The cabinet of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underwent a major reshuffle on Sunday combining experience with youth but the PM rued that Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi could not be brought in as the latter wanted to still concentrate on party affairs.
The PM said his new cabinet is a mixture of youth and experience but said he was sad that Rahul Gandhi again refused to be a minister.
He hoped that this is the last major reshuffle before 2014 general elections.
A major cabinet reshuffle was effected with the swearing in of 22 new ministers, including many among the existing ministers who were either promoted to cabinet ranks or given independent charge.
Salman Khurshid is the new External Affairs Minister. M. Veerappa Moily is the Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister while Pawan Kumar Bansal got Railways.
President of India Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of secrecy and office to the new ministers at Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
The cabinet rank ministers who took oath are K Rahman Khan, Dinshaw Patel, Ajay Maken, Pallam Raju, Ashwini Kumar, Harish Rawat and Chandresh Kumari Katoch.
Ashwini Kumar is the new law minister of India while K Rahman Khan would be holding minority affairs portfolio.
The two ministers of state with independent charge sworn in are Manish Tewari, who was the Congress spokesperson, and Telugu actor turned politician K Chiranjeevi. While the former became Information and Broadcasting Minister, the latter is the new tourism minister of India.
The ministers of state who were inducted in the government are Shashi Tharoor, Kodi Kunil Suresh, Tariq Anwar (NCP), K Jayasurya Prakash Reddy, Rani Nara, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhry, A H Khan Chowdhry, S Satyanarayana, Ninong Ering, Deepa Dasmunshi, Porika Balram Naik, Dr Smt Krupa Ravi Killi and Lalchand Kataria.
A total of 17 new faces would be seen in the new ministry while Andhra Pradesh got maximum representation with six chosen from the state roiled by the demand for a separate Telangana state.
Deepa Dasmunshi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who are from West Bengal, are two leaders from the state staunchly opposed to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee whose Trinamool Congress walked out of the UPA over economic reforms like FDI in multi-brand retail.
A H Khan Chowdhury is another West Bengal leader (from Malda) who was sworn in. He is the brother of late railway minister ABA Ghani Khan.
In perhaps the last major cabinet reshuffle of the UPA before the 2014 general elections, Congress-led UPA tried to infuse young blood.