It is extremely surprising to notice the amount of changes that have been brought to the Union Cabinet. The Cabinet consists of people that are entrusted the most by the Prime Minister for various responsibilities such as railways, education, health and so on, and bringing about such a sudden change to these ministers in the middle of the term of the ruling party, is quite different and alarming.
The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narender Modi on Wednesday expanded its council of ministers, the first such exercise in the third year of his second term. This move comes at a time when the Modi government faces criticism over the alleged mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of February, 2021, the election commission announced key elections in five major states where one hundred and eighty six million people would have been eligible to cast a vote. In mid-march, the cricket boards allowed approximately one hundred and thirty thousand fans in the stadiums, majority of them unmasked. By the beginning of April, the worst nightmare that seemed impossible to ever occur had arrived above our heads. Over the next few weeks, India calculated record breaking per day cases and deaths. India at that time was at its peak of the pandemic, people were making videos and taking it across to the government on social media platforms such as Instagram and telling them about the shortage of oxygen supply that they were facing. There were millions of complaints that were being raised against the Health Ministry of India. The Prime Minister acknowledged these problems and brought upon the necessary changes in the Union Cabinet. The list of ministers also indicates that due attention has been given to upcoming assembly elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Yesterday, two major political developments took place which indicated that the BJP has started preparing for the polls besides appeasing its allies. In the first development, Thawar Chand Gehlot was appointed Governor of Karnataka to make more space for new ministers. Later in the day, a new ministry was created – the Ministry of Cooperation.
In the expansion, 43 MPs took oath as ministers on Wednesday. Out of these, 7 ministers are promoted and 36 ministers are new. So now the central government has 77 ministers, nearly half of these are new. Some hours before this expansion, 12 Union Ministers including Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dr,. Harshvardhan, Parkash Javedkar etc resigned from their posts of council of Ministers.
Of the 43 ministers, 15 ministers were inducted into the Union Cabinet and 28 ministers inducted as Minister of State. Among the ministers into the cabinet are Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sarbananda Sonowal, Anurag Thakur, Kiren Rijiju and Harshdeep Puri. Meenakshi Lekhi, Pankaj Choudhary, Anupriya Patel,Shobha karandlaje were inducted as Ministers of State. In the expansion of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister had assigned key responsibilities such as IT and Communication to the Wharton-educated Ashwini Vaishnaw, Health to Mansukh Mandaviya, Civil Aviation to Jyotiraditya Scindia, Education and Skill Development to Dharmendra Pradhan, Environment, Labour and Employment to Bhupendra Yadav, Information and Broadcasting to Anurag Thakur and Law to Kiren Rijiju there are much more in this list. Apart from this, key Union Cabinet Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, S Jaishankar, Narendra Singh Tomar retain their portfolios of Defence Ministry, Finance Ministry, External Affairs Ministry and Agriculture Ministry, respectively. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also in-charge of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy; Department of Space; all important policy issues; and all other portfolios not allocated to any Minister. OThe ministry will work to streamline processes for ‘ease of doing business’ for cooperatives and enable the development of multi-state cooperatives (MSCS), it said. The creation of a separate Ministry for Cooperation also fulfils the budget announcement made by the finance minister.
The focus has been on Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. Uttar Pradesh is the most crucial state for the BJP given the number of Lok Sabha seats. The inclusion of the allies like JD(U), Apna Dal etc. indicates that the Modi government is not willing to let go more of its allies since two of its major partners – Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal had already deserted the NDA over different issues. The move will boost the confidence of its allies and the same will prove beneficial for the saffron party in the coming polls. The newly appointed cabinet of Ministers have a lot of responsibility on their heads as of now. The new education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and his team will have to formulate a new education policy that will be implemented all across India, they will have to take in a crucial decision regarding the development of four national curriculums on school education, teacher education, early childhood education and adult education. He will have to be at work from day one and make reforms because the nation already has a lot on it’s plate when it comes to No education like the digital divide, learning loss, COVID-19 disruptions and economic inequalities.
Due to COVID-19 the past two years have been a lot to work through for both, the GOI and the people. There have been a lot of casualties in this stringent battle against the pandemic. There have been a lot of problems that the nation has collectively been through, including economic crisis, loss of jobs, people having to migrate back to their villages, lack of oxygen supply in the states during the second wave. Apart from this, India has made two vaccines for COVID-19 which is a proud moment for India. Although, darker the sky at the beginning, greater the lights later. Thus, all the decisions that are being currently taken by the PM regarding the Union Cabinet, will cause developments for the greater good. India will rise above all the problems that are currently persistent with the new workforce that has been appointed by the PM.