Modi Cabinet reshuffle 2016: Today’s Cabinet expansion and reshuffle exercise by the Narendra Modi government saw MoS (Independent charge) Prakash Javadekar being promoted to the rank of a Cabinet minister. What surprised many was that only one minister was elevated to the Cabinet rank.
All three – Power Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce & Industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Petroleum & Natural Gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan – are currently MoS (Independent charge). And all three of them have been credited for bringing about significant reforms in their sectors.
Incidentally, when FE Online asked experts (before the Cabinet reshuffle) which ministries have performed the best in the last two years of the Modi government, Power Minister Piyush Goyal got a unanimous vote.
Goyal has been seen as bold reformer who has taken India away from the days of coal shortage and blackout fears to a time when there is power surplus. A leading economist, who did not wish to be named, told FE Online that Power minustry is noteworthy area of good work by the government. “Piyush Goyal on his part has taken some very bold steps to ensure provision of electricity in the country and easing the stress of discoms. Electricity is a very important infrastructure need of any economy, and in that sense Piyush Goyal has done a tough task in a short duration of time,” he said.
From implementation of PM Modi’s pet Ujjwala Yojana LPG scheme to various oil sector reforms, Dharmendra Pradhan has also been one of the good performers of the Modi government. Earlier this year, PM Modi had showered praise on Pradhan for his “efficiency”. “Odisha added 11 lakh new LPG connections within a year since he (Pradhan) became the petroleum minister, while it had just about 60 lakh gas connections in the 60 preceding years before that. This is an example of how work should happen,” Modi had said.
Under Pradhan, Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) that would offer marketing and pricing freedom to oil and gas explorers.
Yet another important ministry has been Commerce and Industry, headed by Nirmala Sitharaman, who has worked to improve India’s ease of doing business ranking. While India is still quite a distance from PM Modi’s below 50 rank target for ease of doing business, transparency has been brought in and it is work that has seen progress. Sitharaman has also been negotiating hard for India at the WTO.
Asked about best ministries, Sudhir Aggarwal, Head of Government for South Asia at Thomson Reuters told FE Online, “Nirmala Sitharaman has done well to enhance ease of doing business and is working aggressively to improve India’s ease of doing business ranking. States are now competing with each other to lure businesses, there is greater transparency in the system.”
Aggarwal also named Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in his list of best performing ministers. He however, chose not to link his comments to the Cabinet expansion.
According to television reports, another Cabinet rejig is likely in winter and one wonders if Goyal, Sitharaman and Pradhan will be awarded a promotion then.