NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi Government on Thursday reconstituted six crucial Cabinet Committees. Some of the committees have been restructured with minor, but significant changes, for the others the past traditions set by the earlier government were maintained.
While the Prime Minister will be heading four of the key Cabinet Committees on Security, Political Affairs, Economic Affairs and the Appointments Committee, the Committees on Accommodation and Parliamentary Affairs will be headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who has thus emerged as the official second-in-command of the new government.
In this Modi went by the past practice initiated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and later followed by Manmohan Singh of getting senior Cabinet colleagues to head Parliamentary Affairs and Accommodation Committees, both of which requires deft management of relations with the opposition leaders and MPs.
Rajnath getting to head both the CCA and CCPA is not without political meaning. But the government introduced significant change by keeping the ACC just a two-member affair with the PM and the Home Minister as members. The Ministry incharge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), has been dropped from the ACC. At present, Minister of State for the PMO Jitinder Singh is incharge of the DoPT.
The other significant change in the structure of the CCEA is that the Deputy Chairperson, Planning Commission, has been dropped from the list of special invitees. The Prime Minister is yet to appoint his plan panel deputy. Eleven members from the NDA allies have been accommodated in the Cabinet Committee to Economic Affairs, Political Affairs, and Parliamentary Affairs have eight members with three special invitees.
Of the NDA allies, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju of the TDP and Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the SAD, are there on the CCEA.
Following tradition members from the NDA allies -- LJP chief and Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Heavy Industries Minister and Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete, Gajapathi Raju and Harsimrat Kaur, are on the CCPA. Paswan has also found a place in Parliamentary Affairs Committee of the Cabinet.
Since the Defence and Finance Ministers are one and the same, the most powerful and well-guarded Cabinet Committee on Security has only three members apart from the PM, Rajnath, External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. Modi had cancelled four Cabinet Committees on Price Rise, WTO, UIDAI and Management of Natural Calamity.