Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reshuffled his Council of Ministers. Nine new faces were inducted whereas four Ministers of State (IC) were elevated to Cabinet rank namely; Dharmendra Pradhan, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
The new faces include four former bureaucrats and five Members of Parliament namely; Raj Kumar Singh (Retd IAS), Satya Pal Singh (Retd IPS), Alphons Kannanthanam (Retd IAS), Hardeep Singh Puri (Retd IFS), Shiv Pratap Shukla (MP), Ananth Kumar Hegde, Virendra Kumar, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
A brief introduction of newly inducted ministers:
Raj Kumar Singh (Retd IAS:1975:BH):
Former Union Home Secretary Raj Kumar Singh, a Lok Sabha MP from Arrah (Bihar), is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Health and Family Welfare, Personnel, Pensions and Public Grievances and Law & Justice.
In an illustrious career before, he served in multiple important roles of responsibility including Defence Production Secretary and Joint Secretary Home; as well as heading Home, Industries, Public Works and Agriculture amongst other departments in the Bihar Government. He is known for his contributions to schemes for Police Modernization and Prison Modernization, and laying down a framework for Disaster Management.
A well-read man, Raj Kumar Singh studied English Literature at St. Stephens College, New Delhi, and got a Bachelors Degree in Law thereafter. He also went on to study at the RVB Delft University in Netherlands.
Satya Pal Singh (IPS):
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Satya Pal Singh (Retd IPS:1980) is a Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat (UP). He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Offices of Profit. Born in Basauli village in Baghpat, Satya Pal Singh has a MSc and MPhil in Chemistry, MBA in Strategic Management from Australia, MA in Public Administration as well as a PhD in Naxalism. He is known for breaking the backbone of organised crime syndicates in Mumbai in the 1990s.He served
The Maharashtra cadre IPS has been recognized with medals like the Antrik Suraksha Sewa Padak by Government of India in 2008 and a Special Service Medal for extraordinary work in the Naxalite areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in 1990.
He has authored books on tribal conflict resolution and Naxalism. He is a scholar of Vedic studies and Sanskrit, and regularly delivers lectures on spirituality, religious harmony and corruption.
Alphons Kannanthanam (Retd IAS:1979:KL)
Alphons Kannanthanam is also a practicing advocate. He earned fame as Delhi’s Demolition Man when he was Commissioner of the Delhi Development Authority. He had cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings. This got him listed in Time Magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders in 1994.
Born in a non-electrified Manimala village in Kottayam district to a World War-II veteran, he pioneered the literacy movement in India as District Collector of Kottayam by making it the first 100% literate town in India in 1989.
Alphons set up Janshakti, an NGO in 1994, to get citizens to believe in their ability to make government accountable to people. He was elected as an Independent Member of Legislative Assembly for Kanjirappally in Kerala from 2006 to 2011.
Hardeep Singh Puri (Red IFS:1974):
Former career Diplomat Hardeep Puri is known for his experience and expertise in foreign policy and national security. Currently he is the President and Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank, and was the Vice President of International Peace Institute, New York.
Puri’s distinguished four-decade career in diplomacy spanning the multilateral arena, included critical roles of Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador to Brazil and the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative of India to Geneva.
As Head of the Indian Delegation to the UN Security Council, Hardeep Puri had served as Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN as well as President of the United Nations Security Council. An alumnus of The Hindu College, Delhi University, Hardeep Puri was a student leader and active during the JP movement. He briefly taught at St. Stephens College before joining the IFS.
Shiv Pratap Shukla:
Pratap Shukla, Rajya Sabha MP from UP, is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development. He was elected a Member of the UP Legislative Assembly for 4 consecutive times in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1996. He served as a Cabinet Minister in the UP government for 8 years, and is known for his work in Rural Development, Education and Prison reform during his tenure.
A Law Graduate with an LLB from Gorakhpur University, Shiv Pratap Shukla started off early in politics as a student leader in the 1970s. He was imprisoned for 19 months under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during the Emergency.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey:
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, a Lok Sabha MP from Buxar (Bihar), is member of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates and Standing Committee on Energy and a Member of Central Silk Board as well. A BSc (Hons) in Zoology, he has a special interest in Yoga.
Choubey has been elected for five consecutive terms to the Bihar Legislative Assembly. He has held important portfolios including Health, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering as a Cabinet Minister of the Government of Bihar for 8 years.
Starting early in politics as the President of the Student`s Union of Patna Universit Choubey was an active part of the JP movement in the 1970s. He was taken into custody during the Emergency under MISA.
He is credited to have raised the slogan “Ghar – Ghar me ho Shouchalaya ka nirman, Tabhi hoga Ladli Bitiya ka Kanyadaan”, and has helped construct 11,000 toilets for Mahadalit families. Having faced the disastrous Kedarnath floods with his family in 2013, Ashwini Kumar Choubey has authored a book Kedarnath Trasadi on the tragedy.
Virendra Kumar (SC):
Virendra Kumar, a Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgah (MP), has had a distinguished career in Public Service as a 6 term Lok Sabha MP. He is the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour, and has been Chairman of the Joint Committee on Office of Profit and a Member of National Social Security Board. He has been a Member of the Parliamentary Committees on Labour and Welfare, Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Privileges, Petroleum and Natural Gas. Highly qualified academically, Virendra Kumar is armed with an MA in Economics and a PhD in Child Labour.
He had actively participated in the JP movement of the 1970s, and went to jails for 16 months under MISA during the Emergency. He has been engaging youth in removing the barriers of caste and class, and works for building orphanages, schools for divyang and old age homes.
Ananth Kumar Hegde:
Anantkumar Hegde, a Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada (Karnataka), is Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and Human Resource Development. Having been elected as an MP for the first time at the young age of 28 years, Hedge is now a 5th term Lok Sabha MP. He has also been a member of the Spices Board of India for 4 terms. He is a practitioner of Tae-kwon-do, a Korean Martial Art.
During his multiple stints as MP he has been a member of multiple Parliamentary Standing Committees including the likes of Finance, Home Affairs, Human Resource Development, Commerce, Agriculture and External Affairs.
With a deep focus on rural India, Anantkumar Hegde is the Founder President of Kadamba, an NGO working in the field of rural development, rural health, SHGs, rural marketing and other rural welfare programmes.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat:
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur (Rajasthan), is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Chairperson of the Fellowship Committee. He has an MPhil & MA in Philosophy from Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur. As a technology-savvy, progressive farmer; Shekhawat is a role model for the rural community. Known for his simple life style, he is one of the most followed political leaders on Quora globally (a popular Q&A blogging site).
Shekhawat, a sports enthusiast, participated at National and All India Inter University level in Basket Ball. He currently is a Member of the All India Council of Sports and the President of Basketball India Players Association.