The government on Thursday revamped the Cabinet Committees to include Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in four more panels. Singh was part of only two Cabinet Committees – security and economic affairs – in an order issued on Wednesday.
In a new order issued on Thursday evening, Singh was added to four more committees – the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, the Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth, and the Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development.
Singh was the home minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first Cabinet.
As many as eight new committees were formed on Wednesday. Of these, Modi is part of six panels, excluding the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation and the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. Home Minister Amit Shah finds a place on all eight panels.
The Cabinet Committee on Accommodation will be headed by Amit Shah, and the panel on parliamentary affairs by Singh. All other committees will be chaired by the prime minister. Modi and Shah are the only members of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. Several other ministers as well as senior bureaucrats are “special invitees” on the eight committees.
The committees are the driving force behind all policy decisions, which must then be approved by the Union Cabinet.
“Generally the second person sworn in [to office, Rajnath Singh] is considered the No 2 in government,” BK Chaturvedi, who served as cabinet secretary during the Manmohan Singh-led government, told Hindustan Times. However, he added, “It is clear now that it is the home minister [Amit Shah] who has been given a lot of importance.”