NEW DELHI (AP) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expanded his council of ministers Sunday in a bid to boost the government’s agenda and kick-start the economy.
Twenty-one new ministers took the oath of office at a brief ceremony at the presidential palace in New Delhi.
The portfolios of the new ministers and the reshuffle of the ministries held by other Cabinet and council members were not announced immediately.
Modi, who took office in May after sweeping to power with a massive mandate in elections, now heads a 66-member council of ministers, with 27 of the ministers holding Cabinet rank.
Notable among the new Cabinet ministers is Manohar Parrikar, who resigned Saturday as the chief minister of the state of Goa in western India.
Other newcomers to the council of ministers include Rajyavardhan Rathore, an Olympic silver medallist turned politician, and Babul Supriyo, a playback singer in Indian films who is a first-time lawmaker from West Bengal state.
Modi has been pushing an economic growth agenda that has begun to show results. For the first time, GDP growth increased to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter, after two years of economic slowdown that saw growth remain under five per cent.
Modi has promised to get growth back up to the eight per cent it averaged for a decade up to 2012.
The expansion will come as a relief to several ministers who were holding more than one portfolio. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who held the two heavy-duty portfolios of finance and defence, was widely expected to be relieved of the responsibilities of the defence ministry.