Indian government reshuffles cabinet

17:00, July 12, 2011      

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In a major reshuffle, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday rejigged his cabinet -- axing seven serving ministers, while inducting eight new faces, and elevating three others.

The prime minister, however, kept top four ministers -- Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs -- intact.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh was elevated to cabinet rank with the critical Rural Development Ministry, which was headed so far by Vilas Rao Deshmukh, while Veerappa Moily has been replaced as Law Minister by Salman Khursheed.

Jayanthi Natarajan, former Congress spokesperson, will now handle the high-profile Environment Ministry as a Minister of State with Independent Charge.

The ruling United Progressive Alliance's allies Trinamool Congress' leader Dinesh Trivedi has been elevated to the cabinet rank and given the crucial Railways portfolio that was left vacant by Mamata Banerjee after she became the Chief Minister of the eastern state of West Bengal in May.

Beni Prasad Verma has also been elevated as Cabinet Minister for Steel, a portfolio he earlier held as Minister of State with Independent charge.

Milind Deora, a young MP from Mumbai, has been made Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology. His father, Murli Deora, resigned last week as Minister of Corporate Affairs.

Rajiv Shukla, as well known in the world of cricket as he is in politics, has been Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs.

Among the Ministers who have been dropped from the Cabinet are MS Gill (Statistics and Program Implementation), Kantilal Bhuria (Tribal Affairs), and Dayanidhi Maran (Textiles).

Maran had resigned last week over allegations of his involvement in the multi-billion-dollar telecom scam.

Source: Xinhua
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