New Delhi, Oct.28 (ANI): The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government (UPA) inducted 22 ministers in a major reshuffle of his ministry on Sunday.
The government now consists of 79 members.Of the 22 ministers inducted, ten are first timers.
Soon after the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that hopefully this would be the last reshuffle of his cabinet before the 2014 general elections. He also called the new cabinet a mix of youth and experience. He also said that he would have liked Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to be a member of his Cabinet.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that a reshuffle of the party was on the cards next.
The focus of Sunday's cabinet reshuffle was on inducting new and young faces, with the states of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal cornering the major share of the 22 ministers who were sworn in today.
While Andhra Pradesh has six new faces, West Bengal will have three more representatives.
The reshuffle move appears to be aimed at countering the Telangana statehood issue, the political threat from the YSR Congress and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee who pulled out of the UPA following differences over economic reforms.
Today's reshuffle of cabinet could help the government get over criticism of inertia in policy-making.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid will be the country's new External Affairs Minister. At age 59, he will replace 80-year-old S.M. Krishna.
The Minority Affairs Ministry will be assigned to K. Rahman Khan.
M.Veerappa Moily will the country's new Petroleum Minister, while M.Pallam Raju will be the new HRD Minister.
Kapil Sibal will continue to be the Telecom and IT Minister.Ashwani Kumar will the country's new Law and Justice Minister.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar will be the new Minister of State for Agriculture.
Pawan Kumar Bansal will get Railways, but loses Parliamentary Affairs to Kamal Nath, who will alos keep Urban Development.
First timer Manish Tewari moves from being a spokesperson of the Congress Party to Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, while Deepa Dasmunshi from West Bengal will be Minister of State for Culture.
Within the government, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and R P N Singh will be assigned new roles.
Scindia is likely to get independent charge of Power, Pilot will have independent charge of Corporate Affairs and Singh moves as Minister of State for Home. None of them have been given cabinet rank, as was being speculated. All of them are second generation Congress leaders.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken is also likely to move up the ladder to a full cabinet minister's rank.
Telugu superstar and politician Chiranjeevi has been rewarded with the rank of Minister of State and will be looking after the tourism ministry
Uttarakhand veteran Harish Rawat will be the new Water Resources Minister.
Dinsha Patel, from Gujarat, will be the Cabinet Minister for Mines.
Chandrashwari Katoch, who is from Rajasthan, is also a first-time cabinet member.
Further details are awaited. (ANI)