini Vaishnaw, who has held leadership roles in major global companies such as General Electric and Siemens and holds an MBA from the Wharton School, Pennysylvania University and an MTech from IIT Kanpur. “Aswhini Vaishnaw also brings with him rich administrative experience of over 15 years as an IAS officer that will come handy. Railways, another priority sector for PM, has been clubbed with MeITY and given to Vaishnaw to ensure effective Tech usage for passenger safety and convenience,” government sources said.
The Health and Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry that deals with Pharma have both been allocated to Mansukh Mandaviya to bring synergy between them in times of Covid, government sources said. Mandaviya has already been at the centre of the Covid response team so far as the Minister of State, Chemicals, and he, as the Cabinet Minister now, has been given a MoS in the Health Ministry, Bharti Prawin Pawar who is a practicing doctor with on-ground experience in fighting malnutrition and clean drinking water too, government sources said.
Similarly, Education and Skill development ministries have been kept under same minister in Dharmendra Pradhan whom sources described as “someone who works very hard to deliver whatever work he is given.” Culture, Tourism and DONER were all given to G. Kishan Reddy, while Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Textiles will be with Piyush Goyal to bring synergies between these export-oriented ministries and big employment generating ministries. Coal and Mines will be with same minister, Prahlad Joshi, while Science and Technology along with Earth Sciences Ministry are both with Jitendra Singh as MoS. 17 other ministries have been linked with common MoSs in various combinations.
Special emphasis has also been given to what sources described as “national priorities” like Health, Education, Economy and Technology. Like Pradhan has got two deputies in academician-turned-MP Rajkumar Ranjan Singh who was a Professor for four decades and holds a PhD, and Subhas Sarkar who is a practicing doctor. Sources described this as a “powerful team put in place to implement PM’s grand vision of overhauling India’s educational landscape.” Similarly, major technology departments have all been brought under Jitendra Singh and will be directly connected with the PM, as Singh serves as MoS PMO.
Citing appointment of a number of MoSs this time, sources explained how doctors have been placed in key ministries like Health and AYUSH, technocrats and management professionals positioned in key portfolios like finance, commerce, railways, aviation, power and petroleum while engineers have been put in ministries like Jal Shakti and New and Renewable Energy. Lawyers have got place in the Law Ministry and Corporate Affairs Ministry. Care was taken to even ensure that the Tribal Affairs Ministry has Ministers from three different and key tribes - Arjun Munda, Bishweswar Tudu and Renuka Singh Saruta.