This page is devoted to information about key portofolios of the United Progressive Alliance's Congress-led government. Below you will find our views on the choices and information about the new cabinet members along with information about the ministries they will lead.
All portfolios are important. We will add them to the list as we go along and collect more data. I hope you find this page useful to get started.
Minister - Manmohan Singh
of the most accomplished Indians in public life Dr.Manmohan Singh, 71,is
an economist by training. He earned his PhD from Oxford. He has virtually
held all important positions in the Indian financial sector. From being
the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India to the Finance Minister who
unleashed the era of economic liberalization in 1991.
His credentials as an administrator and policy-maker are respected
across the political spectrum. But his political skills have been called
into question. The only time he contested for the Lower House, the Lok
Sabha, he lost. He is now a member of the Upper House, the Rajya Sabha.
We at Young India believe that with Mrs.Sonia Gandhi's not being directly
involved with day to day governance she will be able to help Dr.Singh
deal with any political challenges that may arise. We do not foresee
Dr.Singh being too distracted from the primary task of governing India.
It must be noted that Dr.Singh is the first non-Hindu Prime Minister
of India. On a personal note we can attest to the fact that Dr.Singh
is a thorough gentleman. A very soft-spoken and focussed individual.
You can find more analysis at our blog.
Affairs/Foreign Minister - K Natwar Singh
Singh, 73, has held key diplomatic positions throughout his career.
Most prominent amongst them was being the Ambassador to Pakistan. He
also served in late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's cabinet as well.
For the last 5 years Mr.Singh has been the foreign policy voice of
the Congress Party. He is a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr.Martin
Luther King, Jr. He is an independent thinker who studied History at
Cambridge. Mr.Singh is a writer of great repute having penned many books
and numerous articles.
He has an internationalist outlook and will lay special emphasis on
strengthening relations with Pakistan in particular. He was the force
behind the Indian parliament passing a resolution condemning the US
occupation of Iraq. The resolution demanded immediate UN intervention.
After his taking over the External Affairs Ministry he has made good
relations with the United States one of the top-most priorities of India's
foreign policy. Expect the relations to grow even closer on a principled
Minister - Palaniappan Chidambaram
58, is a Harvard-graduate and is one of the strongest proponents of
pro-market reforms. He has been somewhat of a political wanderer but
now seems to have returned to his political roots - the Congress Party.
He was Finance Minister from 1996 to 1998 as part of the only non-Congress
non-BJP government ever.
The Indian stock market and business sector have gleefully welcomed
him. His induction is an interesting development. On the one hand it
reassures the business sector on the other it is yet to be seen how
he will modulate his enthusiasm for a more market-oriented approach
to economic policy with the critical social goals the new government
has articulated in its 'Common
Minimum Programme'. Fiscal engineering to manage the growing budget
deficit will be Mr.Chidambaram's greatest challenge.
Minister - Shivraj Patil
a veteran politician, now leads a ministry that just a decade ago was
the second most prominent portfolio after the Prime Minister's. Mr.Patil's
experience as an academic and speaker of the Lower House, the Lok Sabha,
will come in handy as he will have to diplomatically deal with issues
like Kashmir and the secessionist activities in the North-East. He will
have to strike a balance between law enforcement and responding to the
legitimate demands of societies that feel left out. Mr.Patil has held
several cabinet positions in the past.
We must add that many experts have expressed their surprise at Mr.Patil's
induction into the cabinet inspite of his loss in the recent elections.
Many feel that some youthful members of the new government have been
denied by old-timers such as Mr.Patil taking up positions.
Minister - Pranab Mukherjee
another veteran of the Congress Party, is the first Congress defense
minister since the BJP-alliance ordered the 1998 nuclear tests in Pokhran.
Overtly managing the nuclear realities and its consequent geo-political
ramifications will be Mr.Mukherjee's greatest challenge.
Mr.Mukherjee's long political career saw its first electoral victory
just this year. Even though he has held various cabinet and administrative
positions in the past his lack of popular support is an issue. Despite
this lack of popular support he has been able to maintain a very high-profile
in the Congress party and thus has been rewarded with this crucial portfolio.