In yet another rejig, the Narendra Modi government on Thursday reconstituted six key cabinet committees, including the committees on Security, Economic Affairs, Political Affairs, Parliament Affairs, Accommodation and Appointments.
While Modi will take charge of the committees on Security, Economic Affairs, Political Affairs and Appointments, Home Minister Rajnath Singh is set to head the other two, according to PTI.
This move comes a week after the Prime Minister had scrapped four cabinet committees, including the UPA-constituted committee on Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI). He had also done away with the cabinet committees on Prices, World Trade Organisation Matters, and on Management of Natural Calamities.
He had, however, entrusted additional responsibilities on the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. The CCEA will now comprise 11 members, headed by Modi and also including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu as well as Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
While the CCEA essentially presides over matters of foreign direct investment and project approval, it will also additionally handle the responsibilities of the erstwhile cabinet committees on Prices and World Trade Organisation matters. It is also expected to take over the pending matters of the erstwhile UIDAI committee.
While Singh will head the Cabinet Committees on Parliamentary Affairs and Accommodation, he will be very much a part of the other reconstituted committees.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party members will dominate most committees, ministers from NDA's allies parties will also find space in the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal from Shiromani Akali Dal, Ram Vilas Paswan from Lok Janshakti and Anand Geeta from the Shiv Sena will join as members of the CCPA. The custom has reportedly been to include members of allying parties to this committee.
Modi also seems to have downsized the committees while reconstituting them, leaving the CCEA with 11 members instead of the previous strength of 14, while the Appointments Committee will have two members – Modi and Singh, instead of three as earlier. The Accommodation Committee has been pruned down to four members from seven.
Modi's earlier move of scrapping four cabinet committees was seen as a way of leaving behind the UPA government's legacy, particularly its most ambitious project – Unique Identification (UID).