Several newly appointed ministers, including health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Ashwini Vaishnaw (Railways and IT minister), and Anurag Thakur (Information and Broadcasting minister and Kiren Rijiju, (Law Minister), on Thursday, took charge of their new posts a day after they were inducted into the Union cabinet.
Mandaviya, a BJP leader from Gujarat's Saurashtra region, replaces Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was dropped from the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.
His portfolio assumes utmost significance as the country is in battling a coronavirus pandemic.
Mandaviya will also lead the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
"Mansukh Mandaviya takes charge as Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare at Nirman Bhawan today (Thursday)," the Health Ministry said.
Mandaviya was on Wednesday elevated to Cabinet rank from minister of state (MoS). He was holding the independent charge of the Shipping Ministry and was MoS for the Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry.
Bureaucrat-entrepreneur-turned-politician Ashwini Vaishnaw took charge as the country's new railway minister.
A former IAS officer of the 1994-batch, Vaishnaw has handled important responsibilities for over 15 years and was particularly known for his contribution to the public-private partnership (PPP) framework in infrastructure, something that will help him in the rail sector.
He has also held leadership roles across major global companies such as General Electric and Siemens.
Vaishnaw has done his MBA from the Wharton School, Pennsylvania University, and M.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur.
He will also hold two other important portfolios of Communications and Electronics and Information Technology.
"Excellent work has been done in the Railways over the past 67 years. I am here to take the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi forward," Vaishnaw said while he took the charge.
Anurag Thakur similarly took charge as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
Speaking to reporters after assuming charge, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done a great job in reaching out to people in the last seven years through this ministry, and that he would like to take the legacy forward.
Thakur said he would like to reach out to people through the ministry.
"I will make every possible effort to carry out the responsibility bestowed upon me by the prime minister," he said.
Kiren Rijiju on the other hand took charge as the new minister of Law and Justice.
A prominent face from the northeast in the Modi government, Rijiju was on Wednesday elevated as a Cabinet minister in a major reshuffle and expansion of the Union Council of Ministers.
Rijiju takes over the key ministry from Ravi Shankar Prasad, who has resigned from the government.
The Law Ministry is responsible to defend the government in various courts through its law officers and help ministries draft bills and key documents.
It also plays a role in transfer, posting and elevation of Supreme Court and high court judges.
The Cabinet overhaul that came ahead of key Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh next year saw 36 new faces on Wednesday.
Among them, eight are lawyers, four are doctors, two are former IAS officers and four MBA degree holders, besides several engineers, making it an eclectic mix of professionals in what is seen as an attempt by the prime minister to give a boost to the governance quotient ahead of a string of assembly elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Besides 15 Cabinet ministers, 28 Ministers of State, comprising new faces and those elevated, were sworn in at a ceremony held in the Darbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 43 ministers including the seven elevated to the Cabinet with all COVID protocol in place.
Hours before the ceremony, 11 ministers resigned while another minister Thaawarchand Gehlot quit on Monday after being made the Governor of Karnataka. The resignations of all the 12 ministers were accepted by President Kovind.
The total strength of the Council of Ministers now stands at 78, including the Prime Minister. The prime minister can have up to 81 members in his Union Council(15 per cent of the Lok Sabha strength).