Home Minister Amit Shahfigures in all the Cabinet committees constituted by the government, a development that highlights his importance in the second Modi dispensation.
While Shah is a member of all the eight committees, details of which were released by the government on Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s name figured in all but one of them.
The government has reconstituted six committees to reflect the changes in the new dispensation and formed two new Cabinet panels to deal with issues like investment, growth, employment and skill development, amid concerns over an economic slowdown.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was a home minister in the preceding government and member of six committees, is now a member of only two panels — economic affairs and security. He is not a member of the cabinet committee on political affairs.
The induction of Shah, who is also the BJP president, in the government has led many political observers to believe that he will be the second most powerful person in the new order.
The new appointment has further cemented his position.
Shah had chaired an informal meeting of several Cabinet ministers, including External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, besides Sitharaman, on June 4 over crude oil related issues.
Political sources noted that the government has been careful to maintain almost the same weight of portfolios in the six committees, which existed earlier as well, as Singh as home minister was a member of all of them.
Sitharaman’s predecessor in the finance ministry, Arun Jaitley was a member of all the committees which now figure her. He opted out of the new government over health issues.
Cabinet ministers representing BJP’s allies, including Ram Vilas Paswan, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and Arvind Sawant, are members of a few committees, like the last time.