India PM Modi makes major cabinet changes for new term

Saul Bowman
June 1, 2019

The deal, initiated in 2005, took several years to craft and was signed by the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh in 2007.

Shah would be taking over the finance portfolio at a sensitive time. The first cabinet meeting of the Modi government will be held later in the evening on Friday, where the council is expected to lay out the broad policy framework for the 100 Day action plan.

His excellent political skills as the BJP president, along with PM Modi's larger than life persona, helped the BJP score big on its major rival Congress, reducing its tally to just 52 seats in General Elections.

Shah, the architect of BJP's victory of 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, is believed to be among those who will join the Modi cabinet and is tipped to get either Home or Finance, sources said.

Data released by the government showed that India's growth had fallen to 5.8% in the January-March period, putting it behind China - which logged 6.4% - for the first time in one-and-a-half years.

Modi, along with 24 cabinet rank ministers and more than 30 deputy ministers, were sworn in at the presidential palace on Thursday. "So, to that extent, you don't need a proper technocrat to run the finance ministry - you need someone who can get things done".

India is set to become more important to USA companies soon as the U.S. "That is all built on state-centre coordination", he said.

Sitharaman had served as a national spokesperson for the BJP.

In the federal Indian system of appointments, ministers are sworn in before their specific positions are announced.

Known to be close to Modi, Jaishankar, had previously held positions like the high commissioner to Singapore, and ambassador to China and the United States, besides serving as foreign secretary from January 2015 to January 2018.

The new inclusions, besides Shah and Jaishankar, included Ramesh Pokhriyal "Nishank", Arjun Munda, Prahlad Joshi, Mahendra Nath Pandey and Arvind Sawant.

Jaitley played a key role in Modi's first-term pushing through important reforms and acting as a troubleshooter.

While India's economy grew at about seven percent each year during Modi's first five-year term, it did not produce the jobs needed to find work for the estimated 1.2 million job seekers entering the labour market each month.

Sixty-year-old Sitharaman, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, was at the helm of affairs when India conducted the Balakot air strike following the Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group in which around 49 security personnel were killed.

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