New Delhi: The new Modi council of ministers is at least three years younger than it was before the reshuffle, with the youngest of them — Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik — aged all of 35.
He is one of two ministers aged below 40 in the reshuffled council, the other being fellow Bengal MP Shantanu Thakur, who is 38 and represents Bangaon. In contrast, none of the ministers sworn in after the 2019 Lok Sabha election was aged below 40. Smriti Irani, who was 43 at the time, was the youngest of the ministers who took oath as the Modi government began its second term.
Injecting youth in governance is believed to be among the driving factors of the reshuffle Wednesday, besides punishing perceived shortcomings in performance. The expansion is also believed to have factored in assembly polls in seven states (UP, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat) next year and the 2024 national elections.
There are now 14 ministers below the age of 50 at the Centre, as opposed to only six in the pre-reshuffle council. A total of 36 ministers are aged below 60, in comparison to 16 earlier.
“While the average age of the outgoing council of ministers was 61 years, the average age of the new council of ministers is 58 years,” a senior government official said.
The age factor
A total of 43 ministers took oath at Rashtrapati Bhavan Wednesday, taking the total number of ministers in the Modi government to 77.
Most of the ministers dropped in the reshuffle were aged above 60. These include Harsh Vardhan (66), Ravi Shankar Prasad (66), Prakash Javadekar (70), D.V. Sadananda Gowda (68), Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre (62), Santosh Gangwar (72), Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ (61), Thaawarchand Gehlot (73), and Rattan Lal Kataria (69).
Among those promoted, most are aged below 60: Anurag Thakur (46), G. Kishan Reddy (57), Kiren Rijiju (49), and Mansukh Mandaviya.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)