In a major rejig of the government, four ministers were on Sunday elevated to Cabinet rank and nine new faces were inducted into the council of ministers. Photograph: (Reuters)
He added that the prime minister has laid down 'a high standard of accountability in governance'
The performance of each ministry was closely monitored to decide who would be given what ministry, union minister Arun Jaitley has said.
The third major rejig of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet took place on Sunday morning.
The three big changes made in the rejig were:
a. The giving of the defence ministry to Nirmala Sitharaman, and her elevation to Cabinet rank
b. The removal of Suresh Prabhu from the railway ministry. (There had been a spate of train accidents in recent months.) And
c. The giving of the railway ministry to Piyush Goyal, and his elevation to Cabinet rank
A total of four ministers were elevated to Cabinet rank -- the other two being minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and petroleum minister Dharmesh Pradhan, who has also been given charge of the ministry for skill development and entrepreneurship.
And nine new faces were inducted into the council of ministers.
Four of those new faces are former bureaucrats -- underlining Modi's efforts to give fresh impetus to governance -- and three are leaders from Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh which go to the polls in 2018.
Jaitley said the allocations were made based on competence and who would perform well in which ministry.
"The prime minister has set the bar very high. It is obviously clear that he is very closely monitoring the performance of each ministry and each individual and therefore decided who is to be given what responsibility," he said.
Prime Minister has set the bar very high. It's clear that he is very closely monitoring performance of each ministry &individual: A Jaitley— ANI (@ANI) September 3, 2017
Jaitley added that Sunday was a "great day" for the country as two women had become part of the all-important Cabinet Committee on Security.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is already part of the committee.
Sitharaman, as defence minister, will be joining it.
The other people on the committee are finance minister Arun Jaitley himself, home minister Rajnath Singh, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Jaitley also rejected the Congress' allegation that Modi does not trust his political colleagues, which is why he had inducted so many ex-bureaucrats into the council of ministers.
"How can UPA say this? Their own prime minister (Manmohan Singh) had come from the same background," Jaitley said.
(With inputs from PTI)