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Monday
June 2018
10:38 PM IST
News Headlines
Fresh FIR filed against Nirav Modi for possessing multiple Indian passports        Nigeria: 31 people killed in twin suicide blasts        1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting        Mexico shock World Cup holders Germany        World Cup: Serbia edge out Costa Rica in Group E opener        Messi penalty saved as Iceland hold Argentina        Pakistan SC bars Musharraf from contesting election        FIFA World Cup 2018: Russia stun Saudi Arabia in opener, substitutes shine in 5-0 win        India vs Afghanistan, one-off Test: Afghanistan fight back as India reach 347-6 on Day 1        Four killed, 10 missing after landslide in Kerala        Railways drop coach factory project in Palakkad        Vajpayee better, hopeful of full recovery in next few days: AIIMS director        Congress wins Jayanagar assembly seat in Karnataka        N Korea no longer a nuclear threat: Trump        Former president Maldives and chief justice sentenced for obstruction of justice        Hafiz Saeed-backed MML can’t contest Pakistan elections        Afghanistan not nervous about Test clash with India, says skipper Asghar Stanikzai        Amelia Kerr slams 232* to break 21-year-old record in Women's ODIs        Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram offer models of decentralized waste management systems        Bhaiyyu Maharaj, Spiritual Guru To Top Politicians, Commits Suicide        
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Kerala News
Modi rejigs team, Sitharaman gets Def, Goyal Railways
 
New Delhi, Sep 3 (PTI) With a focus on delivery as he prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today handed key portfolios to ministers with "proven" track record and sprang a surprise by elevating Nirmala Sitharaman as the first full-time woman Defence Minister.

In a major rejig of his council of ministers, he also promoted three other junior ministers -- Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi -- to cabinet rank and inducted nine new faces, including four former government officers, as Ministers of State.

The exercise raised the strength of the Union Council of Ministers from 73 to 76.

Goyal, who has been praised for his work in the power sector, was given the Railways Ministry, which has been facing criticism over a spate of accidents, prompting Modi to shift Suresh Prabhu to Commerce and Industry Ministry. Goyal will continue to head the Coal Ministry.

In an overhaul of infrastructure ministries, Modi handed important portfolios to two former IAS officers and one former diplomat, giving them independent charge and brought Nitin Gadkari in place of Uma Bharti in the water resources and Ganga rejuvenation ministry.

Gadkari retained the charge of Road Transport and Highways, where his work has earned him praise. Bharti's performance was under scrutiny due to lack of visible progress in Modi's pet Clean Ganga programme.

Bharti will take care of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Government sources said the Prime Minister carried out the reshuffle considering performance and rewarding those with proven track record.

Sitharaman, who was the Minister of State with an independent charge of the Commerce Ministry, emerged the biggest gainer.

She became the first full-time woman defence minister and the second woman to take charge of the key portfolio. Indira Gandhi, as then Prime Minister, had also held the portfolio in the seventies.

As the Defence Minister, Sitharaman will be a member of the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security whose members include the Prime Minister, Home Minister, External Affairs Minister and the Finance Minister.

Pradhan and Naqvi retained their portfolios of Oil and Gas and Minority Affairs respectively. Pradhan was given the additional charge of the Skill Development Ministry, which was earlier held by Rajiv Pratap Rudy who quit the post a few days ago.

Former diplomat Hardeep Puri and former IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam were made MoS (Independent charge) of Housing and Urban Development and Tourism respectively.

R K Singh, former Home Secretary, was given charge of Power and New and Renewable Energy portfolios. Former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh has been made minister of state in HRD, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvination.

Six ministers -- Rudy, Kalraj Mishra, Bandaru Dattatreya, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey -- had resigned ahead of the reshuffle, in which nine ministers were inducted.

While Modi has focussed on governance, he has also taken care of the BJP's political considerations.



Pradhan, now a cabinet minister, has emerged as the BJP's face in Odisha and become one of its prominent leaders as the party has highlighted the "success" of his ministry's scheme of giving free LPG connections to the poor in its political campaigns.

Odisha is among the states high on the priority list of party chief Amit Shah for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Alphons is a Christian from Kerala, a state where the BJP has been trying hard to emerge as a potent force. The saffron party has also been wooing Christians and his induction is likely to help this cause.

Cabinet Minister Harsh Vardhan, who was given the additional charge of Environment MInistry following the demise of Anil Dave in May, continues to hold the portfolio.

Similarly, Smriti Irani, who was given the additional charge of Information and Broadcasting Ministry in July after M Venkaiah Nadu was made vice presidential nominee of the NDA, too retained the ministry.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore replaced Vijay Goel in the Sports Ministry, while also remaining the MoS in the I&B Ministry.

Goel, who earlier held independent charge, has been shunted as the Minister of State for Parliamentary Afairs and Statistics and Programme Implementation.

New inductee Shiv Pratap Shukla has been made MoS in the Finance Ministry, replacing Arjun Ram Meghwal, while Ashwini Kumar Choubey has been appointed MoS in Health and Virendra Kumar MoS in Women and Child Development. Meghwal now has been shifted to Parliamentary Affairs.

Another new face Anant Kumar Hegde has been made MoS in the Skill Development Ministry, while Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was made MoS in the Agriculture Ministry.

If Modi opted for former government officers who had joined a party ahead of 2014 polls on account of their perceived administrative abilities, he has also humoured saffron loyalists by picking likes of Shukla, Choubey and Kumar, all of whom enjoy good rapoort with the RSS.

Two ministers Santosh Gangwar and Giriraj Singh have also seen a promotion as they are now MoS with independent charge of Labour and Employment and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises respectively.


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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
I am a big flop actor: Karan Johar
 (Mumbai, May 5, 2018): Filmmaker Karan Johar is in mood to take up full-fledged acting jobs.  
Bittersweet moment for us: Akshaye on Vinod Khanna's Dadasaheb Phalke honour
Happy Sonam is getting married, Anand a great guy: Harshvardhan Kapoor
Auctioning 'Rustom' costume for good cause: Akshay Kumar
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Nigeria: 31 people killed in twin suicide blasts
 (Abuja, June 17, 2018):Reportedly, 31 people have been killed in twin suicide blasts in Niger
1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting
Pakistan SC bars Musharraf from contesting election
N Korea no longer a nuclear threat: Trump
NATIONAL NEWS
Vajpayee better, hopeful of full recovery in next few days: AIIMS director
 (NEW DELHI, June 13, 2018):Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has shown significant i
Congress wins Jayanagar assembly seat in Karnataka
Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram offer models of decentralized waste management systems
Bhaiyyu Maharaj, Spiritual Guru To Top Politicians, Commits Suicide
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