Modi's new cabinet: The biggest challenge for the Prime Minister is sagging economic growth. Will he rely on his trusted Lieutenant Amit Shah to shore up the economy.
Modi 2.0: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah sat down to brainstorm over the names for council of ministers the news came in about Arun Jaitley’s letter to the PM that he would not like to be considered for a portfolio in the new cabinet.
Jaitley was one of the top five ministers in earlier Modi cabinet, sometimes holding two important portfolios simultaneously – finance and defence. Now after winning a massive mandate, Prime Minister will have to find a replacement for Jaitley that can re-energise the slowing economy.
It’s a challenge to turn around the economy as early signs have indicated a weak monsoon that will hamper Prime Minister Modi’s efforts to double the farmer’s income by 2022. Also, NDA government was not able to keep its promise of increasing the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP to 25% in its first tenure.
Reviving economic growth looks even more difficult as in March this year, the Index of Industrial Production declined in absolute term, first time in the last six years.
In such a situation, will Prime Minister Modi rely on his trusted aide, who has been his trouble shooter earlier in Gujarat government and then in the party organisation.
Will Amit Shah step in as Finance Minister?
There are four portfolios in the cabinet that are called the big five after including the Prime Minister. These are the portfolios of home, finance, defence and foreign affairs. Prime Minister is looking for replacements for both Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, who have indicated their unwillingness on health grounds.
It is strongly speculated in the party circles that Amit Shah’s name might be considered for the finance portfolio. Earlier it was rumoured that Amit Shah might join the cabinet as a home minister in place of Rajnath Singh.
However, after Arun Jaitley’s decision, it is rumoured that Amit Shah might replace him. In any case, both the ministries are equally important and carry equal weight and membership to cabinet committee on security (CCS), that consists of five top ministers including Prime Minister.
Amit Shah already has ministerial experience, he handled almost a dozen portfolios, including minister of state for home affairs and parliamentary affairs when Modi was chief minister of Gujarat.