Indian Express

Modi may go for smaller team, technocrats

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The BJP is set to retain the key portfolios of home, defence, finance and external affairs. (Source: PTI) The BJP is set to retain the key portfolios of home, defence, finance and external affairs. (PTI)

The NDA government headed by Narendra Modi is likely to have a leaner Council of Ministers as compared to the UPA government, with an estimated strength of around 50 members. To achieve this, some of the key ministries are likely to be streamlined.

“The plan is to significantly reduce the number of ministers from the UPA’s 70-odd to about 50. This will be done by merging some of the related ministries, helping bring in efficiency in the government,” said a senior BJP leader.

On the drafting board, is a plan to combine the ministries of Power, Coal, Atomic and Renewable Energy into a single Ministry of Energy. Similarly, the ministries of Road Transport and Highways, and Shipping and Ports may be brought together under a Ministry of Transport.

The BJP is set to retain the key portfolios of home, defence, finance and external affairs. Senior party leader Arun Jaitley is reported to be a strong contender for the post of Finance Minister. The NDA allies are expected to be accommodated in the other ministries.

According to sources, technocrats are likely to be inducted in the second tier — as ministers of state or in charge of smaller ministries — to ensure delivery of results. While the portfolios are expected to be finalised over the next two days, Modi will have the final say on the allocation of responsibilities.

“They (technocrats) can give valuable expertise to many of the sectors. But for major portfolios, the new government will appoint party members who have a more comprehensive world view,” said the BJP leader.

Sources said many people have been contacted for these posts. While the names of HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh and ICICI Bank non-executive chairman K V Kamath were earlier doing the rounds, sources said they may be tapped for expertise outside the Cabinet.

The UPA government had 28 Cabinet rank ministers, 11 Ministers of State (independent charge), and 32 Ministers of State.

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