The government has included defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, railway minister Piyush Goyal in the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA), reaffirming their elevation in the Union Cabinet.
Sitharaman and Goyal, along with petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, have also been included as permanent members of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
Six Cabinet committees were reconstituted on September 11 and all except the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) have seen changes after the September 3 ministry reshuffle.
The major change are inclusion of Goyal and Sitharaman in the CCPA which decides on all major political matters. Suresh Prabhu was not a part of CCPA, when he was railway minister.
Goyal’s inclusion is reflective of his rising profile. In December 2014, health minister JP Nadda was included in the CCPA though his predecessor Harsh Vardhan was not part of CCPA.
With Goyal and Sitharaman’s inclusion in CCPA, it is now a 14-member body. BJP allies Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Anant Geete, Ram Vilas Paswan and Ashok Gajapati Raju continue in CCPA.
Another change is in the CCEA, where Goyal, Sitharaman and Pradhan — who were special invitees to the committee — have been included as permanent members of the CCEA following elevation to full Cabinet rank. Suresh Prabhu continues to be part of the CCEA as commerce minister. Similarly, Sitharaman has entered CCS in her capacity as the defence minister.
Among the four bureaucrat-turned-ministers in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, Hardeep Puri is the only one to make it to the Cabinet committees. Puri, in his capacity as minister of state (independent charge) of housing and urban affairs ministry, has been included as a special invitee to the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation.
Social justice minister TC Gehlot has for the first time been included in the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. The two new ministers of state for parliamentary affairs, Vijay Goel and Arjun Ram Meghwal, have been included as special invitees to the panel, in place of their predecessors MA Naqvi and SS Ahluwalia.