Union Cabinet expansion: Ex-IAS officer Ashwini Vaishnaw takes oath as Cabinet Minister

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government on Wednesday got a makeover with the induction of 43 new members in the Council of Ministers at a simple ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The major shake-up of the Union Council of Ministers represents the “lives, hopes and aspirations of 130 crore Indians.”

Ashwini Vaishnaw, a Rajya Sabha MP for Odisha, was among those who were administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind. Before entering the world of politics, Ashwini Vaishnaw was an IAS officer with huge administrative experience.

The former civil servant of the 1994 batch handled important responsibilities over 15 years and is particularly known for his contribution to the PPP framework in infrastructure.

In the new Council of Ministers, there are four former Chief Ministers, 18 former state ministers, 39 former MLAs and 23 MPs who have been elected for three or more terms.

This demonstrates the wealth of experience in the new Cabinet as the government has been criticised for lack of bench strength and not having enough heft in administrative experience.

The new Council of Ministers boasts of an eclectic mix of distinguished qualifications, including 13 lawyers, six doctors, five engineers, seven former civil servants, and 46 ministers with experience in Central government.

This is also a young-looking Cabinet with an average age of 58, with 14 ministers below the age of 50 years.

In terms of gender, 11 women will be part of the Council of Ministers, including two with Cabinet rank.

There are five ministers from the minorities – 1 Muslim, 1 Sikh, 2 Buddhists and 1 Christian. In addition, there is a strong OBC representation with 27 OBC ministers, including five with Cabinet rank, eight ST ministers including three with Cabinet rank, and 12 SC ministers with two with Cabinet rank.

The induction of the new faces was preceded by the resignations of as many as 11 ministers.

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