New Delhi: Keeping his reputation of surprising people with unexpected steps intact, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi selected Nirmala Sitharaman as the Finance Minister.
The Defence Minister in the last NDA government, from 2017, Sitaraman made it to the North Block against all the speculations doing the rounds either Amit Shah or Piyush Goyal leading the Indian economy. She will also head the Corporate Affairs Ministry in the new government.
A member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, the next big task at her hand is to present the Union Budget, which is likely in the first half of July.
Piyush Goyal, who was widely expected to get the Finance portfolio, will be the Commerce Minister of the country along with additional charge of the Railway Ministry. Goyal succeeds Suresh Prabhu in the Commerce Ministry.
Prabhu was dropped from PM Modi’s new cabinet along with several other ministers who were present in the last ministry. Another key economic portfolio, Petroleum and Natural Gas has been retained by Dharmendra Pradhan who helmed the ministry during 2014-19. Pradhan will also be the Minister of Steel in the new government.
Ravi Shankar Prasad will be the Communications Minister, which includes the Telecommunications Department and the Department of Post. He will also continue to hold the Law and IT Ministry in the new cabinet.
Nitin Gadkari will continue to be the Road Transport and Highways Minister while also handling the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry.
The Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise Ministry has gone to Shiv Sena’s Arvind Ganpat Sawant. Lok Janashakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan will continue with the Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry.
Smriti Irani, R.K. Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal will continue with Textiles, Power and New and Renewable Energy and Food Processing Ministries respectively. Irani, who turned out to be a giant slayer this election by defeating Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, will also hold the Women and Child Development Ministry.
While, Kaur and Irani are in the Union Cabinet, Singh will be a Minister of State with Independent charge. The bureaucrat-turned-politician will also hold the portfolio of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Hardeep Singh Puri, will take over as the Civil Aviation Minister along with continuing in the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.