New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday sprung a major surprise in allocating portfolios Friday by naming Anand Sharma as the cabinet minister in charge of commerce and industry, shifting out Kamal Nath, who held the portfolio for the whole of the tenure of his previous cabinet.
Kamal Nath has been given the road transport and highways portfolio, which was earlier overseen by T.R. Baalu, a member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) – a constituent of both the previous and current United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments.
The other key economic portfolios with cabinet ministers at the helm include Virbhadra Singh for steel, Sushil Kumar Shinde for power, A. Raja for IT and communications and Murli Deora for petroleum and natural gas.
Dayanidhi Maran has been allocated textiles with a cabinet position, while colleagues with similar ranks include Subodh Kant Sahai, who retains food processing ministry, G.K. Vaasan for shipping and M.K. Azhagiri at chemicals and fertilisers ministry.
Praful Patel gets to keep the civil aviation ministry as Minister of State (MoS) with independent charge, and his colleagues in this category of ministers include Sriprakash Jaiswal for coal, as also statistics and programme implementation, and Dinsha J. Patel for small and medium enterprises.
Jairam Ramesh, also a minister with independent charge who had the same rank in the previous government with commerce and power portfolios, has been given environment and forests.
The other ministers of state who will be involved in key economic ministries include Srikant Jena for chemicals and fertilisers, E. Ahamed and K.H. Muniappa for railways, Jyotiraditya Scindia for commerce and industry and Panabaka Lakshmi for textiles.
Pranab Mukherjee, who was allocated the finance portfolio last week, has two ministers of state – Namo Narain Meena as also S.S. Palanimanickam, who held the same portfolio earlier.
Some of the others who are ministers of state handling economic matters include Jitin Prasada for petroleum, A. Sai Prathap for steel, Gurdas Kamat in communications and IT, Harish Rawat in labour, K.V. Thomas in agriculture and Bharatsinh Solanki in power.
Among some of the young ministers, inducted as ministers of state, are Sachin Pilot who gets communications and IT, while R.P.N. Singh gets road transport and highways.