In the first Cabinet reshuffle of his second term, PM Modi elevated seven ministers to the Cabinet rank and dropped a dozen of them from his team.
It was a carefully thought-out exercise that ensured adequate representation to not just different castes, regions, poll-bound states but also to women. Out of the 78 ministers in the expanded ministry, 11 are women. This is the highest number of women in the Union council of ministers in the last 17 years.
Seven women joined PM Modi’s council in the latest exercise. This was in addition to the four existing women ministers – Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Renuka Singh Saruta.
Modi Cabinet 1.0 vs Modi Cabinet 2.0
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had six women ministers, three of them of Cabinet rank, when he started his second tenure in 2019.
The Cabinet rejig exercise has increased this number to 11.
However, when it comes to representation in the Union Cabinet, the share of women is only 7 per cent, which is way less than Modi government’s own record of 25 per cent of women ministers in his first Union Cabinet in 2014.
Of the 11 women ministers at present, only 2 hold Cabinet posts – finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and women and child development minister Smriti Irani.
In 2014, the first Modi government had six women ministers.
The six women in the 2014 ministry included Sushma Swaraj, who was the foreign minister, Smriti Irani, who led the ministries of information and broadcasting and textiles, Uma Bharati, who was the minister of drinking water and sanitation, Harsimrat Kaur, food processing industries minister, Maneka Gandhi headed the women and child development ministry, and Nirmala Sitharaman who was the defence minister.
Women ministers in Modi cabinet vs former Prime Ministers’
In 1947, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was the only female cabinet minister in the government headed by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
His second government had no woman cabinet minister. His third government had one woman, Dr Sushila Nayyar, as a cabinet minister.
Lal Bahadur Shastri’s government had 3 women as ministers including Indira Gandhi who was the minister of information and broadcasting.
During Indira Gandhi’s tenure as the Prime Minister from 1967-71, 1971-1977 and again during 1980-84, not a single woman was appointed as a cabinet minister.
However, the second and third ministries of Indira Gandhi included Dr Sarojini Mahishi, Nandini Satpathy, Sushila Rohatgi and Saroj Khaparde as ministers of state.
Rajiv Gandhi’s cabinet had only one woman as a Cabinet minister. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s first government also had one woman as a Cabinet minister.
Both terms of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA governments had 10 women ministers each.
The eleven women ministers in PM Modi’s council of ministers include:
Nirmala Sitharaman has retained finance ministry in the cabinet reshuffle. She is India’s first full-time female finance minister. In 2017, she was appointed as the defence minister, being only the second woman after Indira Gandhi to hold the post.
Smriti Irani continued to head the women and child development ministry in the new cabinet. However, she was replaced as minister of the textiles by Piyush Goyal. Irani was human resource development minister from May 2014 to July 2016 and minister for information and broadcasting from July 2017 to May 2018. She is India’s first woman to hold office as Union minister for human resource development and as Union minister of textiles.
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti
Niranjan Jyoti has been given charge as MoS in ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution and the ministry of culture. In November 2014, Niranjan Jyoti, 54, was named minister of state for food processing industries. She was appointed as the minister of state in ministry of rural development in PM Modi’s 2019 cabinet.
Renuka Singh Saruta
Renuka Singh Saruta is the minister of state of tribal affairs in the revamped cabinet. She is a BJP MP from Chhattisgarh’s Surguja. Saruta serves as the vice-president of the BJP’s ST cell and represents the Gond community.
She is the new Union minister of state for agriculture and farmers welfare. Karandlaje, 54, is a Lok Sabha member from Udupi Chikmagalur in Karnataka and is serving her second term in the Lower House.
Darshana Vikram Jardosh
In the revamped cabinet, Darshana will be serving as the minister of state in the ministry of textiles and minister of state in the ministry of railways. Darshana, 60, is a Lok Sabha MP for Surat in Gujarat, serving her 3rd term as MP.
The 54-year-old Delhi BJP leader took oath as a Union minister of state. She has been assigned the ministry of external affairs and ministry of culture. Lekhi, is a Lok Sabha member from New Delhi and is serving her second term as an MP. She is a Supreme Court lawyer and social worker.
Annpurna Devi took charge as the minister of state in the ministry of education. Devi, 51, is a first-time Lok Sabha MP from Kodarma in Jharkhand. She has also been a four-time MLA from Jharkhand and Bihar and has served as a cabinet minister in the Jharkhand government.
Sushri Pratima Bhoumik
Pratima Bhoumik is the minister of state in the ministry of social justice and empowerment. Bhoumik, 52, is a first-time Lok Sabha MP for Tripura West in Tripura. She is also the first ever permanent resident of Tripura to join the Union cabinet.
Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar
Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar took charge as the Union minister of state for health and family welfare. She is a Lok Sabha MP for Dindori in Maharashtra, serving her 1st term as MP. She has been awarded as Best Women Parliamentarian in December 2019.
Anupriya Singh Patel
Anupriya Patel has been appointed as the minister of stater in the ministry of commerce and industry. Patel, 40, is a two-time Lok Sabha member from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.