Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet is all set for major revamp as forty-three new ministers will be sworn-in this evening.
This comes as PM tries to revamp his administration that has been heavily criticised over the handling of the coronavirus crisis, soaring prices and resentment from several sections.
The names in the cabinet reshuffle include several new entrants as well as existing ministers who will be reassigned, NDTV reported.
Among the top ministers who were asked resign was Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, paying the political price for the government’s struggles to cope with a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections.
In all, at least 12 ministers have resigned including prominent ones like Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and junior Environment Minister Babul Supriyo.
The “big four” ministers for finance, foreign affairs, home and defence, however, are unlikely to be changed.
Before announcing his first cabinet reshuffle since winning a second term in 2019, PM Modi consulted leaders of his BJP, a government official said.
Government sources said the Prime Minister had been aiming to include younger members of his party to be ministers and also give greater representation to women and backward classes – a crucial consideration ahead of important state elections starting with Uttar Pradesh early next year.
There are plans for a ceremony to swear in new ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan at 6 pm. Only a small number of people will be attending the ceremony due to the coronavirus risk.
PM Modi’s government has faced its most stinging criticism in years as the infections and deaths surged in April and May, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums.
Images of bodies of presumed COVID-19 victims washed up on the banks of the Ganges river fuelled outrage over a failure to do more to protect vulnerable communities.