Railways minister Suresh Prabhu’s penchant for reforms, his clean image and acceptability across the board makes him a good choice for taking over the affairs of finance ministry, from current finance minister Arun Jaitley who is again holding the dual responsibility of both finance and defense, with Manohar Parrikar’s return to Goa as chief minister.

 

Question is why did Prime Minister Narendra Modi assigned the defense portfolio again to finance minister Arun Jaitley with Manohar Parrikar’s return to Goa as chief minister. We all know that Jaitley had handled these two responsibilities in the initial months of the current NDA government. But, the very fact that both the ministries need full-time attention, in itself.Does this mean that Jaitley will be quickly getting out of this set-up and leave finance ministry?

While he faced a lot of controversies during demonetization as finance minister, for coming up with different reasons for the act, it is now time for PM Modi to look for an alternative – he is undoubtedly the most-trusted minister of the prime minister and, along with the defense minister’s responsibilities, his services are also required in managing the affairs in Parliament, which is set to witness hectic legislative activity after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) victory in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.So, it will be a good idea to bring in a new minister in the finance ministry who can whole-heartedly focus on its affairs – the proposed implementation of goods and services tax (GST) from July, reforms in direct taxes and handling of the worsening NPA situation, demands full attention from the minister-in-charge. Talking about this, if he leaves the ministry before the GST, will it be because he Modi wants to save his love of his life from any other fiasco?

Against this backdrop, Railways minister Suresh Prabhu could be a good choice for PM Modi due to his penchant for reforms, acceptability across the board, and above all, a clean image. He has dealt with the critical power reforms in the earlier NDA government and has been pushing for wide-ranging reforms in the Railways in the current government, which include tariff and subsidy rationalization.Above all, he has the trust of PM Modi to take forward the reform measures initiated by Jaitley – and Modi believes that Prabhu can take the public pressure than Jaitley. I strongly believe that despite of the Modi government’s failure in bringing back the black money, the drive against black money will remain in the forefront of the government agenda for quite some time now and Prabhu may be the right choice to deal with it.
The new perception that Modi government will come up with for Mr. Jaitley will be to focus on further FDI liberalisation {The one they have strongly opposed} and implementation of Make-in-India {event though they support Foreign product} in defense effectively.
A Cabinet rejig is due once the Budget session gets over on April 12, which will become even bigger if home minister Rajnath Singh is handed over the charge of UP chief minister – PM Modi has time to weigh his options, but the problem is there are not too many for handing over crucial cabinet portfolios as the old guards of the BJP are ruled out.
Going ahead, he will have to develop a strong second line of capable ministers, and Prabhu’s elevation as finance minister may be a good beginning.
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