More Ministers in New Government Assume Charge

New Delhi
More Ministers in New Government Assume Charge

A number of ministers today assumed office with the highlight being Shiv Sena's Anant Geete who had been sulking for being given Heavy Industries portfolio and refused to take charge yesterday.

Among others who took charge were Sushma Swaraj as External Affairs Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu as Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs, Ananth Kumar as Chemicals and Fertilizers, Uma Bharti as Water Resources, Maneka Gandhi as Women and Child Department and Jitendra Singh as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology.

Geete, who did not assume office yesterday when most of the ministers took over as he was unhappy over being given Heavy Industries portfolio, finally took charge today after the apparent assurance that he would be shifted to some better portfolio soon.

He told reporters that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had a "satisfactory" discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the portfolio allocation and the party will get "good ministry" when the Cabinet reshuffle takes place.

Claiming that he was not unhappy, he said, "Since the party I come from, Shiv Sena, is connected to the people, party chief Uddhav Thackeray expected me to be given a ministry which is connected to the people."

The Shiv Sena, the oldest ally of BJP, has secured as many as 18 seats in the Lok Sabha, making it the second largest party in the NDA.

Swaraj said her priority as External Affairs Minister would be to showcase India's strengths to the world and improve relations with neighbouring countries, strategic partners, Africa, ASEAN member countries, Europe and others.

Naidu, while taking charge as Urban Development Minister, said creation of 100 smart cities and reducing interest rate on home loans to ensure housing for all will be his focus.

As Parliamentary Affairs Minister, he would endeavour to go the "extra mile" to accommodate the opposition.

Fertiliser and Chemicals Minister Ananth Kumar said he will talk to pharmaceutical companies and try to bring down prices of essential drugs by 25-40 per cent.

Uma Bharti, while taking over as Water Resource Minister, vowed to clean up river Ganga, one of the key priorities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has won the election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

Jitendra Singh said he would give thrust to encouraging research and development in the capacity of Science and Technology Minister.

Maneka Gandhi took over as WCD Minister and immediately held meeting with officials to understand the work being done.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh also assumed his office today and announced that the government will launch a nation-wide rural irrigation programme and an insurance scheme to protect farmers' income.

Singh said the government is prepared to tackle any eventuality in case of bad monsoon and it has already sent advisories to all state governments.

"I held a meeting with ministry officials today and we have decided that we will bring 'Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sinchayee Yojana' similar to Grameen Sadak Yojana. We have also decided to bring an insurance scheme to ensure income to farmers," he told reporters.

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