Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trusted lieutenant and the new Home Minister Amit Shah’s position as number two in the government stands reinforced with his presence in all eight Cabinet Committees constituted today (Thursday, June 6).
PM Modi is in six of them and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is in two. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is in seven panels and Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal in five.
All powerful and important Cabinet Committees reconstituted by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi are either headed by him or Amit Shah.
Modi set up two new Cabinet Committees — one for economic growth and investment and another for jobs and skills. Both the panels, respectively on Investment and Growth and on Employment and Skill Development, will be headed by the Prime Minister.
The Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth will have Union home minister Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari and railways and commerce minister Piyush Goyal as its members.
The Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development will include, besides Shah, Sitharaman and Goyal, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, minister of skill development MN Pandey, labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar and housing and urban development minister Hardip Puri. Union Minister Smriti Irani is among the special invitees to this panel.
The Cabinet Committee on Appointments has just Modi and Shah.
Rajnath Singh, who was moved from the Home Ministry that he headed in the previous term, is in the Cabinet Committees on Economic Affairs and Security. He is notably missing from the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, which decides on policy; it has Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsh Vardhan, Piyush Goyal, Pralhad Joshi and allies Ram Vilas Paswan, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Arvind Sawant.
Rajnath Singh’s exclusion is significant because the minister who is number two in the government – by convention the person who is sworn in right after the prime minister — usually presides over the cabinet and the political affairs committee in the absence of the Prime Minister. Also, Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister was part of the previous government’s political affairs committee.
Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari will be in the panel for Accommodation.
PM Modi will also head the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which includes, apart from Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, DV Sadananda Gowda, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Dharmendra Pradhan.
Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs includes Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Pralhad Joshi. Ramvilas Paswan is the only ally to have been included in the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.
One of the most important panels, the Cabinet Committee on Security, includes the Prime Minister, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar.