NEW DELHI:Home Minister Amit Shah is in all eight key cabinet committees announced after Prime Minister Narendra Modi started a second term last week. PM Modi is in six of them and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is in two. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is in seven panels and Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal in five.
Rajnath Singh, who was moved from the Home Ministry that he headed in the previous term, is in the Cabinet Committees on Economic Affairs and Security. He is notably missing from the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, which decides on policy; it has Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsh Vardhan, Piyush Goyal, Pralhad Joshi and allies Ram Vilas Paswan, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Arvind Sawant.
Rajnath Singh's exclusion is significant because the minister who is number two in the government - by convention the person who is sworn in right after the prime minister -- usually presides over the cabinet and the political affairs committee in the absence of the Prime Minister. Also, Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister was part of the previous government's political affairs committee.
Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari will be in the panel for Accommodation.
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The Cabinet Appointments Committee has only PM Modi and Amit Shah.
PM Modi will also head the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which includes, apart from Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, DV Sadananda Gowda, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Dharmendra Pradhan.
Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs includes Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Pralhad Joshi.
One of the most important panels, the Cabinet Committee on Security, includes the Prime Minister, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar.
The Prime Minister is also a part of the new Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth, whose members are Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal. The group will examine how to arrest the growth slide.
Another new panel, the Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development, which will look into tackling the jobs crisis, has PM Modi, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Piyush Goyal, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Santosh Gangwar, and Hardeep Singh Puri.
Union Minister Smriti Irani is among the special invitees to this panel.--ndtv