Sources say that in a series of meetings starting Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reviewing the performance of select ministries, especially in the second wave of COVID-19, amid reports of a possible cabinet expansion.
A meeting this evening between three top BJP leaders – PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda – indicates major changes based on the assessment of ministers’ performance. Some ministers were also present in today’s meeting.
There is also talk of announcing a big social plan in the next few days as the party gears up for crucial elections next year, including in Uttar Pradesh.
The Prime Minister held a similar meeting with seven ministries for over five hours yesterday at his 7 Lok Kalyan Marg home and assessed the work done by them during the April-May COVID crisis, when the number of virus cases and deaths were increased. scale was observed. The government was not caught ready. Union ministers he met included Dharmendra Pradhan, Prakash Javadekar and Hardeep Puri.
Sources said it is an annual exercise that usually takes place before the anniversary of the Modi government, but this time it was delayed due to the pandemic.
Since this is a performance review, it has fueled speculation of cabinet expansion, which is said to be long overdue. There are about half a dozen ministers who have more than one ministry.
The Prime Minister can have 79 ministers, which means there are over two dozen vacancies in the Union Cabinet.
The review meeting comes days after the prime minister announced that the Center would take back control of vaccination from states and provide free vaccines to all people above 18 from June 21.
Sources said yesterday’s meeting started at 5 pm and went on till 10 pm. Shri Nadda was also present.
Government sources said the ministries made brief presentations on various decisions taken by them.
Under review were the Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Steel, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Usually every month the cabinet meeting is followed by the council of ministers meeting. But this time the meeting was held independently.
The meetings come amid criticism against PM Modi’s government for India’s handling of the deadly second virus wave and slow vaccine roll-out.