No big-ticket changes in economic ministries

New Delhi: Without making big-ticket changes in the economic ministries, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday shifted Law Minister M Veerappa Moily to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and inducted young Milind Deora in his council of ministers.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has been given an additional but key economic portfolio of textiles, while Chhattisgarh leader Charan Das Mahant replaces Arun Yadav as Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing.

The Railways, an important infrastructure ministry, has gone to Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamool Congress, who was earlier Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.

Shifting of Jairam Ramesh from Environment to Rural Development may bring relief to a section of the industry which faced tough environment norms for projects like Vedanta’s Niamgiri, Posco and Lavasa in the last two years.

Jayanthi Natarajan replaces Mr. Ramesh in the Environment Ministry as Minister of State-Independent charge.

The industry, which has been expressing concerns over policy paralysis in the government following several scams, does not seem enthused by the reshuffle in the cabinet.

“We were expecting more in the reshuffle. But we only hope that reforms agenda is implemented in good earnest”, a senior industrialist and past President of a leading chamber said.

The pending agenda includes increasing FDI in insurance, introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Mines Bill.

Among the changes, Srikant Jena, the minister of state for Chemical and Fertilisers, has been given additional charge of Statistics and Programme Implementation

Mr. Deora, 34, has been inducted as Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology replacing Gurudas Kamat who has been shifted to Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Mr. Deora is son of Congress veteran Murli Deora who has resigned as Minister of Corporate Affairs.

DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran, facing CBI probe in a telecom scam, had resigned earlier. The others economic ministers who have been dropped include M.S. Gill (Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation) and A Sai Prathap (MOS Industry).