Cong keeps plum posts, key berths for Gen X

Moily gets law n Kharge labour n Muniyappa MoS for railways n Cabinet size goes up to 79
Last Updated 30 May 2009, 06:03 IST

M Veerappa Moily has been appointed law minister and M Mallikarjun Kharge given labour and employment, as the Congress kept key portfolios and allotted important posts to the younger generation on Thursday.

K H Muniyappa is the new minister of state for railways.

The announcement of the new portfolios came hours after the second instalment of the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday morning in which 59 ministers took oath, taking the total strength of the Manmohan Singh government to 79.

It is learnt that the allocation of portfolios was delayed as there was jostling for “weighty” portfolios.

Singh held a two-hour meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. They were later joined by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The allocation of jobs came as a big relief, especially for 13 senior ministers who had been waiting for a week from May 22 to take charge of their offices. Prime minister Singh and his 19 colleagues had taken oath on that day.

Singh sprang quite a few surprises while shuffling his pack. Anand Sharma is the new commerce and industry minister. Kamal Nath, who held this post earlier, now gets road transport and highways. Among the 38 ministers of state, Shashi Tharoor, former UN diplomat, and Preneet Kaur, wife of former Punjab chief minister, have been put in the external affairs ministry.

From the younger generation, Sachin Pilot and Gurudas Kamat have been made ministers of state in IT and communication while Jyotiraditya Scindia shifts to commerce and industry, from IT and communications.

As for the infrastructure ministries, Sushil Kumar Shinde retains power. Murli Deora gets back petroleum and natural gas while A Raja retains communications and IT.

The key human resource development ministry goes to Kapil Sibal while Ghulam Nabi Azad  has been made  minister of health and family welfare. Ambika Soni gets information and broadcasting and M S Gill youth affairs and sports. 

Mukul Wasnik has been made minister for social justice, Kantilal Bhuria gets tribal affairs and Salman Khursheed will hold independent charge of minority affairs and corporate affairs.

Vilasrao Deshmukh has been vested with heavy industries and public enterprises while Virbhadra Singh has been given steel. Farooq Abdullah  gets renewable energy and Dayanidhi Maran textiles.

Of the three women Cabinet ministers, Kumari Selja has been elevated and continues in housing and urban poverty alleviation besides having the additional job of tourism.
Subodh Kant Sahay will retain food processing industries and Pawan Bansal  will look after parliamentary affairs.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s son M K Azhagiri will look after chemicals and fertilisers.

Among the ministers of state with independent charge, Praful Patel retains civil aviation while Jairam Ramesh has been given environment and forests; Prithviraj Chavan has been put in charge of science and technology and earth sciences even as he remains minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Earlier in the day, President Patil administered the oath of office and secrecy to 14 Cabinet ministers, 7 ministers of state with independent charge and and 38 MoS in an elaborate ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Leader of Opposition in the last Lok Sabha L K Advani was conspicuous by his absence at the ceremony. The BJP veteran had attended last week’s swearing-in ceremony.


Meanwhile, Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily on Thursday said he would take steps to ensure speedy delivery of justice.

“Due to the delay in justice delivery for various reasons, the people are being made to suffer. To expedite delivery of justice, ethics and governance system in the law and justice department would be strengthened,” Moily told Deccan Herald soon after he was given charge of the law and justice ministry.

Moily, who began his career as an advocate, said he was happy with the portfolio.

“Whatever be the responsibility assigned by the prime minister, we should accept it.

There is no question of asking for any particular portfolio,” he said.

Earlier, Moily’s name was doing the rounds for human resources development ministry and surface transport and highways. However, due to his law background, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh picked him for law  ministry.

Moily has earlier headed the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), a panel constituted to suggest improvement in  the governance system.

Key portfolios

* M Veerappa Moily : Law and Justice
* Mallikarjun Kharge : Labour and Employment
* K H Muniyappa : Railways
* Shashi Tharoor : External Affairs
* Farooq Abdullah : New and Renewable Energy
* S Jaipal Reddy : Urban Development
* Kamal Nath : Road Transport and Highways
* Vayalar Ravi : Overseas Indian Affairs
* Dayanidhi Maran : Textiles
* A Raja : Communications and IT
* Sachin Pilot :     Communications & IT
* Murli Deora : Petroleum and Natural Gas
* M K Azhagiri : Chemicals & Fertilisers

Ministers of State (Independent Charge)
* Praful Patel : Civil Aviation
* Jyotiraditya Scindia : Commerce and Industry
* Jitin Prasad : Petroleum & Natural Gas
*Agatha Sangma : Rural Development

(Published 28 May 2009, 19:44 IST)

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