New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) In a major rejig of the Narendra Modi council of ministers following an expansion on Tuesday, Smriti Irani was replaced as Human Resource Development Minister by Prakash Javadekar, while Ravi Shankar Prasad was divested of Communications but allotted Law and M. Venkaiah Naidu given additional charge of the I&B Ministry.
Irani has been made Textiles Minister, replacing incumbent Santosh Gangwar who will be now be Minister of State for Finance. Former bureaucrat Arjun Meghwal, who was inducted in Tuesday’s expansion, has also been made Minister of State in this crucial ministry, headed by Arun Jaitley.
Jaitley, who also held additional charge of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, shed it to Naidu. While Naidu will retain his existing Urban Development and Housing portfolio, he will be replaced as Parliamentary Affairs Minister by H.N. Ananth Kumar, who remains Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister.
As Law Minister, Prasad replaces D.V. Sadananda Gowda who has been moved to the low-profile Statistics and Programme Implementation ministry.
Vijay Goel will be the new Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Sports and Youth Affairs. The portfolio was being held as additional charge by Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh after incumbent Sarbananda Sonowal resigned after leading the Bharatiya Janata Party to its first-ever election victory in Assam and became Chief Minister.
M.J. Akbar has been appointed MoS External Affairs.
Jayant Sinha, who was junior minister in the finance ministry, now becomes Minister of State for Civil Aviation, while Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha will hold the Communications portfolio too as Minister of State (Independent Charge).
Mahesh Sharma, who was earlier MoS Civil Aviation under Ashok Gajapati Raju, has been left with his independent charge of Culture & Tourism.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Modi ministry was expanded with the induction of 19 new faces, elevating Minister of State for Environment Javadekar to the cabinet and dropping five junior ministers.
All the 19 new ministers sworn in at a solemn function at Rashtrapati Bhavan are from the BJP barring Republican Party of India-A leader Ramdas Athawale of Maharashtra, who has been made Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel of Uttar Pradesh, who will now be the new Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.
The five Ministers of State who have been dropped are Sanwar Lal Jat (Water Resources), Nihalchand (Panchayati Raj), Ram Shankar Katheria (HRD), Mansukh Bhai Vasava (Tribal Affairs) and Mohanbhai Kundaria (Agriculture).