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Prime minister expands ministry to 79

Source: PTI
May 28, 2009 23:36 IST
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Expanding his six-day-old Council of Ministers by inducting 59 ministers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday made Anand Sharma the Commerce Minister and allocated the portfolio of Human Resources Development to Kapil Sibal, Law to M Veerappa Moily and Road Transport and Highways to Kamal Nath.

With this induction, the size of Council of Ministers went up to 79 -- 34 Cabinet Ministers, 7 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 38 Ministers of State.

As he completed the exercise of firming up his Council of Ministers 12 days after the United Progressive Alliance returned to power, the Prime Minister sprang surprises by giving Shipping to G K Vasan, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises to Vilasrao Deshmukh and steel to Virbhadra Singh.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was made Health and Family Welfare Minister while National Conference President Farooq Abdullah got New and Renewable Energy.

Eight of the Cabinet Ministers retained the portfolios they had in the previous government but Ambika Soni was moved from Tourism and Culture to Information and Broadcasting and Meira Kumar shifted from Social Justice and Empowerment to Water Resources.

New entrants Mukul Wasnik, a Dalit leader, got Social Justice and Empowerment, Mallikarjun Kharge Labour and Employment, B K Handique Minister for Mines and Development of North Eastern Region, C P Joshi Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Kantilal Bhuria Tribal Affairs.

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