Second Modi Government Sworn In

After receiving huge popular mandate, Mr.NarendraModi was sworn in as India’s Prime Minister for the second time in a row. President Ram NathKovind administered oath of office to the 58-member Council of Ministers led by the Prime Minister. The Council of Ministers drew strength from talent pool within ruling BhartiyaJanata Party (BJP) and allies, besides India’s former secretary SubramaniamJaishankar.

The surprise pick by Prime MinisterModi was indeed Mr.Jaishankar. He had been a key aide in India’s foreign ministry. His expertise on China would surely be an asset. BJP President Mr. Amit Shah also was inducted into the Cabinet. He is expected to play a key role in the government.

Mr.Modi has often described the mandate as people’s aspirations throughout the length and breadth of the country. In tune with popular aspiration, the Council of Ministers sworn in by President reflected a pan-India fervour, with a positive bias for youth. Mr.Modi has already mentioned that his second government would function on the premise of “NARA” (National Ambition + Regional Aspiration). He said that inclusive development with good governance is his road-map.

Change with continuity appears to have been the mantra in the selection of Ministers. Mr.Rajnath Singh, Mr.NitinGadkari, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, Mr.Narendra Singh Tomar, Mr.PiyushGoyal, Ms.SmritiIrani are, thus, amongst Ministers who would also serve in Mr.Modi’s second term. A few junior Ministers, including Mr.Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Mr.Giriraj Singh and Mr.MahendraNath Pandey, have been promoted to Cabinet rank apparently due to their performances.

The 58-member Indian Council of Ministers consists of 24 Cabinet Ministers, nine Ministers of State with Independent charge and another 24 Ministers of State. The popular mandate, indeed, showed the ruling alliance winning support in majority of the states in the country. Thus, the Council of Ministers too drew ministers from most of the states to give a pan-India representation in the true spirit of a national government.

A surprise inductee was Mr.Pratap Chandra Sarangi. Living in a thatched hut in the Balasore Parliamentary constituency in Odisha, Mr Sarangi is the true embodiment of simple and austere life. Mahatma Gandhi, quite notably, had asked for austere public life. Mr.Sarangi’s simplicity and devotion for public welfare has won hearts of many, including that of Prime Minister Modi.

With the swearing in of the new Council of Ministers, the electoral process of elections for the 17th LokSabha has been completed. The first Cabinet meeting would call for a short session of Parliament for swearing in the Members of the lower House of Parliament, LokSabha.

India is rightly called an aspirational democracy. Over 67 per cent of the 900 million plus electorate has endorsed Mr.Modi’s development agenda. A government devoted to development bodes well for world economy too.

As the second Modi government took office, the global economy is facing headwinds, this could be a major concern for the new government. Already, the world is seeing the escalation on the US-China tariff war; the crisis in the Persian Gulf arising out of re-imposition of sanctions on Iran by the US. This has seen a spike in global crude prices, and it could have an impact on India’s inflation. Prime Minister Modi’sgovernment had been able to contain inflation in his first term. He is expected to remain on course to keep India’s inflation under control. The government is also expected to roll out measures for India’s agriculture sector, for bettering the lives of the farmers

The grand oath taking ceremony at RashtrapatiBhavanwas witnessed by the Heads of States and Governments of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical & Economic Cooperation). The President of Kyrgyzstan and Prime Minister of Mauritius were also present on the occasion. This is affirmation of India’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy. The intent that India’s seeks collective prosperity of the region is thus clear.

Script:Manish Anand, Sr. Special Correspondent, The New Indian Express