Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Expands Cabinet, Inducts Nine New Ministers

CM adds nine ministers, including three first-time MLAs, to the state cabinet; announces plans to fill one more cabinet berth later.

Raipur: Chhattisgarh chief minister Vishnu Deo Sai on Friday expanded his cabinet with induction of nine new ministers, three of whom are first time MLAs.

With this, the strength of the Sai-led ministry has increased to 12, one less than the full strength of the state ministry, as per the norms.

“One more cabinet berth will be filled later”, Mr Sai told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony of the new ministers.

The Sai cabinet has representations from scheduled tribe, scheduled caste, other backward classes (OBCs), and general categories.

There are three tribals including the chief minister, one dalit, six OBCs and two generals in the state ministry.

Three first time MLAs, ex-bureaucrat O P Choudhury, Tikam Verma, and Laxmi Rajwade were among the nine new ministers who were sworn-in by governor Biswabhusan Harichandan in the Raj Bhavan here in the afternoon.

With this, the number of first time MLAs in the Sai ministry has gone up to four.

First time BJP MLA Vijay Sharma had taken oath as deputy chief minister along with Mr Sai and another deputy chief minister Arun Sao on December 13.

Other new ministers, inducted in the state cabinet, are Brij Mohan Agrawal, Kedar Kashyap, Ramvichar Netam, Dayaldas Baghel, Lakhan Lal Dewangan and Shyam Vihari Jaiswal.

“Portfolios among the ministers will be allotted very soon”, the chief minister said.

Meanwhile, in another initiative towards fulfilling the ‘Modi Guarantees’ by the state BJP government, Mr Sai late on Thursday approved the proposal to hike the paddy procurement price to Rs 3,100 per quintal from the current Rs 2,640 per quintal.

He also increased the procurement limit of paddy from the farmers to 21 quintals per acre from the current 15 quintal per acre.

Mr Sai also cleared the proposal to implement the “Mahtari Vandan’ scheme envisaging provision of Rs 12,000 per annum each to the poor women.

Earlier, the state cabinet in its first meeting had given the nod to the proposal to allocate houses to the 18 lakh homeless families.

This apart, the chief minister has earlier declared to release pending bonus for 2017 and 2018 on sale of paddy by farmers to the state government on December 25, coinciding the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

They were the key promises made under the ‘Modi Guarantees’.

The state government has made budgetary allocations for these schemes.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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