The Chief Minister will also be in charge of Land and Land Reforms, Information and Cultural Affairs and North Bengal Development departments.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday retained the crucial departments of Home and Health in the allocation of portfolios to the State’s Council of Ministers. Along with these the two crucial portfolios, Ms Banerjee will also be in charge of Land and Land Reforms, Information and Cultural Affairs and North Bengal Development departments.
Earlier in the day 43 ministers, including 24 Cabinet ministers and 10 Ministers of State with independent charge and nine Ministers of State were sworn in the Raj Bhavan’s Throne Room by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
The list of ministers was a mix of old and new faces, giving adequate representation to women and legislators from minority community. Eight women have been inducted into the Cabinet apart from the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers includes seven members of the minority community. Ms. Banerjee also accorded adequate importance to each region and district and members of the Cabinet are from 20 out of 23 districts of the State.
Former Finance Minister Amit Mitra, who did not contest State Assembly polls has been allocated the charge of Finance again and Partha Chatterjee has been appointed Minister of Industry and Commerce Department. Rathin Ghosh will be new Minister of Food and Supplies Department and Gholam Rabbani will be minister in charge of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education.
Senior Minister Subrata Mukherjee will be in charge of Panchayat and Rural Development department. Bratya Basu will be in charge School and Higher Education and Firhad Hakim will be in charge of Transport and Housing Department. Sovandeb Chattopadhyay has been appointed Minister of Agriculture while Bamkim Chandra Hazra will be Minister for Sunderban Affairs.
Manas Ranjan Bhunia, a Rajya Sabha MP from Trinamool Congress who had held key portfolios as a legislator of Congress in the first cabinet of Ms. Banerjee has been given Water Resources Investigation and Development. Siddiqullah Chowdhury retains his portfolio of Mass Education Extension and Library Services and Sashi Panja Women and Child Development.
Ratna De Nag will hold the portfolio Environment, Science and Technology and Sujit Bose gets Fire and Emergency Services. Among the new faces, Sabina Yeasmin has been appointed Minister of State for Irrigation and Waterways, Birbaha Handsa Minister of State for Forest. Former cricketer Manoj Tewari will be Minister of State for Sports.
Ms Banerjee’s Council of Ministers also includes Paresh Chandra Adhikari, a former Minister in Left Front government who has been appointed Minister of State of School Education Department,.
After 43 ministers were sworn in, Ms Banerjee announced that two new Ministers Asima Patra and Partha Bhowmick will be inducted in the State council of Ministers later.
The other key announcements include the nomination of Nirmal Ghosh as the Chief Whip of the Trinamool Congress in the State Assembly and Tapas Roy will function as the deputy Chief Whip. Biman Banerjee has already been appointed Speaker of West Bengal Assembly and Asish Banerjee will serve as Deputy Speaker in the State Assembly.
Later in the day the Chief Minister held a meeting with representatives of different religious groups and urged them to take steps to contain the pandemic. The Chief Minister maintained that she was not in favour of a complete lockdown, but restrictions imposed will continue in the State. Ms Banerjee also welcomed the initiative of Imams of Kolkata not to hold prayers at Red Road on the occasion of upcoming Eid- ul- Fitr this year because of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.