Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, swearing-in of new ministers at 10 am

Posted September 02, 2017

Ahead of the Union cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari today held a meeting at Home Minister Rajnath Singh's residence in the national capital.

Apart from them, Union Minister Giriraj Singh is also expected to quit after a nudge from the party to pave way for the Cabinet reshuffle. One can not be sure if finance minister Arun Jaitley, who has been having the additional portfolio of defence ministry since the exit of Manohar Parrikar several months ago, will be shedding the defence portfolio.

Speculations on who all would be part of PM Modi's team are on but going by the previous record, the prime minister may again surprise everyone with his decision. Similarly, some ministers of state with independent charge-like Dr Jitendra Singh and Prakash Javadekar-may also be elevated to a cabinet rank.

The Prime Minister said human interface must be kept to a minimum in the tax administration's dealings and a push should be given to "e-assessment" and anonymity of proceedings using technology, so that vested interests do not impede the due course of law, the release said.

The expected rejig is likely to give the cabinet a new look with the induction of representatives from newer allies like the Janata Dal (U), among others, before a series of state elections and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. While Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has offered to resign, PM Modi has asked him to wait.

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It will be the third such exercise since he took over as the Prime Minister in May 2014.

This is expected to the last reshuffle ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Modi government is on the cusp of purchasing defence equipment and armaments to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore. The Cabinet will also see increased representation in the Union Ministry.

When the newly-minted PM Modi had given additional charge of defence to Jaitley for the first time in May 2014 and he ran the ministry for over five months, the prime minister had tasked him to prepare a blueprint for rapid modernisation of the armed forces and identifying procurement of new weapon systems from overseas.

In July, M Venkaiah Naidu resigned from the union cabinet after being picked up as the NDA nominee for the post of vice president of India. He is also likely to be adjusted in one of the vacant Raj Bhavans as a Governor. Asking officials to improve their work culture and adopt a sense of urgency and measurability in their performance, Modi said officers must fix clear targets to improve the tax administration by 2022, the 75th anniversary of Independence.