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Modi 3.0: Shah, Rajnath, Nirmala & Jaishankar – What’s the road ahead for 4 top BJP ministers who retained portfolios?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen to stay with the incumbents for the top four ministers in his new cabinet that took oath of office on June 9. The Home affairs remains with Amit Shah, Defence with Rajnath Singh, Finance with Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs with S Jaishankar in Modi 3.0 government as per the portfolios allocated on Monday.

These four cabinet ministers, along with the Prime Minister, are part of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of the Union government that is the final decision-making body on senior appointments in the national security apparatus, defence policy and expenditure, and usually all matters of national security. The National Security Adviser, the Cabinet Secretary and the Defence Secretary have also been attendees of the CCS meetings.

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Here is a brief on what is the road ahead for these top 4 ministers in the Modi 3.0 :

1- Rajnath Singh: Minister of Defence

This will be Rajnath Singh’s second term as Defence Minister of India. For Singh, the Member of Parliament from Lucknow, the top priorities in the new term would likely include a review of the Agnipath scheme for the recruitment into the Armed Forces. Opposition, and allies such as the Janata Dal (United) have demanded a review of this scheme. In fact, Singh had in his last term said that the government was open to amendments in the scheme.

Increasing self-reliance in defence manufacturing and strengthening of country’s border infra along the LOC and LAC in the backdrop of standoffs with China in Eastern Ladakh, is also among the priorities for the Defence Minister, according to a report in the Indian Express

2-Amit Shah: Minister of Home Affairs. Cooperation

Soon after the Home Ministry was allocated to Amit Shah for the second consecutive time, the Gandhinagar Member of Parliament (MP) took to X and said that the government would ‘continue to accelerate and strengthen security.’

Also Read: PM Modi 3.0: Portfolios allocated. Amit Shah gets Home, Nirmala Sitharaman Finance. Complete list of 72 here

For Shah, the top priority is the implementation of the three criminal laws — Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Act. The laws are scheduled to be implemented from July 1.

Among other tasks, Shah’s ministry has to take decisions on the National Population Register (NPR), Census, restoration of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir. Assembly elections are due in the erstwhile state J&K later this year. This will be first state poll in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.

Resolving the ethnic conflict in Manipur also is also among challenges for the Home Ministry.

3- Nirmala Sitharaman: Minister of Finance

Sitharaman takes charge of the Finance Ministry amid global and economic challenges.

The first full budget of Modi 3.0 for the 2024-25 fiscal year is expected to be presented in the Parliament in first fortnight of July. This time, the budget outline is expected to be different, as the PM Modi government has to consider allies, too, unlike earlier governments where the BJP has won an outright majority.

Sitharaman has a task cut out to do the balancing act of fiscal consolidation amid welfare measures, according to a report in Indian Express.

4-S Jaishankar: Minister of External Affairs

Jaishankar, a career diplomat for more than three decades, gets another term as country’s External Affairs Minister.

Among the first tasks for the Foreign Minister would be that India needs to take a call on whether or not to attend the Swiss-hosted conference of peace on June 15-16 for the Russia-Ukraine war. Ukraine initiated the conference and Russia is not participating in it. Speculations say that India might as well decide not to attend the conference at the level of the Prime Minister. But what remains to be seen is whether it will be at the level of the Indian ambassador or a Secretary-rank official from the Ministry of External Affairs, according to a report in Indian Express.

Also Read: JP Nadda joined Narendra Modi cabinet as minister. Who will be the next BJP president?

Then the G7 summit is scheduled to be held in Italy on June 13-15. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has invited Prime Minister Modi for the summit. PM Modi is expected to attend the summit. Foreign Minister Jaishankar may also travel to Italy for the summit.

Jaishankar also needs to handle the Pakistan’s outreach in the last few months, especially after the Nawaz Sharif-led PMLN party has come to power in March this year, with Shehbaz Sharif as the Prime Minister

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