9 new faces in Modi’s team have diverse backgrounds, vast experience

9 new faces in Modi’s team have diverse backgrounds, vast experience

Hardeep Singh Puri (Photo: Twitter)

Hardeep Singh Puri, a former IFS officer who joined the BJP ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls, will be among nine new faces to be inducted on Sunday in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers.

The new faces come from diverse backgrounds and have rich administrative experiences. Some of them have professional degrees or PhDs.

Here are names and brief profiles of new ministers.


Hardeep Singh Puri: Puri has been a Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador to Brazil and Britain and Permanent Representative of India to UN in Geneva.

He has served as Chairman of the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Committee as well as the UN Security Council President.

Educated in Delhi University’s Hindu College, he was a student leader and active during the JP movement. He briefly taught at St. Stephens College before joining the IFS.

He is President and Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank and was Vice President of International Peace Institute, New York.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat: A Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan’s Jodhpur, he is member of the Standing Committee on Finance and Chairperson of the Fellowship Committee. A tech-savvy farmer with a simple lifestyle, he is one of the most followed political leaders on Quora Q&A blogging sit).

A sports enthusiast, Shekhawat has participated at national inter-university basket ball tournaments and is President of Basketball India Players Association. He has an MA and MPhil in Philosophy from Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur.

Satya Pal Singh: A Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat and a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, he is a former IPS officer of the 1980 batch, and has been awarded Antrik Suraksha Sewa Padak and a Special Service Medal for extraordinary work in the Maoist areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in 1990.

A Commissioner of Police of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, he helped dismantle organised crime syndicates in Mumbai in the 1990s.

He has written books including on topics like tribal conflict resolution and Maoist violence. A scholar of Vedic studies and Sanskrit, he also delivers lectures on spirituality, religious harmony and corruption.

Born in Basauli village in Baghpat, Singh has a MSc and MPhil in Chemistry, MBA in Strategic Management from Australia, MA in Public Administration and PhD on Maoism.

Kannanthanam J. Alphons: A 1979 batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre, Alphons became famous as Delhi’s Demolition Man when he headed the Delhi Development Authority, having cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings. This got him listed in Time Magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders in 1994.

Born in Manimala village in Kerala’s Kottayam district, he pioneered the literacy movement in India and as District Collector of Kottayam made it the first 100 percent literate town in India in 1989.

Kannanthanam set up NGO Janshakti in 1994, to get citizens to believe in their ability to make government accountable to people.

On retiring from the IAS, he contested Kerala assembly polls in 2006 to become an independent MLA from Kanjirappally. A Member of the Committee to prepare the final draft of the National Education Policy 2017, he also authored “Making A Difference”.

Shiv Pratap Shukla: A Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, Shukla is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development. Elected to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly for four consecutive times in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1996, he was a state Cabinet Minister for eight years and is known for his work in fields of rural development, education and prison reform.

A law graduate from Gorakhpur University, Shukla started as a student leader in the 1970s. He was also a part of the movement against Emergency and was imprisoned for 19 months under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act.

Ashwini Kumar Choubey: Lok Sabha MP from Buxar, Bihar, Choubey is presently a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates and Standing Committee on Energy.

He is also a member of the Central Silk Board. Choubey has been elected for five consecutive terms to the Bihar Assembly and has held important portfolios including Health, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering as state minister for eight years.

Starting early in politics as the President of the Students Union of Patna University, Choubey was an active part of the JP movement in the 1970s and was taken into custody during the Emergency under MISA.

Choubey is credited with the slogan “Ghar – Ghar me ho Shauchalaya ka nirman, Tabhi hoga Ladli Bitiya ka Kanyadaan” and has helped construct 11,000 toilets for Mahadalit families.

He has also authored a book on the Uttarakhand floods of 2013 after facing the situation at Kedarnath with his family. Choubey is a Bachelors of Science in Zoology and has special interest in yoga.

Virendra Kumar: Virendra Kumar is a six-term Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh. He is presently a Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour, and has been Chairman of the Joint Committee on Office of Profit and Member of National Social Security Board. During his stint in Parliament, he has been a Member of the Committees on Labour and Welfare, Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Privileges, Petroleum and Natural Gas.

He was also a part of the JP movement and went to jail for 16 months under MISA during the Emergency.

Hailing from the Scheduled Caste community, Kumar is said to have worked for removing barriers of caste and class and building orphanages, schools and old age homes. He holds a Masters degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Child Labour.

Anantkumar Hegde: A Lok Sabha MP from Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada, he is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and Human Resource Development.

Elected as an MP for the first time at the age of 28, he has been a member of the lower house for five terms. He has been a member of multiple parliamentary standing committees and has also been a member of the Spices Board of India for four terms.

He is the Founder President of Kadamba, an NGO working in the field of rural development, rural health, SHGs, rural marketing and other rural welfare programmes.

He is also a practitioner of Tae-kwon-do.

Raj Kumar Singh: Lok Sabha MP from Arrah, Bihar, Singh is a former Home Secretary. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Health and Family Welfare, Personnel, Pensions and Public Grievances and Law and Justice.

An IAS officer of the 1975 batch, he has served in key positions like Defence Production Secretary and Joint Secretary, Home.

He has headed Home, Industries, Public Works and Agriculture Departments in Bihar Government.

He is known for his contributions to schemes for police modernisation and prison modernisation and laying down a framework for Disaster Management.

Singh studied English Literature at St. Stephens College, New Delhi and later pursued a law degree.