NEW DELHI, Jan 19 � Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh today expanded his Council of Ministers, inducting a couple of new faces besides elevating few others, while portfolios of several ministers have been changed.
The new ministers were sworn in at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this afternoon by President Pratibha Devisingh Patel in presence of the Prime Minister, his Cabinet colleagues, top government officials, Service chiefs among others.
Three Ministers of State have been elevated to the ranks of Cabinet Ministers, two Ministers of State have been given independent charge. Minister of State, Praful Patel, Sriprakash Jaiswal and Salman Khurshid have been elevated to Cabinet rank.
Though the much-awaited induction on Wednesday was not a massive affair, the reshuffle of portfolios, however, was significant. New blood was sought to be infused in several key ministries by the Prime Minister, fighting a sustained Opposition campaign against his government on price rise, allegation of corruption including the 2G spectrum allocation and the Commonwealth Games.
The ghost of CWC Games fiasco came back to hunt Dr MS Gill, who has been divested of his Sports portfolio and given Statistics and Programme Implementation. Kamal Nath, whose names was among the Nira Radia tapes was divested of the Road Transport and Highway Ministry and given Urban development.
Sharad Pawar, who is under attack for his failure to control prices of essential commodities is now left with only Agriculture and Food Processing Industries. The other Cabinet Ministers, whose portfolios were changed, included Virbhadra Singh who gets Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Vilasrao Deshmukh is the new Rural Development minister with additional charge of Panchayati Raj.
Kapil Sibal continues to be the Human Resource Development minister with additional charge of Communications and Information Technology. Though he was handling the Telecom Ministry after A Raja�s resignation, his appointment was formalised today.
The heavy-weight Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas goes to S Jaipal Reddy, while Vayalar Ravi is the new Civil Aviation Minister and continues to hold his old charge of Overseas Indian Affairs. Salman Khursheed is the new Water Resources Minister in addition to his existing charge of Minority Affairs.
Praful Patel is the new Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises minister, while Shriprakash Jaiswal continues in his Coal portfolio.
The new Minister of State with independent charge include Ajay Maken (Youth Affairs and Sports), Beni Prasad Verma (Steel) and Professor K.V. Thomas (Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution).
Ashwani Kumar is the new Ministers of State Planning and Parliamentary Affairs and Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, while KC Venugopal gets Power.
The Congress Party old hand Murli Deora has been given Corporate Affairs, which was held by Salman Khursid.
C.P. Joshi is the Road Transport and Highways minister, Kumari Selja the Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation minister with additional charge of Culture. Subodh Kant Sahay is the new Tourism Minister.
Pawan Kumar Bansal continues as Parliamentary Affairs and has been given additional charge of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences
Dinsha Patel is the new Mining Minister. He gets the portfolio held by Bijoy Krishna Handique, who has been left with Ministry DoNER.
The new Minister of State are E Ahamed, External Affairs, Harish Rawat (Agriculture and Food Processing Industries), V Narayanasamy (Parliamentary Affairs and Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Prime Minister�s Office), Gurudas Kamat (Home Affairs), A Sai Prathap (Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises), Bharatsinh Solanki (Railways), Jitin Prasada (Road Transport and Highways), Mahadev S Khandela (Tribal Affairs), R.P.N. Singh (Petroleum and Natural Gas and Corporate Affairs), Tusharbhai Chaudhary (Road Transport and Highways), Arun Yadav : (Agriculture and Food Processing Industries), Pratik Prakashbapu Patil (Coal) and Vincent Pala (Water Resources and Minority Affairs).