Salman Khurshid was India's new external affairs minister as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday effected a major revamp of his council of ministers, inducting 22 faces, including seven of cabinet rank, in what is said to be the last major ministerial shuffle before the 2014 general election.
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi did not join the government - leaving the field open for him to play a larger role in the party.
Several portfolios were changed, some new faces introduced, some elevated to cabinet rank and at least one old hand - Shashi Tharoor - was back in what is possibly UPA-2's last facelift - an exercise that jettisoned tainted ministers like Subodh Kant Sahay and roped veterans like Ambika Soni and S.M. Krishna back into the party organisation to gear up for the 2014 electoral battle.
"It is a combination of youth and experience," Manmohan Singh told reporters after the swearing ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office.
"The road ahead is full of challenges," he said on his priorities in the next few months.
Of the seven new ministers sworn in with cabinet rank, two are debutants -- former deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha K. Rehman Khan and Congress MP Chandresh Kumari Katoch. The other five, Ajay Maken, M.M. Pallam Raju, Dinsha Patel, Harish Rawat and Ashwini Kumar, have been elevated to the cabinet from ministers of state rank.
In the reshuffle of the pack of ministers, Khurshid got external affairs while his previous ministry, law, went to Ashwani Kumar. Khurshid had served as minister of state (junior foreign minister) under prime minister P V Narasimha Rao in the nineties.
Pallam Raju was made human resource development (HRD) minister in place of Kapil Sibal, who was left only with communication and IT. Pallam Raju's minister of state in HRD was Tharoor, who quit had to resign as minister of state for external affairs in 2010 over a controversy regarding his alleged conflict of interests in the affairs of IPL Kochi cricket team that was subsequently disbanded.
The crucial railways ministry, which had long been with one-time ally Trinamool Congress, was given to P.K. Bansal.
M. Veerappa Moily was given charge of petroleum, while his previous responsibilities of corporate affairs and power were split - Sachin Pilot was elevated as minister of state with independent charge of corporate affairs and Jyotiraditya Scindia got independent charge of power.
These two ministers were known to be close to Rahul Gandhi.
Rawat was made water resources minister and Katoch, who belongs to an erstwhile royal family in Rajasthan, is union culture minister. Maken was elevated as housing and poverty alleviation minister and Dinsha Patel as mines minister.
S. Jaipal Reddy got science and technology and Kamal Nath got additional charge of parliamentary affairs besides urban development.
Amongst the ministers of state sworn in were Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari who got independent charge of information and broadcasting. Earlier with Soni, the ministry has been downgraded.
Telugu actor Chiranjeevi, whose Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) merged with the Congress, got independent charge of the tourism ministry. Tourism is one of the country's major foreign exchange earners.
The careful rejig saw special attention being paid to Andhra Pradesh, a crucial state electorally for the Congress where Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy has been gaining in influence and where the issue of separate statehood for Telangana has split ranks. It got the maximum representation of six with five new faces and one elevated to the cabinet rank.
Besides Pallam Raju, there was Chiranjeevi, Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy, Sarve Satyanarayana, Porika Balram Naik and Killi Kruparani.
There were also three new faces from West Bengal - Adhir R. Chowdhury, Deepa Dasmunsi and A.H. Khan Chowdhury, all known to be fiercely opposed to state chief minister Mamata Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress broke ranks with the ruling coalition recently to bring about several ministerial vacancies.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the apex industry chamber, welcomed the reshuffle and said it has "ensured that there is a fair mix of youth and experience in the cabinet.
"India's young demographics is starting to get reflected in the political leadership of the country, which is only natural," it said.
List of portfolios of new minister and changes in portfolios of existing ministers. Changes in portfolios are indicated in red.
NEW CABINET MINISTERS:
K. Rahman Khan : Minority affairs
Dinsha J. Patel : Mines
Ajay Maken : Housing and urban poverty alleviation
M.M. Pallam Raju : Human resource development
Ashwani Kumar : Law and justice
Harish Rawat : Water resources
Chandresh Kumari Katoch : Culture
CHANGES IN PORTFOLIOS OF CABINET MINISTERS
M. Veerappa Moily : Petroleum and natural gas
S. Jaipal Reddy : Science and technology and earth sciences
Kamal Nath : Urban development and parliamentary affairs
Vayalar Ravi : Overseas Indian affairs
Kapil Sibal : Communications and information technology
CP Joshi : Road transport and highways
Kumari Selja : Social justice and empowerment
Pawan Kumar Bansal : Railways
Salman Khurshid : External affairs
Jairam Ramesh : Rural development
NEW MINISTERS OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE)
Manish Tewari : Information and broadcasting
K. Chiranjeevi : Tourism
CHANGES IN PORTFOLIOS OF MINISTERS OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE)
Jyotiraditya Scindia :Power
K.H. Muniappa : Micro, small and medium enterprises
Bharatsinh Madhavsinh Solanki : Drinking water and sanitation
Sachin Pilot : Corporate affairs
Jitendra Singh : Youth affairs and sports
NEW MINISTERS OF STATE
Shashi Tharoor : Human resources development
Kodikunnil Suresh : Labour and employment
Tariq Anwar : Agriculture and food processing industries
K.J. Surya Prakash Reddy : Railways
Ranee Narah : Tribal affairs
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury : Railways
A.H. Khan Choudhury : Health and family welfare
Sarve Sathyanarayana : Road transport and highways
Ninong Ering : Minority affairs
Deepa Dasmunsi : Urban development
Porika Balram Naik :Social justice and empowerment
Killi Kruparani : Communications and information technology
Lalchand Kataria : Defence
CHANGES IN PORTFOLIOS OF MINISTERS OF STATE
E. Ahmed : External affairs
D. Purandeswari : Commerce and industry
Jitin Prasada : Defence and human resource development
S. Jagatharakshakan : New and renewable energy
RPN. Singh :Home
KC Venugopal : Civil aviation
Rajeev Shukla : Parliamentary affairs and planning.
Below is the full list of the ministers in the Union Cabinet after the reshuffle.
Manmohan Singh: Prime Minister, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Ministry of Planning, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space
P Chidambaram: Finance
Sharad Pawar: Agriculture Minister, Minister of Food Processing Industries
AK Antony: Defence
Sushil Kumar Shinde: Minister of Home Affairs
K Rahman Khan: Minority Affairs
Dinsha J Patel: Mines
Ajay Maken: Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation
MM Pallam Raju: Human Resource Development
Ashwani Kumar: Law & Justice
Harish Rawat: Water Resources
Chandresh Kumari Katoch: Culture
M Veerappa Moily: Petroleum & Natural Gas
S Jaipal Reddy: Science & Technology and Earth Sciences
Kamal Nath: Urban Development & Parliamentary Affairs
Vayalar Ravi: Overseas Indian Affairs
Kapil Sibal: Communications & Information Technology
CP Joshi: Road Transport & Highways
Kumari Selja: Social Justice & Empowerment
Pawan Kumar Bansal: Railways
Salman Khurshid: External Affairs
Jairam Ramesh: Rural Development
Ghulam Nabi Azad: Minister of Health and Family Welfare
Dr. Farooq Abdullah: Minister of New and Renewable Energy
Ajit Singh: Civil Aviation
Mallikarjun Kharge: Minister of Labour and Employment
Kapil Sibal: Minister of Communications and Information Technology
Anand Sharma: Minister of Commerce and Industry, Minister of Textiles
GK Vasan: Shipping
MK Alagiri: Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers
Praful Manoharbhai Patel: Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises
Sriprakash Jaiswal: Minister of Coal
V Kishore Chandra Deo: Minister of Tribal Affairs, Minister of Panchayati Raj
Beni Prasad Verma: Minister of Steel
Ministers of State (Independent Charge)
Manish Tewari: Information & Broadcasting
K Chiranjeevi: Tourism
Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia: Power
KH Muniyappa: Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises
Bharatsinh Madhavsinh Solanki: Drinking Water & Sanitation
Sachin Pilot: Corporate Affairs
Jitendra Singh: Youth Affairs & Sports
Krishna Tirath: Ministry of Women and Child Development
Kuruppassery Varkey Thomas: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
Srikant Kumar Jena: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation
Jayanthi Natarajan: Ministry of Environment and Forests
Paban Singh Ghatowar: Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
Ministers of state
Shashi Tharoor: Human Resource Development
Kodikunnil Suresh: Labour & Employment
Tariq Anwar: Agriculture & Food Processing Industries
KJ Surya Prakash Reddy: Railways
Ranee Narah: Tribal Affairs
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury: Railways
AH Khan Choudhury: Health & Family Welfare
Sarvey Sathyanarayana: Road Transport & Highways
Ninong Ering: Minority Affairs
Deepa Dasmunsi: Urban Development
Porika Balram Naik: Social Justice & Empowerment
Dr (Smt) Kruparani Killi: Communications & Information Technology
Lalchand Kataria: Defence
E Ahamed: External Affairs
D Purandeswari: Commerce & Industry
Jitin Prasada: Defence & Human Resource Development
Dr S Jagathrakshakan: New & Renewable Energy
RPN Singh: Home
KC Venugopal: Civil Aviation
Rajeev Shukla: Parliamentary Affairs & Planning
V Narayanasamy: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Prime Minister Office
Lakshmi Panabaka: Ministry of Textiles
Namo Narain Meena: Ministry of Finance
SS Palanimanickam: Ministry of Finance
Preneet Kaur: Ministry of External Affairs
D Napoleon: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
S Gandhiselvan: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Tushar Amarsinh Chaudhary: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
Pratik Prakashbapu Patil: Ministry of Coal
Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Corporate Affairs
Pradeep Kumar Jain Aditya: Ministry of Rural Development
Charan Das Mahant: Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Food Processing Industries
Milind Murli Deora: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
Source: Times of India & IBN Live.