politics | IST

Cabinet reshuffle: Law minister Prasad, health minister Dr Vardhan quit; experts discuss

The much-anticipated Cabinet expansion, the first since Prime Minister Modi won a second term 2 years ago, is expected on July 7. The strength of the new Cabinet would stand at 78, including the Prime Minister. BJP allies would account for 4 of them. Ahead of the reshuffle, a dozen ministers have tendered their resignations. Law and IT minister Ravi Sankar Prasad, who also hold the telecom portfolio, has resigned. Health minister Harsh Vardhan and his Deputy Ashwini Chaube have quit the Cabinet as well. For full interview, watch accompanying video...

The much-anticipated Cabinet expansion, the first since Prime Minister Modi won a second term 2 years ago, is expected on July 7. The strength of the new Cabinet would stand at 78, including the Prime Minister. BJP allies would account for 4 of them.
Ahead of the reshuffle, a dozen ministers have tendered their resignations. Law and IT minister Ravi Sankar Prasad, who also hold the telecom portfolio, has resigned. Health minister Harsh Vardhan and his Deputy Ashwini Chaube have quit the Cabinet as well.
Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal is also out along with labour minister Santosh Gangwar and fertilisers minister Sadananda Gowda. Environment and information broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar has also quit the Cabinet
Several other ministers of state such as Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhuri have aslo resigned. The reshuffle and expansion exercise is intended to send out a political message ahead of the upcoming crucial state elections. Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, along with former chief ministers Sarbananda Sonowal and Narayan Rane, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar will also be inducted.
To discuss this, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Exec Chairperson of Biocon; AK Bhattacharya, Editorial Director of Business Standard; Saba Naqvi, Senior Journalist; and Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman of India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA).
Talking about big exits, AK Bhattacharya said, “At a certain level, I do see a kind of an overhaul of economic ministries barring the finance ministry almost virtually every other key economic ministries has been looked at. If you look at health and education, these are not economic ministries but I think they were very key social sector ministries, which required a greater impetus of focus.”
“The government in its second tenure has decided to give it a fresh look to its economic team at the helm that is number one. Number two, what I see is that it is preparing for elections for the next year. There are five important assembly elections, but the important takeaway for me is the way the finance ministry has been strengthened, you are seeing department of public enterprises being put under the finance ministry so you may see a minister for public enterprises under the finance ministry, which is a key signal that the government means when it says that it wants to privatise the public sector units.”
On health ministry, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said, “I think the health ministry does need revamping. I do believe that there has been a lot of criticism in terms of the way the health ministry has gone about managing COVID and we have seen a lot of concerns and voices raised about many aspects of COVID management including the oxygen requirement, shortage of ventilators and of course the whole vaccination process the way it has been sort of mishandled.”
“I really think we do need a refresh button to be pressed and that is what the Prime Minister has done across the board. I do believe that India needs to now urgently get back on to economic revival and I think this time around I hope that industry gets it fair share of attention.”
Speaking about exit of Ravi Shankar Prasad, Pankaj Mohindroo said, “In the competition of nations, India has lagged behind. In 1990, our per capita income was almost on a par with China. Today we are one-fifth, so obviously there is a lot of restlessness in the nation and among the people. This is something the recast he wants to do is to propel the governance in a manner that there is more electric charge in the governance.”
“Ravi Shankar Prasad has IT minister for seven years and lot has been accomplished in these seven years. But, I think this sector is so large - and can’t comment on why he has chosen to resign, but I am sure he has any new assignments in store for him.”
For full interview, watch accompanying video...