New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's new team got down to work Monday with new ministers taking charge and old ones relinquishing responsibilities after a mega revamp of the council of ministers that saw 15 new faces and many key ministries changing hands.
The major shake-up of the government Sunday, possibly the last before the 2014 general elections, saw Salman Khurshid taking over as India's new foreign minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal being made the new man to helm the railways ministry, M. Veerappa Moily being given petroleum and M.M. Pallam Raju being made human resource development minister.
S. Jaipal Reddy got science and technology and Kamal Nath got additional charge of parliamentary affairs besides urban development.
New Cabinet ministers assure to work diligently With the reshuffling of the Union Cabinet, ministers, first timers, and coalition partners of the UPA-II regime have assured that they would work with full dedication and honesty regardless of the portfolios given to them. After his appointment as the new HRD Minister, MM Pallam Raju said that he would try to do justice to the role to the best of his capacity. Former Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily who has been appointed as the new Petroleum Minister said that he is thankful to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and he accepts this responsibility with all sense of humility. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Manish Tewari said that after serving in congress for the past 30 years it's an honour for him to serve in the government.
Amongst the ministers of state sworn in were Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari who got independent charge of information and broadcasting. Earlier with Ambika Soni, the ministry has been downgraded.
The exercise that sought to jettison perception of passivity in governance comes just ahead of two critical assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
"It is a combination of youth and experience," Manmohan Singh said Sunday after the ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan where President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office.
"The road ahead is full of challenges," he said, expressing hope that this was the last such exercise before his UPA-II government heads for elections.
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi did not join the government - leaving the field open for him to play a larger role in the party.
Cabinet reshuffle will have no impact on the common man: Kejriwal Social activist and IAC member, Arvind Kejriwal said that the cabinet reshuffle is just eyewash and it would have no effect on the common people. Slamming the government, Kejriwal also added that the people would continue to suffer from graft and inflation. Kejriwal also added that the ministers who were facing corruption allegations were still around and infact some of them were being elevated. Meanwhile, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that as long as the leadership of the government remained unchanged, merely shuffling cabinet berths was futile.
Seventeen new faces were inducted Sunday of which two ministers were of cabinet rank.
Of the seven new ministers sworn in with cabinet rank, two are debutants -- former Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson K. Rahman Khan and Congress MP Chandresh Kumari Katoch. The other five - Ajay Maken, M.M. Pallam Raju, Dinsha Patel, Harish Rawat and Ashwini Kumar - have been elevated to cabinet rank.
Fifteen ministers of state were also sworn in.