Centre rejigs key panels, Rajnath finds place in 4 more

PM Narendra Modi with Union Ministers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and others during the first cabinet meeting. Photo - PTI.

New Delhi: The government's decision on Thursday night to induct Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in most Cabinet committees after it initially kept him out of all but two of them has rebalanced the composition of key panels.

While an official statement in the morning had Singh's name in only two Cabinet committees -- economic affairs and security -- the government effected a change at night, bringing him in four more panels; those on political affairs, parliamentary affairs, investment and growth, and empowerment and skill development.

The change came amid reports that the presence of Amit Shah, who was made home minister in the second Narendra Modi dispensation after Singh held the charge in the first between 2014-19, in all eight committees had highlighted his position as the second most powerful person in the new government.

Official sources said Singh will now head the Cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs, of which Modi is not a member, while Shah is.

Only two committees in which Singh's name does not figure are on the appointment, which has traditionally had only prime minister and home minister as members, and on accommodation, a relatively low-profile panel.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's name figured in all but one of the committees.

The government has reconstituted six committees to reflect the changes in the new dispensation and formed two new Cabinet panels to deal with issues like investment, growth, employment and skill development, amid concerns over an economic slowdown.

Cabinet ministers representing BJP's allies, including Ram Vilas Paswan, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Arvind Sawant, are members of a few committees, like in the first Modi government.

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