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In His Second Term, Modi Places Trust in Former Bureaucrats; Picks Up 4 for Key Positions

Jaishankar was the bureaucrat who helped shape Modi's foreign policy, which has been one of the key areas of interests for the prime minister.


Updated:May 31, 2019, 3:23 PM IST
In His Second Term, Modi Places Trust in Former Bureaucrats; Picks Up 4 for Key Positions
File photo of S Jaishankar

New Delhi: One distinct trait in the council of ministers in Modi 2.0 cabinet is the huge trust placed on former career-bureaucrats. Four former babus — two ex-IFS and two ex-IAS officers — three of who were part of the previous Modi cabinet, have been given several important responsibilities. The one former babu who wasn't a minister in Modi 1.0 cabinet and now finds himself heading one of the most important ministries is S Jaishankar, the former foreign secretary, who has replaced Sushma Swaraj as the new foreign minister.

Jaishankar was the bureaucrat who helped shape Modi's foreign policy which has been one of the key areas of interests for Modi.

The political debutant, Padm Shri awardee, and the country's longest-serving foreign secretary in four decades, Jaishankar will now head one of the big four ministries, and will be a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security.

Jaishankar, a 1977 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, kept earning greater responsibilities since Modi came to power at the Centre in 2014. In 2015, Modi appointed Jaishankar as foreign secretary a few days before his retirement, replacing Sujata Singh. And he has now replaced senior leader Sushma Swaraj as the foreign affairs minister.

Arjun Ram Meghwal, former IAS, has in a sense got a promotion in this cabinet. In 2014, Meghwal, famous for travelling to Parliament on his cycle, was appointed as MoS Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and Parliamentary Affairs. This time he has been made MoS Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, and has retained Parliamentary affairs portfolio.

The three-time MP from Bikaner, who is also seen as BJP's Dalit face in Rajasthan, also served as the chief whip of the BJP in the 16th Lok Sabha and was also nominated as Chairman of House Committee, Lok Sabha.

Hardeep Puri, though being the only bureaucrat-turned-politician, who lost in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, has again been entrusted with more responsibilities than what were given to him in Modi 1.0 cabinet.

Puri retains his portfolios as MoS Housing and Urban Affairs, in addition to his new responsibility as MoS (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Civil Aviation; and MoS Commerce and Industry.

Puri, a 1974-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, has served as Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. He has also served as the President of the UN Security Council and chairman of its Terrorism Committee.

RK Singh, another career-bureaucrat-turned-politician, was made MoS (Independent Charge) in Power ministry. In the new cabinet, Singh has been awarded with two MoS (Independent Charge) portfolios — Power and New and Renewable Energy. He has also been given charge as MoS in Skill Development and Entrepreneurship ministry. The 1975-batch officer of the Bihar cadre became famous for stopping Advani's 1990's Somnath to Ayodhya Rath Yatra and arresting the BJP stalwart in Samastipur, Bihar, on the orders of the then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

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