Nirmala Sitharaman is new defence minister, Piyush Goyal gets railways

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Who will be promoted and which minister will get Railways and Defence?

"It is a very big responsibility", said Sitharaman. Indira Gandhi had earlier held the defence portfolio twice, but that was in addition to being Prime Minister.

Significantly, while Sitharaman is ranked 26 in the Cabinet hierarchy, she is the first among the third generation to be a part of the prestigious Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which also includes Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, apart from the Prime Minister.

While speaking on Piyush Goyal as his successor, Prabhu said the former is like younger brother to him and Goyal will bring a new thinking and would be successful.

As for surprises, the PM inducted two prominent retired bureaucrats, Hardeep Singh Puri and Alphons Kannanthanam, for housing and urban affairs and tourism and information technology respectively.

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R K Singh, former Home Secretary, was given charge of Power and New and Renewable Energy portfolios.

Mr Prabhu, who had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and offered to resign after the train accidents last month, had been absent from his Rail Bhavan office from August 23.

Nitin Gadkari, who was holding Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, will also head the Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry. Both have been made ministers of state (independent charge). Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore replaced Vijay Goel in the Sports MInistry. The remaining six are Shiv Pratap Shukla (Finance), Ashwini Choubey (Health), Virendra Kumar (Social Justice and Minority Affairs), Anant Kumar Hegde (Skill Development), Gajendra Shekhawat (Agriculture) and Satyapal Singh (HRD & Water Resources).

New faces will be inducted into the Union Government today.

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