Nirmala Sitharaman emerged as the biggest gainer of the cabinet reshuffle that took place on Sunday afternoon as she has bagged the heavyweight Defence portfolio.
Sitharaman became India’s first woman Defence Minister since Indira Gandhi held the charge.
Sitharaman, who earlier held the Commerce portfolio as a Minister of State, was elevated along with Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to the cabinet rank.
As the Defence Minister, Sitharaman will be a member of the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security whose members include the Prime Minister, Home Minister, External Affairs Minister and the Finance Minister.
Piyush Goyal replaced Suresh Prabhu in the Railway Ministry.
Prabhu was shifted to the Commerce and Industry ministry, while Pradhan and Naqvi retained their portfolios of Oil and Gas and Minority Affairs respectively. Goyal will continue to head the Coal Ministry along with Railways.
Nitin Gadkari replaced cabinet minister Uma Bharti as water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation minister.
Bharti will now take care of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Pradhan was given the additional charge of Skill Development Ministry.
The Prime Minister also reposed faith in the administrative capabilities of three former government officials by giving them independent charge of crucial portfolios.
Former diplomat Hardeep Puri and former IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam have been made MoS (Independent charge) of Housing and Urban Development and Tourism respectively. R K Singh, former Home Secretary, was given charge of Power and New and Renewable Energy portfolios. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore replaced Vijay Goel in the Sports Ministry.
The cabinet rejig saw nine new faces being inducted.
(With inputs from PTI)