Thumbnail sketches of India’s new cabinet ministers

May 27th, 2009 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Following are the thumbnail sketches of the 33 ministers in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet:
Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister

Age: 76 years

Academic qualifications: First class honours in economics from Cambridge University, UK, in 1957. D. Phil in economics from Nuffield College, Oxford University in 1962.

Experience: Joined the government in 1971 as economic adviser in the commerce ministry and in 1972 became chief economic adviser in the finance ministry. He was secretary, finance ministry, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, governor of the Reserve Bank of India, economic adviser to prime minister Chandra Shekhar, and chairman of the University Grants Commission.

As finance minister from 1991 to 1996, he ushered in a comprehensive policy of economic reforms that is now recognised worldwide.

Pranab Mukherjee, Finance:

Age: 74 years

Academic qualifications: M.A (History), M.A (Political Science), LL.B, D. Ltt.(Honoris Causa). Educated at Vidyasagar College, Suri (Birbhum), then affiliated to Calcutta University, West Bengal.

Experience: A troubleshooter for the Congress, he has done several key ministries, including external affairs, defence, finance, and commerce. He took charge of the government when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was hospitalised in February.

P. Chidambaram, Home

Age: 64 years

Academic qualifications: Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School. Earlier, he did a bachelors in science from Presidency College, Chennai and then a bachelor of law degree from the law college of the University of Madras, Chennai.

Experience: He has worked as finance and commerce ministers in various governments. Economists acclaim his “dream-budget” of 1996-97, in which he brought discipline in government spending and launched an ambitious tax reform programme to tackle an unwieldy fiscal deficit. He was home minister in the outgoing government.

S.M. Krishna, External Affairs

Age: 77 years

Academic qualifications: B.A, B.L, M.C.L, (Texas). He has studied at Maharaja’s College, Mysore, Government Law College, Bangalore and Southern Methodist University, Dallas Texas (US). He is a Fulbright Scholar-Graduate student from George Washington University, Washington DC.

Experience: He was a union minister of state for industry and finance in the early eighties, chief minister of Karnataka (1999-2004) and Maharashtra governor since 2004. He was chief minister of Karnataka from 1999 to 2004.

A.K. Antony, Defence

Age: 68 years

Academic qualifications: B.A. B.L.

Experience: Started political and social activities from school days and was Councillor of School Union way back in 1956-57. Became the president of the Kerala unit of the Congress thrice, the first time in 1973. Thrice chief minister with the first stint in 1977 and the last in 2001-04. Became a union cabinet minister for the first time in 1993 when he was made in charge of civil supplies and consumer affairs and then in 2005 he was given the important defence portfolio.

Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), Railways

Age: 54 years

Academic qualifications: M.A., Ph.D., B.Ed., LL.B.

Experience: A grassroots leader known for her simple life, she split the Congress in West Bengal in 1997 and set up the Trinamool Congress. Her party soon became the primary opposition to the state’s Communist government. She became union railways minister in 1999. A strong advocate of reservation for women in parliament, on Dec 11, 1998 she held a Samajwadi Party MP Daroga Prasad Saroj by the collar and dragged him out of the well of the Lok Sabha because he was protesting against the Women’s Reservation bill.

Sharad Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party), Agriculture, Food and Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution

Age: 69 years

Academic qualifications: Bachelor of Commerce

Experience: A grassroots leader who enjoys cordial relations across the political spectrum, Sharad Pawar was four time chief minister of Maharashtra and was defence minister in the Narasimha Rao government. His name was considered for the prime minister’s post after Rajiv Gandhi’s death. Pawar subsequently quit the Congress and set up NCP.

Sushil Kumar Shinde

Age: 68 years

Academic qualifications: BA Honours from Dayanand College, Solapur and LLB from Shivaji University. He has been a police sub-inspector and a lawyer.

Experience: A former union power minister, Shinde, a Dalit leader from Maharashtra, was the state’s chief minister from 2003 to 2004 and presented as many as nine budgets as its finance minister. He was also governor of Andhra Pradesh.

Murli Deora

Age: 72 years

Academic qualifications: Bachelor of Arts

Experience: Was union minister for petroleum and natural gas in the last government. In 1998-99 was the chairman of Lok Sabha’s standing committee on finance. Highly connected in business and international circles.

Anand Sharma

Age: 56 years

Academic qualifications: A lawyer by profession, he did his LLB from the Faculty of Law, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla.

Experience: A Rajya Sabha member from Himachal Pradesh, Sharma was one of the founder members of National Students Union of India (NSUI) and had served as state president and national general secretary. He became the Indian Youth Congress president in 1985.

He was first elected to parliament in 1984 at the age of 31. Was a minister of state for external affairs and held independent charge of the information and broadcasting ministry in the outgoing government for several months.

Meira Kumar

Age: 64 years

Academic qualifications: M.A., LL.B, Advanced Diploma in Spanish language. Educated at Indraprastha College and Miranda House, University of Delhi

Experience: Daughter of legendary Congress leader Jagjivan Ram. Resigned from foreign service in 1985 to join politics. A cabinet minister for Social Justice and Empowerment in the Manmohan Singh government (2004-1009) this is Kumar’s fifth term in parliament; she was elected for the first time in 1984. She won thrice from Delhi’s Karol Bagh seat, before she shifted to Sasaram in Bihar, her late father’s constituency.

Kapil Sibal

Age: 61

Academic qualifications: Masters in history and an LL.M. He studied at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and Harvard Law School, USA

Experience: Minister for science and technology and earth sciences in the outgoing government. He has won the second time from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi. He enjoys a clean reputation and took quite a few initiatives in the science and technology ministry.

C.P. Joshi

Age: 58

Academic qualifications: Masters in Physics and PhD in psychology from the MLS University in Udaipur.

Experience: Had four stints in the Rajasthan assembly. Joshi was a cabinet minister in Rajasthan from 1998 to 2003 and held important portfolios like education, panchayati raj, rural development, public health engineering, policy planning and information technology.

Was appointed state Congress chief and is being credited for the Congress victory in the December assembly elections and later in the Lok Sabha elections when the party got 20 of the 25 seats.

Ambika Soni

Age: 65

Educational qualification: B.A. (Hons.), Diplome Superiore en Langue Francaise, Post-Graduate Diploma in Spanish Art and Literature Educated at Indraprastha College, Delhi University, Alliance Francaise, Bangkok and University of Havana, Cuba.

Experience: A Rajya Sabha member, she was the first woman to become Youth Congress president in 1975. She took a break from politics to be with her diplomat husband Uday C. Soni. She returned to politics to head the women’s wing in 1998. Soni was appointed as minister for culture and tourism in 2006.

Vayalar Ravi

Age: 71 years

Academic qualifications: MA, LLB

Experience: Was the founder general secretary of the student’s wing of the Congress party, Kerala Students Union. A two time Lok Sabha member, first in 1971. Elected to the upper house thrice, first in 1994, and is currently a Rajya Sabha member. Was elected twice to the state assembly and in his second stint was the home minister (1982-86) in the cabinet of K. Karunakaran. Became a federal minister for the first time in 2006, holding the overseas Indian affairs portfolio.

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Age: 60 years

Academic qualification: M.Sc. Zoology from Kashmir University.

Experience: Started his political career as a block president of Congress of Bhalesa in mountainous Doda district of Jammu from 1973 to 1975 and rose to become president of All India Youth Congress in 1980. In the same year, he got elected to the 7th Lok sabha from Washim in Maharashtra.

M. Veerappa Moily

Age: 69 years

Academic qualifications: B.A. and B.L.

Experience: He was chief minister of Karnataka from 1992 to 1994. He is the chairman of Congress’ future challenges committee to chalk out long term strategies of the party.

As chairman of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), he brought out voluminous reports that were widely appreciated in the government. His task as head of the commission has been a crucial one and his reports, especially the one on terrorism, was hailed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had suggested that the government would implement it after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

S. Jaipal Reddy

Age: 67 years

Academic qualifications: M.A.(English), Bachelor of Journalism from Osmania University, Hyderabad.

Experience: As the union cabinet minister for information and broadcasting in 1997-1998, he introduced the Prasar Bharati Bill for providing autonomy to Doordarshan and All India Radio. He played a key role in introduction of new FM radio channels in India and expansion of the same.

He was cabinet minister for urban development in the last government and is credited for the Delhi Master Plan. After the success of Delhi Metro Rail Project, he sanctioned Metro Rail Works for Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Kamal Nath

Age: 63 years

Academic qualifications: He was educated at the prestigious Doon School in Dehra Dun and subsequently obtained his bachelor’s degree in commerce from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

Experience: An eight-time MP from Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath’s tenure as union commerce and industry minister witnessed major trade policy initiatives. For the first time, a comprehensive Foreign Trade Policy (2004-09) has been announced laying out a coherent roadmap with a twin focus on exports as well as employment. Major bilateral trade initiatives were taken with countries like China and Pakistan. He has also been a union minister of state for environment with independent charge.

B.K. Handique

Age: 75 years

Academic qualifications: M.A. from Calcutta University.

Experience: Six-term MP from Jorhat in Assam, Handique is a known Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist and a non-controversial leader who served as minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers in the last government.

The only representative from the northeast in the new cabinet, he was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1991 and re-elected in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls.

Virbhadra Singh

Age: 75 years

Academic qualifications: He did his MA in history from Delhi University.

Experience: Five-time former Himachal Pradesh chief minister and five-time MP, he belongs to the former royal family of Bushehr state.

A. Raja (DMK)

Age: 47 years

Academic qualifications: B.Sc, BL and ML

Experience: He is entering the Lok Sabha for the fourth time in a row since 1996. Though he had been minister of state for rural development, health and family welfare and cabinet minister for environment, his stint as the cabinet minister for communication and information technology was mired in the spectrum allocation controversy. He is one of the DMK’s propaganda secretaries.

Dayanidhi Maran (DMK)

Age: 42 years

Academic qualifications: B.A. Economics

Experience: The second son of former union minister and DMK leader Murasoli Maran and the grand nephew of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, he was appointed a cabinet rank minister for communications and information technology during his first Lok Sabha stint.

He was instrumental in bringing in electronics hardware investments to the country. However, DMK patriarch Karunanidhi asked him to quit over a family dispute.

Mallikarjun Kharge

Age: 67 years

Academic qualification: B.A., LLB

Experience: Won Karnataka assembly elections nine times in a row, eight times from Gurumitkal and once from Chitapur, both in Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency. First win was in 1972 and the ninth in 2008. Elected to Lok Sabha from Gulbarga (SC) constituency for the first time in 2009.

G.K. Vasan

Age: 45 years

Academic qualification: BA

Experience: Son of G.K. Moopanar, a Congress heavyweight during the Indira Gandhi period and the founder of Tamil Maanila Congress, Vasan was a minister of state for statistics with independent charge in the outgoing government. After being elected the leader of Tamil Maanila Congress, he merged the party with Congress.

M.K. Azhagiri (DMK)

Age: 58 years

Academic qualification: BA

Experience: Eldest son of DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi, he was sent to Madurai to look after the party affairs in the southern districts to pave the way for his brother M.K. Stalin’s progress towards becoming Karunanidhi’s political heir.

He scored a hat-trick for DMK by securing victories in three assembly by-elections in Madurai Central, Madurai West and Thirumangalam constituencies. He was made DMK’s south zone organising secretary.

Farooq Abdullah

Age: 71 years

Academic qualifications: MBBS from SMS Medical College Jaipur.

Experience: He is son of founder National Conference leader Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and has twice been the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pawan Kumar Bansal

Age: 60 years

Academic qualifications: B.Sc., L.LB. Educated at Yadvindra Public School, Patiala, Government College, Chandigarh, Department of Law, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Experience: Was one of the key persons in the think-tank of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Was minister of state for finance in the previous UPA government.

Manohar Singh Gill

Age: 72 years

Academic qualifications: Senior Cambridge, B.A. (Honours), M.A., Ph.D., Diploma in Development Studies, University of Cambridge, Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa). Educated at Punjab Agriculture University, Panjab University, Haryana Agriculture University, Madras University and Guwahati University; Honorary Fellow, Queens’ College, Cambridge, UK.

Experience: Well known bureaucrat/civil servant. Has been secretary in union chemicals and agriculture and chemicals and agriculture, then election commissioner in 1993. Was chief election commissioner from 1996-2001. Elected to Rajya Sabha on Congress ticket in 2004 and was sports minister in the previous UPA government.

Kumari Selja

Age: 46 years

Academic qualifications: M.A., M.Phil. Educated at Convent of Jesus and Mary, New Delhi and Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Experience: Elected to Lok Sabha in 1991 at the age of 29. Became union deputy minister and later minister of state for HRD. She was minister of state (independent charge) for housing and urban poverty alleviation in the previous government.

Kantilal Bhuria

Age: 58

Academic qualifications: Has done M.A. and LL.B. Educated at Chandrashekhar Azad College, district Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh)

Experience: Union minister of state for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution in the last government.

Subodh Kant Sahay

Age: 57 years

Academic qualifications: B.Sc, L.L.B. Educated at A.N.College, Patna and Ranchi University

Experience: Elected to Lok Sabha for the first time in 1989, Sahay was union minister of state, home affairs, from April 1990 to November 1990 and union minister of state, information and broadcasting from November 1990 to June 1991.

Re-elected to 14th Lok Sabha in 2004, and made union minister of state (independent charge), food processing. Then elevated to cabinet rank in 2006.

Vilasrao Deshmukh

Age: 64 years

Academic qualifications: B.Sc. & B.A. through M.E.S. Garware College, Pune and then Ll.B. from ILS College, Pune, both affiliated to Pune University.

Experience: A grassroots politician, he was elected ’sarpanch’ (head) of the village where he was born, Babalgaon (Latur district), in 1974.

He worked his way up to become the chief minister twice, October 1993 to January 2003 and November 2004 to December 2008. Since 1980, Deshmukh handled over a dozen ministries and earned the reputation of being a good administrator with a sense of humour.

Mukul B. Wasnik

Age: 50 years

Academic qualifications: MBA

Experience: He hails from a Congress family loyal to the Nehru-Gandhi clan. His father Madhukar Wasnik was also a member of parliament from Buldana constituency in eastern Maharashtra.

In 1984, he stood from there and was elected, repeating his feat twice later. He was a minister for sports and youth affairs in the P.V. Narasimha Rao ministry (1991-96). This time (May 2009), he was elected from Ramtek constituency. Close to the late prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, Wasnik is a prominent backward class leader of the state.

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