Prime Minister Narendra Modi may induct New Development Bank President K V Kamath and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Swapan Dasgupta into his council of ministers, news agency IANS reported on Saturday. Kamath, 72, may get the minister of state (MoS) for finance portfolio, while Dasgupta, 64, may become MoS in the human resource development (HRD) ministry, the agency said quoting highly-placed sources.
With the Modi government having completed nearly eight months of its second term, speculation is rife regarding the first major reshuffle of the Cabinet and the council of ministers. A reshuffle is expected after the upcoming Budget session of Parliament. The reports of technocrats like Kamath and Dasgupta’s induction have come amid widespread perception that the government is short of technical expertise in key ministries.
Kamath currently heads the New Development Bank, also known as the BRICS Bank, headquartered in Shanghai. He has been the chairman of ICICI Bank and Infosys earlier.
Kamath may over time “grow in the role”, IANS said, hinting that he may become finance minister sometime in the future.
India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the July-September quarter came in at a 26-quarter low of 4.5 per cent. While the Centre is still hoping for a recovery in the second half of the year, many external agencies don’t share its optimism, with even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cutting its growth forecast for 2019-20 to 5 per cent from 6.1 per cent earlier.
Dasgupta, a right-wing ideologue, has long been seen as one of those who could be elevated by the administration, especially after his work in West Bengal’s BJP unit during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The HRD ministry has been under siege in recent weeks with all major central universities facing unrest on the campuses.
IANS also reported that among others, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant may be among the technocrats who may be considered if the government decides that it wants to strengthen the experts’ bench, while there was also the likelihood of Suresh Prabhu, who earlier held the charge of commerce and industry and railways ministry making a comeback into the Cabinet.