Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the first meeting of his new Cabinet, attended by the newly-inducted ministers, at the prime minister's 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence, in New Delhi, Monday, June 10, 2024.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the first meeting of his new Cabinet, attended by the newly-inducted ministers, at the prime minister's 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence, in New Delhi, Monday, June 10, 2024.

Amit Shah retains home ministry, Rajnath Singh defence; Shivraj, Khattar get key ministries

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's top four ministers -- Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar -- have retained their respective home, defence, finance and external affairs portfolios.

New Delhi | Signalling continuity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday retained Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar in charge of the four high-profile ministries - Home, Defence, Finance and External Affairs - respectively in his new government.

The four ministers in charge of these portfolios make up the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security headed by the prime minister.

Among new entrants to the Union Cabinet, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has got Agriculture and Rural Development Ministries, while BJP president J P Nadda has returned to the Health Ministry, a portfolio he had held in the Modi government's first term before he took charge of the ruling BJP first as working president in 2019 and then as the full-fledged president in 2020.

Credited with boosting the highway network across the country, Nitin Gadkari has retained the charge of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry. Former Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has been allocated Housing and Urban Affairs, and Power Ministries.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, a rising star in the government who was in charge of crucial Railways, and Electronics and Information Technology ministries, has not only retained these portfolios but has also been given the important Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Dharmendra Pradhan and Piyush Goyal will also continue to be in charge of the Education, and Commerce and Industry ministries respectively. Hardeep Singh Puri has retained the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry but has shed the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.

President Droupadi Murmu directed the allocation of portfolios to 72 members of the Union Council of Ministers, including the prime minister, as advised by Modi, according to an official statement.

The BJP has retained most of the strategic ministries driving the government's signature programmes while giving up on a few for allies, especially the TDP and JD(U) which have got Civil Aviation, and Panchayati Raj, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying respectively.

Kiren Rijiju has been moved from Earth Sciences to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, while Arjun Ram Meghwal will continue as Law Minister and Sarbananda Sonowal has retained the Shipping portfolio. Bhupender Yadav has retained the Environment Ministry.

Among the five members of the BJP's allies in the Union Cabinet, JD(Secular)'s H D Kumaraswamy has got Heavy Industries, and Steel ministries, Jitan Ram Manjhi (HAM-Secular) has Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry, and Lalan Singh (Janata Dal-United) Panchayati Raj, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Ministries.

TDP's K Rammohan Naidu has got the Civil Aviation Ministry and LJP (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan has been allocated the Food Processing Industries Ministry.

BJP leader C R Patil has got the Jal Shakti Ministry, while another party leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who held the portfolio in the government's previous term, will be the Culture and Tourism Minister.

Amit Shah has also retained the Cooperation Ministry, while Sitharaman will continue to handle the Corporate Affairs.

Virendra Kumar has retained the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, while Jual Oram is the new Tribal Affairs Minister.

Pralhad Joshi, who earlier held Coal and Mines, and Parliamentary Affairs ministry, has been made in charge of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and New and Renewable Energy Ministries. G Kishan Reddy has been handed over the Coal and Mines Ministry.

Giriraj Singh has been shifted from the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ministries to Textiles. Jyotiraditya Scindia, former aviation minister, is now in charge of Communications, and Development of North Eastern Region Ministries.

Annapurna Devi is the new Women and Child Development Minister.

Among Ministers of State with Independent Charge, BJP ally and RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary has been allocated Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry and Shiv Sena leader Jadhav Prataprao Ganpatrao will handle Ayush Ministry.

Earlier, Modi held the first Cabinet meeting after his government was sworn in on Sunday and told his ministerial colleagues that most of them will continue to handle their existing responsibilities.

The allocation of portfolios underlined the prime minister's faith in his colleagues, especially those handling the frontline ministries which shaped and drove the government's policies and programmes.

Nadda returns as Health Minister in Modi Cabinet

New Delhi | After leading the BJP as its national president for more than four years, J P Nadda was on Monday allocated the portfolio of Union Health Ministry and Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, a day after he took oath as a cabinet minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government.

In the Modi 2.0, both the ministries were led by Mansukh Mandaviya.

Nadda had held the same portfolio in the Modi government's first term before he took over as the BJP's working president in 2019 and became the full-fledged party president in January 2020 after Amit Shah was appointed as the Union home minister.

Nadda's term as the BJP president had ended in January. He was given a six-month extension to oversee the Lok Sabha 2024 elections. His term ends in June.

The 63-year old is the sole representative from Himachal Pradesh in the present government.

He served as the Union health minister in Modi's first term from November 9, 2014 to May 30, 2019.

Nadda, who holds a degree in law, started his political journey with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students' wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He became the president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the BJP's youth wing, in 1991.

He held various key positions in the BJP, headed its election campaign in a host of states -- from Bihar to Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Punjab. He also served as a minister in BJP's governments in his home state of Himachal Pradesh.

Nadda was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2012 and made a member of the BJP's parliamentary board in 2014 when Amit Shah took over as the party president.

After the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Nadda was made the BJP's working president. He was later elevated to the position of BJP president in January 2020 after Shah, the then BJP chief, was appointed as the Union home minister.

Nadda took over as the BJP chief at a time when the party was witnessing vigorous challenges from a united opposition in the assembly elections in several states amid signs that it needed to rework its electoral strategy.

Despite its overwhelming win in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP suffered several defeats in the assembly polls since 2018, except in Haryana where it formed a government in an alliance with the Jannayak Janta Party.

The BJP won new allies and strung up a series of impressive assembly wins on Nadda's watch. During his term as the BJP chief, the party consolidated its strongholds and expanded its footprints despite some occasional setbacks.

With his term coming to an end in June, the low-key leader from Himachal Pradesh would have liked to demit office on the high of having achieved yet another impressive Lok Sabha polls win but the BJP's victory in the just-concluded general elections came with reduced numbers. The party fell short of a majority on its own as it won just 240 seats.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 293 seats, setting the course for a third consecutive term as prime minister for Modi despite the opposition's resurgence.

Nadda is considered within the party an epitome of political correctness, with his manners unfailingly polite in public and his attacks on rivals never triggering any unseemly controversy.

He enjoys warm relations with Modi, who was for a long time in charge of the party's affairs in Himachal Pradesh.

Dharmendra Pradhan to continue as education minister, Jayant Chaudhary new MoS

New Delhi | Dharmendra Pradhan will continue to be the education minister in the new Narendra Modi government while Jayant Chaudhary will be the minister of state for education, the President Secretariat announced on Monday.

Chaudhary has also been deputed as the MoS (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Pradhan, who was inducted in the Union Cabinet for the third time on Sunday, has returned to the Lok Sabha after 15 years, after he won from Sambalpur in Odisha, defeating the Biju Janata Dal's Pranab Prakash Das by a substantial margin of over 1.19 lakh votes.

He was tasked with the implementation of the ambitious new National Education Policy (NEP) in his previous tenure as the education and skill development minister.

Pradhan, a prominent face of the BJP in Odisha, was also being seen as a probable choice for the state's first BJP chief minister after the party secured 78 seats in the assembly polls, defeating the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD.

Popularly known as the "Ujjwala" man, Pradhan is credited with being the longest-serving Union minister for petroleum and natural gas.

In 2012, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar. When Narendra Modi swept to power in the 2014 general election, Pradhan was made the Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas with independent charge.

In a cabinet reshuffle in 2017, he was elevated to the cabinet rank for the same ministry, with an additional charge of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. He again was made a cabinet minister in the second Modi government.

In 2021, Pradhan was made the Union minister for education and skill development and entrepreneurship.

Jayant Chaudhary, the 45-year-old national chairman of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), is the grandson of Chaudhary Charan Singh -- India's fifth prime minister -- and the son of former Union minister Chaudhary Ajit Singh.

Chaudhary, previously associated with Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, joined the NDA ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections after the BJP posthumously honoured his grandfather with the Bharat Ratna in February this year.

Under his leadership, the RLD won two seats in western Uttar Pradesh -- Baghpat and Bijnor -- with margins of over 4,88,000 and 37,500 votes.

In 2022, Chaudhary's RLD contested the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in alliance with the Samajwadi Party against the BJP. The RLD won eight seats and later, bagged another in a bypoll. Currently, it has nine MLAs in the Assembly.

Chaudhary was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh with SP's help. He is also credited with having increased the party's tally in the Assembly.

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy becomes steel minister in Modi 3.0

New Delhi | JD(S) leader and son of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda H D Kumaraswamy has been allotted the portfolio of Union Minister for Steel in the Modi 3.0 government.

Kumaraswamy will succeed Jyotiraditya M Scindia, who has been allocated the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region in the new government.

He takes charge of the ministry at a time when the domestic industry is facing the crucial issue of rising steel imports from countries like China, and surging raw material prices.

The JD(S) leader has also been given the charge of Minister of Heavy Industries.

Two-time chief minister of Karnataka and five-time JD(S) MLA contested from Mandya Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka and won by 2,84,620 votes, defeating Venkataramane Gowda (Star Chandru) of the Congress in the 18th general elections.

He secured 851881 votes, while Venkataramane Gowda got 5,67,261 votes.

Son of JD(S) patriarch and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy is the the state president of JD(S). He has managed to secure a cabinet berth by allying with the BJP, at a time when his party was fighting the "battle for survival".

The 64-year-old Vokkaliga leader had desired to become agriculture minister.

By winning the Mandya Lok Sabha seat, the former CM has not only managed to regain the JD(S)'s lost bastion, but also demonstrated that the party is still a force to be reckoned with in Karnataka, by allying with the BJP.

Kumaraswamy was elected to the assembly for the first time in 2004, when the JD(S) joined the coalition government led by Congress's N Dharam Singh after the polls threw up a hung house.

In 2006, he rebelled and walked out of the coalition with 42 MLAs, reportedly against the wish of his father, citing a threat to the party, and formed the government with the BJP, becoming the chief minister during his very first term as MLA.

Meanwhile, Bhupathi Raju Srinivasa Varma, who won from the Narasapuram seat in Andhra Pradesh, has been allocated the portfolio of Minister of State for Steel and Heavy Industries.

Manohar Lal Khattar appointed Union Power Minister in the new government

New Delhi | RSS pracharak and Haryana's former chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has been appointed as power minister in the newly-formed Union Cabinet of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, an official statement said on Monday.

Khattar will replace R K Singh who lost elections from Arrah in Bihar.

Shripad Yesso Naik, who won the Lok Sabha election from North Goa, has been appointed as the Minister of State for Ministries of Power and New & Renewable Energy.

As power minister Khattar will have to deal with various issues including high power demand and coal supply issues faced by power producers across the country.

The power demand has already touched an all-time high of 250 GW in May this year. Earlier, the power ministry had projected that peak power demand was estimated to touch 260 GW during this summer season.

Many power plants have been maintaining coal stock at lower than normative levels.

Khattar would have to work in close coordination with the ministries of coal as well as railways to ensure adequate supply of dry fuel at all power stations across the country.

The coal-based thermal power still serves the base load to the national grid, despite having over 190 GW of renewable energy including large hydro (25 MW or above each plant).

Khattar defeated Divyanshu Budhiraja of Indian National Congress in Karnal constituency during the latest general election.

In 2014, Khattar became the MLA for the first time and took over as Chief Minister of Haryana. In March 2024, he was replaced by his confidante Nayab Singh Saini.

According to some accounts, Khattar is considered close to Prime Minister Modi with whom he worked in the BJP during 1990s.

Khattar, a bachelor, worked for almost 40 years as an RSS pracharak.

In 1996, Khattar started working with Modi, who was then the BJP in-charge of Haryana.

Coming from an agricultural background, his family arrived in Haryana from Pakistan post-partition. His family settled at Nindana, a village in Haryana's Rohtak district. He was born in Nindana in 1954.

In 2014, when the BJP formed the government in Haryana on its own for the first time, Khattar became the state's first non-Jat chief minister in nearly two decades, fracturing Jats' longstanding domination in the state's politics.

During his first stint as chief minister, Khattar came under criticism over his handling of the February 2016 Jat quota stir, which saw large-scale violence and arson in several parts of the state.

The stir was followed by a flurry of violent incidents which claimed many lives in 2017, when Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted by a court in Panchkula in a rape case.

For his second stint as CM, which lasted four-and-a-half years, the BJP had to take support of JJP after it fell short of majority in 2019 assembly polls.

Khattar's second stint also saw his government face criticism over farmers' stir against now-repealed farm laws.

During his two stints as chief minister, Khattar was credited with the decision to introduce pre-qualification conditions for the candidates contesting panchayat elections and ensuring transparent recruitment.

He also introduced the 'Parivar Pehchan Patra' scheme, under which the Haryana government issues every family a unique family identity.

Khattar was also credited for maintaining cordial relations with ally Jannayak Janta Party. However, JJP's tie-up with BJP ended after Khattar was removed from Haryana CM's post.

On the party's move to bring in Nayab Saini as CM in March, Khattar had said that the move was not sudden and that it was he who had suggested Saini's name to Modi more than a year ago.

"The reality is when I had served as the chief minister for eight to eight-and-a-half years, I myself told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that in any person's life if he hands over the baton to anyone on his own will, there cannot be a matter of greater happiness. I had said this to him about myself more than a year ago," Khattar had said.

Sworn in into the fresh Union Cabinet on Sunday, the BJP veteran now is set to begin his new innings as a parliamentarian and a Union Minister.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan makes national debut as Union Agri & Rural Development Minister

New Delhi | In a significant political move, senior BJP leader and four-time former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan has made his national debut as the Union Agriculture and Rural Development Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new Cabinet.

The 65-year-old leader, popularly known as "mama" (maternal uncle) and "paon-paon wale bhaiya" (foot soldier), took oath as part of the Prime Minister's Council of Ministers on Sunday, marking a significant milestone in his over three-decade-long political career.

With his extensive experience in governance and deep connect with the rural populace, Chouhan's appointment as the Union Agriculture Minister is expected to bring fresh impetus to the government's efforts in addressing the challenges faced by the agriculture sector and the farming community.

Chouhan, who assiduously cultivated a 'son of the soil' image and identified himself with the socio-economic concerns of farmers, villagers, women, and children in Madhya Pradesh, proved his detractors wrong after being denied the chief minister's post for the fifth time last year.

Defying claims of being sidelined, the BJP leader won the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat for an impressive sixth time, securing a record margin of 8.21 lakh votes.

His induction into the Union Cabinet was widely anticipated after Prime Minister Modi lauded him at a rally in Madhya Pradesh before the Lok Sabha polls, acknowledging his contributions and popularity.

Born on March 5, 1959, in a farming family in Jait village, Sehore district, Chouhan's political journey began with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) when he was just 13 years old. He was first elected to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly from Budhni constituency in 1990 and later became a Member of Parliament from Vidisha in 1991.

He was re-elected from the same constituency in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2004, winning his fifth Lok Sabha election with an impressive margin of over 2,60,000 votes.

Mansukh Mandaviya appointed new sports minister

New Delhi | Mansukh Mandaviya, who served as the union health minister at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, was on Monday appointed as India's new sports minister, replacing Anurag Thakur in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet.

The 52-year-old Mandaviya won the Porbandar Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat by defeating his nearest Congress rival Lalit Vasoya by a margin of 3.83 lakh votes.

Aside for the ministry youth affairs and sports, Mandaviya was also given charge of the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers in new cabinet unveiled on Monday.

Mandaviya was entrusted with the health portfolio in the middle of 2021 when the country was battling the COVID-19 crisis. At that time, he had replaced Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was dropped from the Council of Ministers as part of a reshuffle.

Mandaviya's ministry was then tasked with ramping up the supply of oxygen and medicines and overseeing the vaccination programme during the severe second wave of COVID-19. In the newly sworn in government, the health ministry has been given to J P Nadda.

The just-concluded polls were Mandaviya's first Lok Sabha election. He was born in Bhavnagar on June 1, 1972.

Before being nominated as a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, he had won as an MLA from Palitana assembly seat of Bhavnagar district in 2002.

The outgoing Thakur was among the 37 ministers dropped from the third successive Modi government. Thakur held the post since July 7, 2021 serving as the sports minister for nearly three years.

India achieved its best-ever performance at the Olympics during his tenure, winning a record seven medals in the Tokyo Games barely a few weeks after he took over the ministry from Kiren Rijiju following a reshuffle.

He was also at the helm of affairs when the government decided to make medal winners in all Khelo India competitions eligible for government jobs after a revision in criteria.

When this was announced in March, Thakur said the move was in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "vision of a robust sports ecosystem, nurturing talent at grassroots level and turning sports into a lucrative and viable career option."

During Thakur's tenure as the sports minister, India also started making a pitch to launch an ambitious bid to host the 2036 Olympic Games for the first time ever.

Bullish about India securing the hosting rights, Thakur has always maintained that a part of the credit for the country's improving sporting performances goes to the government's flagship Khelo India initiative, which was launched in 2017 and gets a lion's share of budgetary allocation.

Thakur, who began his political career in 2008 and has represented the Hamirpur constituency in Himachal Pradesh five times, had also reckoned the country will be among the top-5 medal winning nations in the world.

Nitin Gadkari retains road transport ministry

New Delhi | Senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, popularly referred to as the 'Highway Man of India', has been appointed the Road Transport and Highways Minister for the third consecutive term in the newly formed Union Cabinet of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government, an official statement said on Friday.

The 67-year-old leader from Nagpur in Maharashtra has been the longest serving road transport & highways minister.

Gadkari is credited with the construction of more than 54,858 km of national highways in the country in the last 10 years.

Under his leadership, the road ministry aims to complete the construction of 1,386-km Delhi-Mumbai Express by December this year.

The former BJP president -- closely associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh -- has won three consecutive times from the Nagpur seat, which houses the RSS headquarters.

On Sunday, he was inducted into the NDA government as a cabinet minister.

Gadkari's foray into national politics happened in 2009 when he was appointed the BJP president.

Since 2014, when Gadkari made his debut in the Lok Sabha polls from Nagpur and became a minister at the Centre, he has handled several portfolios like the micro, small and medium enterprises, shipping, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, rural development and panchayati raj.

He served as a member of the Maharashtra legislative council from the Nagpur Graduates' constituency from 1989 to 2014.

He became a state minister for the first time in 1995 and held charge of the Public Works Department (PWD).

During the period, he worked for getting all-weather roads constructed in the state and containing the problem of malnutrition in the Melghat area of Vidarbha region.

The Mumbai-Pune Expressway and 54 flyovers in the Maharashtra capital were constructed during his tenure as a state minister.

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link was also conceived during Gadkari's tenure as the PWD minister.

The greenfield expressway projects under the Bharatmala Pariyojana phase 1 in the country are under various phases of completion.

C R Patil is new Jal Shakti Minister

New Delhi | Chandrakant Raghunath Patil, president of the BJP Gujarat state unit, has been appointed as the new Jal Shakti Minister in the recently formed Cabinet.

The immediate task ahead for Patil is to fulfill the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide tap water to every rural household in the country by the end of this year.

Additionally, he will oversee the Namami Gange project, another significant initiative under the ministry.

Patil would be replacing Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Alongside Patil, V. Somanna and Raj Bhushan Choudhary have been appointed as Ministers of State in the Ministry of Jal Shakti. Somanna also takes on the role of Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways, according to an official statement.

Patil, 69, began his career in 1975 as a constable in the Gujarat Police, a position he held until 1984.

After leaving the police force, Patil entered the media industry, founding Navgujarat Times, a Gujarati daily newspaper, in 1991.

Patil's political journey started in 1989 when he joined the BJP. He initially served as the Surat city treasurer and later as the vice president of the Surat City BJP.

His organisational skills led to his appointment as the chairman of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) in 1998 by then Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Patil won the newly formed Navsari constituency seat, selected by then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He retained this seat in the 2014 and 2019 elections, securing historic wins and substantial margins.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Patil achieved a remarkable victory with 1,031,065 votes, defeating his closest rival by 773,551 votes.

He has significantly contributed to the BJP's organisational strength and served on various influential committees, including the Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs and the General Purposes Committee in the Lok Sabha.

BJP leader V. Somanna, 73, who previously contested against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the assembly polls, is now part of the new union council of ministers led by Prime Minister Modi as minister of state in the ministry.

Despite earlier speculation about his possible shift to the Congress, Somanna remained with the BJP and secured a victory in the Tumkur Lok Sabha segment, defeating Congress' S P Muddahanumegowda by a margin of 175,594 votes.

The Lingayat leader began his political career as a member of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) from 1983 to 1987. Over the years, he has been associated with all three major political parties in the state: Janata Dal (erstwhile), Congress and BJP.

Another MoS in the ministry is Raj Bhushan Nishad, a 46-year-old, lost the 2019 polls from Muzaffarpur as a nominee of the Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP), contested on a BJP ticket this time and defeated Congress candidate Ajay Nishad by more than 2.3 lakh votes.

A doctor by profession, Nishad switched to the BJP after the 2019 polls and was appointed the state BJP vice-president as the party eyed Mallah and other allied castes’ votes.

Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh retains PMO in Modi govt 3.0

New Delhi | Senior BJP leader Jitendra Singh on Monday retained the all-powerful Prime Minister's Office (PMO) as the Union minister of state for the third time in a row.

He is also back in the Ministry of Earth Sciences as Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), a portfolio held by him for some time in the last government. The ministry's charge was assigned to Kiren Rijiju in May last year.

President Droupadi Murmu on Monday allocated portfolios to newly inducted ministers in the Narendra Modi-led government.

Singh will be Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, MoS in PMO as well as in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Space, according to a communique issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in charge of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, it said.

Singh served as the MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Space until the dissolution of the 17th Lok Sabha recently. The doctor-turned-politician was also the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Born in Jammu, 67-year-old Singh was inducted as the MoS in the PMO in 2014 as a first-time Lok Sabha member from the Udhampur constituency in Jammu and Kashmir. He was part of the Union Council of Ministers in Modi's first and second term as prime minister.

He won the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat for the third time, defeating Congress candidate Choudhary Lal Singh by a margin of 1.24 lakh votes.

Jitendra Singh wears many hats — a medical practitioner, author, professor and newspaper columnist. He has a flair for writing and has authored at least six books and chapters in about a dozen textbooks for postgraduate courses in medicine.

Piyush Goyal retains commerce and industry portfolio

New Delhi | Piyush Goyal will take charge as the Commerce and Industry Minister, for the second time, in the newly-formed Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official statement said on Monday.

Goyal, who won hist first Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North constituency by a margin of over 3.5 lakh votes, took oath as the Cabinet Minister on June 9.

Goyal, 59, who had been a Rajya Sabha member since 2010, eloquently articulated the government's position on different occasions during debates on various issues in the Upper House of Parliament.

He is the son of BJP loyalists Ved Prakash Goyal and Chandrakanta Goyal. His father was the minister of shipping in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government and a BJP national treasurer, and his mother was a three-term MLA from Matunga in Mumbai.

Piyush Goyal was elevated to the Cabinet rank in September 2017.

He has held the post of BJP's national treasurer and also headed the party's communications campaign in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The senior politician, who became leader of the house in Rajya Sabha in 2021, has handled multiple ministries like finance, railways, coal, corporate affairs, commerce, industry and textiles, consumer affairs, food and public distribution.

A chartered accountant by profession, Goyal is known for taking strong stand to protect interests of farmers and fisherman in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meetings.

Goyal will take charge at a time when India's merchandise exports declined by 3.1 per cent to USD 437 billion and 3.5 per cent contraction was recorded in the foreign direct investments (FDI) into India in 2023-24 due to global economic uncertainties and slowdown in demand.

FDI declined to USD 44.42 billion in the last fiscal from USD 46 billion in 2022-23.

Economic think tank GTRI has suggested that simplification of e-commerce rules, disbursement of duty refund scheme in cash, and setting up of a national trade network, and publishing a report on the effectiveness of India's trade pacts should be part of the new government's 100-day agenda.

The Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) has also suggested the use of blockchain technology for tracing mechanisms for major fruits and vegetable products, allowing special economic zones to sell goods in the domestic market on duty foregone basis, and reducing reliance on China for important imports such as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, solar cells, EV batteries, and mobile phone components.

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) chairman Sudhir Sekhri said that the convergence of positive domestic outlook with a favourable political regime will provide a conducive ecosystem for business in India in the years to come.

"The Modi-overnment's third term clearly sets the stage for bold reforms that industry has been waiting for," he said.

Sharing similar views, ex-president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) A Sakthivel said that the stable government will help India achieve USD 2 trillion exports before 2030.

Welcoming announcement of Goyal as commerce minister, FIEO President Ashwini Kumar said under the minister's tenure, the country's exports would register healthy growth rates in the months to come.

Bhupender Yadav returns as environment minister

New Delhi | Bhupender Yadav, who defended India's dependence on coal at international climate talks, retained his portfolio as environment minister in the third Narendra Modi government.

Kirtivardhan Singh, the BJP MP from Gonda and a first-time minister in the Modi government, has been appointed as Union minister of state for environment.

A key organisational member of the BJP, Yadav took over as environment minister from Prakash Javadekar in the second Modi government in July 2021.

He also served as the Union labour and employment minister in the previous government. This portfolio has now been allotted to Mansukh Mandaviya.

Under Yadav's leadership, India's climate actions were rated the fourth strongest in an annual performance index released by Germanwatch in 2023, up one place from the previous year.

His achievements also include the reintroduction of cheetahs in India, a ban on identified single-use plastic items, and an increase in Ramsar sites -- wetlands of international importance -- in India.

The country made crucial amendments to forest, wildlife and environmental laws during his previous term.

Yadav's role as environment minister will be crucial with the country proposing to host the international climate talks (COP33) in 2028.

If the proposal is accepted, it would be the next major global conference in India after the G20 Summit last year. India hosted COP8 in New Delhi in 2002.

A seasoned politician and non-controversial figure, Yadav, 54, returns as a Union minister after securing his first Lok Sabha election victory. He defeated Lalit Yadav of the Congress in Rajasthan's Alwar by 48,282 votes.

He contested his first general election after serving as a party office-bearer for over two decades.

From Rajasthan, Yadav has previously been a Rajya Sabha member representing the state since 2012, with a reelection in April 2018.

His journey into politics began as a student union leader, and he served as the general secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Adhivakta Parishad from 2000 to 2009.

Before his political career, Yadav worked as an advocate in the Supreme Court and served as government counsel for significant commissions, including the Liberhan Commission on the Babri Masjid demolition.

He has authored several books on Indian politics and the environment, reflecting his multifaceted personality and interests in poetry, literature, philosophy, yog sadhna and meditation.

Yadav's strategic acumen has been evident in his various leadership roles within the BJP, including national secretary and national general secretary.

He was instrumental in the BJP's victories in the 2023 assembly elections, particularly in his home state of Rajasthan. As the election in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, he led efforts to ensure the BJP retained power in the key Hindi-heartland state.

Pralhad Joshi becomes Union New & Renewable Energy Minister

New Delhi | A die-hard RSS loyalist and long-time BJP worker Pralhad Joshi has been appointed New & Renewable Energy Minister, who replaces RK Singh as he lost the election from the Arrah constituency.

Joshi is a five-time member of Parliament from the saffron party's bastion of Dharwad in Karnataka.

His main challenge will be to push the National Green Hydrogen Mission in the country. The government had also provided Rs 19,744 crore for setting a manufacturing capacity of electrolysers used for producing green hydrogen. The mission also provides incentives to produce green hydrogen and ammonia.

Besides, Joshi will have to ensure 50 GW capacity addition of renewable energy every year to achieve the ultimate target of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-based power generation by 2030.

India has set a huge trajectory of renewables to achieve the ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2070.

Joshi is said to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader Amit Shah. He held portfolios of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs in the previous Cabinet or Modi 2.0.

As Parliamentary Affairs Minister, he played a key role in the functioning of both the Houses and in the passing of many crucial bills of national importance during the 17th Lok Sabha.

He spearheaded a series of initiatives and policy interventions, which led to "unlocking the true potential" of the Coal & Mining sector towards self-reliance, a senior BJP leader has said.

Joshi, who had also served as BJP Karnataka president, came to the limelight as 'Rastradwaja Horata Samiti Sanchalak', when the party organised a movement to hoist the tricolour at Idgah Maidan in Hubballi that had created a huge law and order situation, and also "Save Kashmir Movement" in the early 1990s.

He won the Dharwad Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 97,324 votes, defeating Congress' Vinod Assoti in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.

An astute political strategist, Joshi had also served as the party's election observer or election in-charge of many states like Uttarakhand, Telangana and Rajasthan.

In his long political career spanning decades, this will be the second time that Joshi will be serving as a minister.

In the 16th Lok Sabha, Joshi served as the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas and also as a member of various committees, including the Lok Sabha, Business Advisory Committee, and Committee on Ethics.

Judges' appointment, vacancies, pendency key challenges before Law Minister Meghwal

New Delhi | Addressing the issues of vacancies in the higher judiciary and pending cases, and finalising the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) are the key challenges before Arjun Ram Meghwal who was allocated the law portfolio on Monday.

The MoP is a set of documents which guide the appointment, elevation and transfer of high court and Supreme Court judges.

Meghwal was appointed as minister of state for law and justice with independent charge in May last year when he replaced Kiren Rijiju.

After the Modi 3.0 government was sworn in on Sunday, Meghwal was appointed as a minister of state with independent charge.

On Monday, he was allocated the law portfolio, an area he is already aware of.

According to data shared by the government with Parliament, over five crore cases are pending across courts -- the lower courts, the 25 high courts and the Supreme Court.

There are various reasons for the rising pendency but one of key reasons is vacancies in the judiciary.

As on June 1, while there are two vacancies in the top court, posts of 345 judges are vacant in the high courts.

While the sanctioned strength of the apex court is 34, the 25 high courts have a combined sanctioned strength of 1,114.

Another key issue will have to handle is the finalisation of the MoP.

Seeking to replace the Collegium system of appointments of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts with a more transparent appointment mechanism, the government had brought into operation the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, 2014 and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 effective April 13, 2015. The new law was passed by Parliament with near unanimity.

However, both the Acts were challenged in the Supreme Court which in October, 2015 declared the Acts as unconstitutional and void.

The Collegium system as existing prior to the enforcement of the two Acts was declared to be operative.

The top court issued an order on supplementing the MoP saying that the government may finalise the document supplementing it in consultation with the chief justice of India.

It was laid down that the chief justice of India will take a decision based on the unanimous view of the Collegium comprising four senior-most judges.

Despite a series of back and forth between the government and the top court, the MoP's finalisation remains pending.

Annapurna Devi gets women and child development ministry in Modi govt 3.0

New Delhi | BJP leader from Jharkhand Annapurna Devi has been appointed as the new Women and Child Development Minister as part of the NDA government's third term.

Savitri Thakur is the new minister of state in the Ministry of Women and Child Development, according to an official statement.

With challenges such as raising the legal age of marriage for women, combating malnutrition among women and children, and addressing women's safety issues, the new ministers face a formidable agenda.

Devi, 55, succeeds Smriti Irani in this role.

Her political journey began with her election to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in a 1998 by-election. She later served as minister of state for Mines and Geology in the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government of undivided Bihar.

From 2005 to 2014, Devi was a member of the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly and became a cabinet minister in Jharkhand in 2012, overseeing the Ministry of Irrigation, Women & Child Welfare, and Registration.

She joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, contesting from Koderma on the party's ticket. She defeated Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) by a substantial margin of 4.55 lakh votes.

In her latest victory, she retained the Koderma seat by defeating CPI(ML)L's Vinod Kumar Singh by a margin of 3.77 lakh votes.

Devi's influence extends beyond the mica belt of Koderma, impacting the entire state and establishing her as a key figure in the political landscape.

In 2021, Devi, once a close aide of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, was inducted into the Union government as the minister of state for Education on July 7.

Now, she has secured a seat in the Modi 3.0 government, a move seen as the BJP's strategic effort to consolidate a sizable OBC vote bank ahead of the crucial Assembly elections later this year.

Thakur (46) is the MoS in the WCD ministry. She won from Dhar (Scheduled Tribe reserved) constituency in Madhya Pradesh in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls and was sworn in on Sunday as a minister of state (MoS) in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.

Manohar Lal Khattar new Housing and Urban Affairs Minister

New Delhi | Manohar Lal Khattar has been appointed the Housing and Urban Affairs Minister in the new Union Cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.

The 70-year-old former Haryana chief minister will replace Hardeep Singh Puri who has retained the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry in the new government.

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry is mandated to execute various projects including Modi government's flagship PM Awas Yojna, Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and the ambitious Central Vista redevelopment plan.

The redevelopment of the Central Vista, the nation’s power corridor, envisages a new Parliament building, a common central secretariat, revamping of the three-km Rajpath from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate, new office and residence of the prime minister, and a new vice-president enclave.

Inducted into the Union Cabinet on Sunday, the BJP veteran now is set to begin his new innings as a parliamentarian and a Union Minister.

Khattar joined the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh as a permanent member in 1977 and stayed with it for 17 years before he was made a member of the BJP in 1994.

In 2014, he became the MLA for the first time and was tapped to become the chief minister of Haryana by the BJP. Ten years later, in March 2024, he was replaced by his confidante Nayab Singh Saini.

Contesting his first Lok Sabha polls from Karnal, Khattar defeated Congress's Divyanshu Budhiraja by an impressive margin of over 2.35 lakh votes in this Lok Sabha election.

According to some accounts, Khattar is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who he worked with in the 1990s in the party organisation.

Khattar, a bachelor, worked for almost 40 years as an RSS pracharak.

In 1996, Khattar started working with Modi, who was then the BJP in-charge of Haryana.

Coming from an agricultural background, his family arrived in Haryana from Pakistan post-Partition. His family settled at Nindana, a village in Haryana's Rohtak district. He was born in Nindana in 1954.

In 2014, when the BJP formed the government in Haryana on its own strength for the first time, Khattar became the state's first non-Jat chief minister in nearly two decades, fracturing the Jat community's longstanding domination of the state's politics.

On the party's move to bring in Nayab Saini as Haryana's CM in March this year, Khattar has maintained that the move was not sudden and that he only had suggested Saini's name to Modi more than a year ago.

Thrust will be on reducing dependence on traditional methods of generating energy: Shripad Naik

Panaji | North Goa MP Shripad Naik, who was made Union minister of state for power and renewable energy on Monday, said the thrust would be on reducing dependence on traditional methods of generating energy.

Speaking to PTI from Delhi soon after his portfolio was allotted, Naik expressed happiness at the responsibility given to him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The thrust would be to reduce dependency on traditionally generated power and use of all available natural resources to generate alternate power. This is required for the sake of our environment and future generations. The Union government has already drawn a roadmap for the same, we will have to continue with it," he said.

Naik won from North Goa Lok Sabha seat for the sixth consecutive time. He was Union minister of state for tourism, ports and waterways in the second term of the Modi government.

Ashwini Vaishnaw retrains Railways, MeitY; gets I&B in Modi govt 3.0

New Delhi | Ashwini Vaishnaw, besides retaining his previous portfolios of Railways as well as Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, got a new responsibility as Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the third term of the Modi government.

In the previous Cabinet, the I&B Ministry was with Anurag Thakur, who has been reelected as Member of Parliament from Himachal Pradesh's Hamirpur.

Bureaucrat-turned-politician Vaishnaw first took charge as Railway Minister on July 7, 2021 and has continued it in the new cabinet formed on June 9, 2024.

A former IAS officer of the 1994-batch, Vaishnaw has handled important responsibilities for over 15 years and was particularly known for his contribution to the public-private partnership (PPP) framework in infrastructure.

Vaishnaw emerged one of the most successful Railway ministers for several initiatives, one of them being the introduction of 98 semi-high speed Vande Bharat trains.

The first pair of Vande Bharat trains was launched in February 2019 and today, according to the Railway Ministry, 102 trains are running across the country with an overall occupancy of 105.7 per cent.

According to the Ministry, the popularity of Vande Bharat trains can be gauged from the fact that till March 31, 2024, more than 2.15 crore people have travelled by it.

A total of 284 districts across the country have been connected to the Vande Bharat Express.

Under Vaishnaw, Railway achieved another milestone of laying 3,901 km of tracks in 2022-23, making it the highest ever in its history.

He is the fourth Railway Minister since Modi government came to power in May 2014. Before him, D V Sadananda Gowda, Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal held this portfolio.

Gowda, the first Railway Minister when Modi became the prime minister, served for 166 days in 2014 from May 27 to November 9.

After Gowda, Prabhu took charge of the ministry along with other cabinet positions till September 3, 2017, holding the portfolio for almost three years.

Under Modi’s first regime, Goyal was the third Railway Minister from September 3, 2017 to May 30, 2019. He was again entrusted with the responsibility of the ministry on May 31, 2019 during the the Modi government's second time.

Goyal continued till July 7, 2021 and became the longest serving Railway Minister under Modi regime with 3 years and 307 days.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat new Union Culture and Tourism Minister

New Delhi | BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who served as Union Jal Shakti Minister in the previous government, has been named the new Union Culture and Tourism Minister, replacing G Kishan Reddy.

The swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union council of ministers was held on Sunday evening in the grand forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Soon after being named the Union Minister of Culture and Tourism, Shekhawat posted on X in Hindi, "The visionary Prime Minister honourable Shri @narendramodi ji has honoured me by giving me the important responsibility of the Union Ministry of Culture and Tourism. While performing my duties with utmost sincerity, I will make every possible effort to ensure gradual progress in the sector of culture and tourism in building a developed India. Many, many greetings and gratitude to my guide, honourable Modi ji!"

Shekhawat took oath as one of the 30 cabinet ministers. Five ministers of state with independent charge and 30 ministers of state were also sworn in as the members of the prime minister's council of ministers.

Reddy, who also took oath as a cabinet minister, has been allotted coal and mines portfolios.

Since July 2021, Reddy had served as the Union minister for Culture, Tourism and DoNER (development of Northeast region).

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 293 Lok Sabha seats out of 543 in the 2024 polls, in which any single party did not get a majority.

In the Modi 3.0 government, Shekhawat has been named the Union Culture and Tourism Minister, while Rao Inderjit Singh the Minister of State in the Culture Ministry, and Suresh Gopi the Minister of State in the Tourism Ministry.

Born in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer in 1967, Shekhawat was elected to the 16th and 17th Lok Sabha and again to the 18th Lok Sabha in the recently-held general elections from Jodhpur.

He was made the Union Jal Shakti Minister in May 2019.

Shekhawat on Sunday had thanked the prime minister for including him in his council of ministers for the third consecutive time.

He had earlier told reporters that he will work as part of a team under Modi and fulfil all the promises and live up to the country's expectations and aspirations.

Shekhawat was re-elected to the Lok Sabha for the third consecutive term as he defeated his immediate Congress rival by a margin of over 1.15 lakh votes.

Prime Minister Modi's top four ministers -- Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar -- have retained their respective home, defence, finance and external affairs portfolios, according to an official statement.

Singh, Sitharaman, Jaishankar and Shekhawat are among the ministers who are post-graduates.

According to the Lok Sabha website, Shekhawat holds an M.A. (Philosophy) and M.Phil (Philosophy) from JNV University, Jodhpur.

Shekhawat's predecessor Reddy has cut his teeth in politics as a youth wing leader in the then Janata Party and has remained close to his roots in south India.

As a sitting MP from Secunderabad constituency, Reddy won again in the 2024 general elections. He is also the state chief of Telangana BJP.

Born in 1964, Reddy -- affectionately called 'Kishananna' -- was also the face of the government in several important events held last year under the culture and tourism tracks meets of the G20 under India's year-long presidency of the multinational bloc.

Last August, Reddy told reporters on the sidelines of a G20 event in Varanasi that the NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership will score a hat-trick and return to power in 2024 with more seats.

Several important policies were announced and important decision made with him at the helm of affairs.

G Kishan Reddy gets coal, mines ministries in Modi govt 3.0

New Delhi | G Kishan Reddy has been appointed as the new Coal and Mines Minister in the newly-formed Modi 3.0 government.

Reddy will succeed Pralhad Joshi, who has been appointed as Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and New and Renewable Energy in the new government.

Reddy's biggest challenge will be to ensure an adequate supply of coal to electricity generating plants, which are working overtime to meet peak power demand.

Another area that would need his attention will be increasing private sector participation, expanding coal gasification and production of Coal Bed Methane.

In the mining sector, the lukewarm response from bidders to the first round auction of critical minerals underscores the need for a pragmatic policy approach.

The government had earlier cancelled the auction for 13 of the 20 blocks put on sale in the first tranche of critical minerals as the response was tepid.

Reddy retained the Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency with a margin of over 49,000 votes in the recent Lok Sabha polls, defeating his nearest Congress rival Danam Nagender.

Born to middle-class farmer-parents in Ranga Reddy district of Telangana near Hyderabad, he started his political career as an ordinary worker in 1977. He has held important party positions, including the president of the BJP’s state unit and national president of BJP’s Yuva Morcha (BJYM).

As the Union Minister, the leader has held the portfolios of home, tourism, culture and development of the northeast region.

He is also a three-time MLA.

Satish Chandra Dubey, who is considered a strong Brahmin leader of the BJP in Bihar, has been appointed as the Minister of State in the Coal and Mines Ministry in the new government.

S Jaishankar retains external affairs ministry

New Delhi | Dealing with challenges arising out of China's bullying tactics along the frontier, protecting India's interest in view of the ongoing situation in West Asia and the conflict in Ukraine are expected to be the key priorities of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Jaishankar, 69, was among the senior BJP leaders including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman who retained the ministries they handled in the previous government.

"Deeply honoured to be appointed as the Minister of External Affairs in PM Narendra Modi's Government... Our commitment to Bharat First and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam will facilitate the making of a Vishwabandhu Bharat," the minister posted on X.

He also welcomed newly appointed Ministers of State K V Singh and Pabitra Margherita to the Ministry.

"TeamMEA has worked over the last decade on a people-centric foreign policy," he said on X.

As the external affairs minister since 2019, Jaishankar displayed with confidence his ability to clearly articulate India's positions on a range of complex issues on the global stage.

From blunting Western criticism of New Delhi's procurement of crude oil from Moscow in the wake of the war in Ukraine to crafting a firm policy approach to deal with an assertive China, Jaishankar emerged as one of the leading ministers with an impressive record of performance in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's previous government.

He has also been credited with managing to bring matters of foreign policy to domestic discourse, especially during India's presidency of the G20.

Currently, he is a member of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

Jaishankar served as India's foreign secretary under the first Modi government (2015-18) and the Ambassador to the United States (2013-15), China (2009-2013) and Czech Republic (2000-2004).

He was also India's high commissioner to Singapore (2007-2009). Jaishankar served in other diplomatic assignments in embassies in Moscow, Colombo, Budapest and Tokyo, as well in the Ministry of External Affairs and the President's Secretariat.

Back in telecom ministry, Scindia faces first task of 5G spectrum auction

New Delhi | Returning to the telecom ministry after about one and half decades, Jyotiraditya Scindia as the new telecom minister has his task cut out to complete the 5G spectrum auction scheduled to be held later this month.

Besides the spectrum auction, where over Rs 96,000 crore worth of airwaves will be on the block, Scindia will also have to prioritise issues like satellite broadband services, security clearance for Elon Musk-led Startlink and formulate rules for the new Telecommunications Act.

Scinida will have to set the ball rolling on a 100-day agenda that would outline clear priority areas, key deliverables, roadmaps and targets for the telecom sector.

The big mega event to play out later this month - as early as June 25 - is the spectrum auction, where available spectrum in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz bands will see the participation of telecom biggies Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel.

Scindia, who takes over the baton from Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, inherits a sector with improved financial metrics, lower litigations, and lesser uncertainty following the disposal of several cases in courts.

Scinida’s ministerial journey started as Minister of State for telecom, Post and IT in 2008 with DMK’s A Raja as his senior minister. He was instrumental in driving post office modernisation with the Project Arrow scheme.

As a minister in the Modi 3.0 government, Scindia will have the challenge of reviving state-run telecom firm BSNL and settling the debt issues of MTNL.

Scindia, who was the aviation minister in the previous Modi government, won from Guna in Madhya Pradesh by more than 5.40 lakh votes.

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