Decoding Cabinet Expansion
The latest expansion of the Cabinet of the Modi government seems to be raising many hopes. The inclusion of 43 ministers in the Cabinet has only substantiated the fact that Prime Minister Modi’s government is running on the mantra of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance. With this expansion of the Cabinet, the number of ministers in Modi government has reached 78. However, this Cabinet expansion has raised many questions and has also given many messages. But if we talk about the positive side of this Cabinet expansion other than politics, then this Cabinet is probably the youngest and most educated in the history of independent India. In terms of qualifications, it has seven PhDs, three MBAs, thirteen lawyers, six doctors, five engineers and seven civil servants as ministers. Eight MPs from the Scheduled Tribes have also got a place in this Council of Ministers, out of which three have been made Cabinet ministers. Similarly, out of 12 ministers included from the Scheduled Caste community, two have got the status of Cabinet ministers. What is more, this is probably the first Cabinet after Independence, in which a record 11 women have got a place. Two of them are Cabinet ministers. The current Council of Ministers also comprises five ministers from the minority community, of whom two are Buddhist, one Muslim, one Christian and one from the Sikh community. Against this backdrop, it cannot be gainsaid that good effort has been made in the current reshuffle in terms of providing representation to all sections of the society besides balancing caste and religion.
The expansion and reshuffle of the Cabinet is actually based on two important and visionary messages. First, no matter how experienced he or she may have been in the past, if a minister has failed to perform his job responsibly at present, then he is not eligible to continue in his ministerial post. This first message can be considered related to the strengthening of the working of the Central Government. On the other hand, the manner in which the participation of the Dalit community and other backward classes as well as tribal communities and women has been increased in the Cabinet, this in itself is due to the formation of a government based on social justice and strengthening of regional politics by the Modi government. Be that as it may, this expansion also means that enormous expectations, which now rest on the Modi government to accelerate delivering changes quickly, will now seemingly be materialised. For this to happen, the Council of Ministers will be put under the microscope. Their success will now depend on how effectively they perform. With nearly half of India’s 125 crore under 26, few Indians can even recall the 1991 reforms. India’s youth bulge can be an enormous asset or liability, depending on what the government delivers on this front. For, the BJP won the political battle hands down but has still to fight the economic battle. Hence, it is apt to conclude that with the fine mix of youth, professionals, experience and women power, the Modi government will take the country to new heights.
By Deepak Kumar Rath