Kolkata, May 10: At least 43 members of the third cabinet of the Mamata Banerjee government were on Monday sworn-in as ministers during a low-key ceremony at the Raj Bhawan, amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers.
Three TMC leaders Amit Mitra, Bratya Basu, and Rathin Ghosh were sworn in virtually. Mitra is unwell and both Basu and Ghosh are recuperating from COVID-19.
Those who were sworn in include 24 cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state (independent charge).
Eight women were sworn in, and with the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the total number of women has increased to nine.
The portfolios were decided at the first cabinet meeting of the government at the state secretariat.
The chief minister retained the portfolios of Home and Hill Affairs, Personnel and Administration, Health and Family Welfare, Land and Land Reforms and Refugee and Rehabilitation, and the Information and cultural affairs and North Bengal Development.
Almost all the senior ministers in the previous administration, including Amit Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim and Partha Chatterjee, have been retained.
Former India cricketer Manoj Tiwari, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikaris detractor Akhil Giri, senior leader Biplab Mitra and former IPS officer Humayun Kabir are among the 16 new faces.
While most of the ministers retained their old portfolios, among those who were given new charge included Partha Chatterjee, who was made minister for Industry, Commerce, and Enterprise as well as Information Technology and Electronics and Parliamentary affairs.
Chatterjee who was the Industry minister in the first term of the TMC government had been removed from the charge to replace Bratya Basu as the education minister.
Chatterjee continued as the education minister in the second term of the TMC dispensation, but Banerjee named Basu in his place this time.
Md. Ghulam Rabbani is the new minister for Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education.
Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay was given the Agriculture portfolio, while Aroop Biswas, who will continue as the Sports Minister, will be in charge of the power department.
Jyotipriyo Mallick, who was the Food and Supply minister in Banerjee’s last cabinet, was named as the Forest minister while new face Rathin Ghosh was given charge of the Food and Supply department.
Mallick will also be the minister for the Non- Conventional and Renewable Energy Sources department.
New faces Manas Bhunia, Bankim Hazra, Biplab Mitra will be ministers for Water Resources Investigation and Development, Sunderbans Affairs, and Agricultural Marketing departments respectively.
Bhunia was a minister in the first term of the Trinamool Congress government when he was a Congress MLA.
Another newcomer in the cabinet, Pulak Roy was made minister for the Public Health Engineering department.
Chandranath Sinha, who was the fisheries minister in the last term, was given charge of the MSME and Textiles department while Firhad Hakim will be the minister for Transport and Housing.
Hakim was in charge of the Urban Development and Municipal Affairs in the secod term of the TMC government, which will now be looked after by Chandrima Bhattacharya as the minister-of-state (independent charge).
While Pulak Roy was made minister for the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department, Swapan Debnath was given the portfolio of the Animal Resources Development Department, and Saumen Mahapatra was assigned the responsibility of the Irrigation and Waterways Department.
Senior leader Subrata Mukherjee was retained as the minister for Panchayat and Rural Development, Public Enterprises and Industrial Reconstruction department and veteran Amit Mitra will continue as the states Finance Minister.
Sadhan Pande has been given the charge of Consumer Affairs, Self-Help Group, and Self Employment department, which he held in the previous cabinet.
Shashi Panja, who is the only woman among the eight women ministers to get a cabinet rank, will continue as the Women and Child Development and Social Welfare minister.
While Javed Khan retained the Disaster Management and Civil Defence portfolio, veteran Siddhiqullah Chowdhury was entrusted with the same portfolio of Mass Education Extension and Library Services, whch he had in the second term of the TMC government.
Moloy Ghatak will continue looking after the Law, Judicial departments along with the new responsibility of the Public Works department.
He was the Labour minister in the last Cabinet which has now been given to minister-of-state (independent charge), Becharam Manna.
Manna, the TMC MLA from Singur, was a minister in the first term of the Trinamool Congress government.
Chandrima Bhattacharya will continue as minister-of- state in Health and Family Welfare, Land and Land Reforms, and Refugee and Rehabilitation departments.
Former IPS officer Humayun Kabir, who won from Debra seat, was given charge of the Technical Education, Training, and Skill Development department.
Subrata Saha was assigned the responsibility of the Food Processing Industries and Horticulture department.
Ramnagar MLA Akhil Giri was made the Minister of State for Fisheries (Independent charge).
Salboni MLA Srikant Mahato was named as the MoS for MSME and Textile departments.
Pandua MLA Ratna De Nag was given environment, science and technology, and biotechnology department.
Manbazar (ST) MLA Sandhyarani Tudu was made the minister-of-state (independent charge) Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs and MoS for the Parliamentary affairs department.
North Bengal’s Malbazar MLA Bulu Chik Baraik was made the MoS (independent charge) for the backward classes welfare and tribal development department.
Sujit Bose and Indranil Sen will retain their respective departments of Fire and Tourism. Sen will also continue to be an MoS in the information and cultural affairs department.
The Cabinet also gave its nod on making former Bengal Ranji captain Manoj Tiwary the MoS of the sports department, in place of Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who had resigned from the party post.
Santhali actress and MLA from Jhargram Birbaha Hansda was made the Minister of State for Forests.
Keshpur MLA Seuli Saha is the new MoS of Panchyat and Rural Development and Akhruzzaman, MLA from Raghunathganj, will be the MoS for Power.
Paresh Chandra Adhikary, MLA from Mekhliganj, and Sabina Yasmin, Mothabari-MLA were named MoS for School Education and Irrigation and Waterways respectively.
As an MoS, Yasmin will also be looking after the North Bengal Development affairs.
Jyotsna Mandi, Ranibandh MLA is the new MoS for the Food and Supplies department while South 24 Parganas’ Bishnupur-MLA Dilip Mondal is the MoS for the Transport department.
The chief minister later announced that Nirmal Ghosh and Tapas Roy will be the chief whip and deputy chief whip of the party in the state assembly.
Ashish Banerjee will be the deputy speaker, she said. (PTI)PTI