Chandigarh, Jun 6: Hours after Cabinet consultations following the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday evening re-jigged the portfolios of most of the ministers, including Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Barring four, there were changes in the portfolios of all the ministers in the shake-up, which the Chief Minister said would help further streamline the government systems and processes, and bring more transparency and efficacy into the various departments.
With the Indian National Congress government in the state nearing the mid-term mark, Capt Amarinder hoped the exercise would also re-energise his team and inject dynamism in the working of the major departments.
The Chief Minister, who had hinted at changes in the portfolios of his Council of Ministers after the completion of the poll process, has allocated the crucial Local Government to his senior-most colleague Brahm Mohindra, who was earlier handling Health and Family Welfare, which has now been entrusted to Balbir Singh Sidhu.
Navjot Sidhu allotted power
Local Government was earlier with Navjot Singh Sidhu, who now gets Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources. His other previous portfolios of Tourism and Cultural Affairs go to Charanjit Singh Channi, who retains Technical Education, Industrial Training and Employment Generation, with his Science and Technology charge taken over by the Chief Minister.
Mr Balbir Sidhu’s portfolio of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy has been entrusted, under the new scheme of things, to Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, along with Higher Education. Mr Bajwa also retains Rural Development and Panchayats. He has been given Higher Education and Animal Husbandry because the government intends to give greater priority to these sectors.
However, Mr Bajwa has been divested of Housing and Urban Development, which the Chief Minister has handed over to Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, in place of Revenue, which goes to Gurpreet Singh Kangar, who is also handling Rehabilitation and Disaster Management.
Manpreet retains Finance
Manpreet Singh Badal continues to take care of Finance, Planning and Programme Implementation but the Chief Minister has decided to take Governance Reforms into his own fold. School Education has been shifted from Om Prakash Soni to Vijay Inder Singla, who retains Public Works but hands over Information Technology to Captain Amarinder. Soni will now take care of Medical Education & Research, Freedom Fighters and Food Processing departments.
In addition to Sports & Youth Affairs, Rana Gurmeet Sodhi will now also be in charge of NRI Affairs, which was under the Chief Minister’s purview earlier. Transport has been moved from Aruna Chowdhary’s basket and handed over to Ms Razia Sultana, who retains Water Supply but has been divested of Higher Education. Ms Aruna Chowdhary takes over the Social Security, Women & Child Development departments.
The four ministers in whose portfolios no changes have been made are Sadhu Singh Dharamsot (Forests, Printing & Stationery, SC/BC Welfare), Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa (Cooperation, Jails), Sunder Sham Arora (Industries & Commerce), and Bharat Bhushan Ashu (Food & Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs).