Modi cabinet set for Sunday shuffle

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The reshuffle is likely to be completed before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for his China visit on September 3.

The reshuffle is the third by Modi since coming to power in May 2014.

According to The Indian Express, the swearing-in ceremony will take place at around 10 am, at Rashtrapati Bhawan, a first under newly-elected President Ram Nath Kovind.

But there are four ministers who are in charge of two ministries - Jaitley, Harsh Vardhan, Smriti Irani and Narendra Singh Tomar.

The key portfolios to watch out for this time would be Defence, Railways, Finance, Environment, Information and Broadcasting and Urban development. From Gujarat, where elections are due by this year-end, the BJP's OBC face and Bhavnagar MP Bharti Syal is reportedly being considered for elevation.

Clear pointers to the cabinet reshuffle had begun emerging on Thursday with Union finance minister Arun Jaitley indicating at a press briefing that he may not hold the additional charge of the defence portfolio for very long. Here is the list of ministers who resigned and those who offered to resign. Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal or his son Anurag Thakur could be inducted into the council of ministers to represent Himachal. This was followed late on Thursday evening by a slew of Union ministers who offered their resignations.

Yesterday, Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy had put in his papers, hours after BJP chief Amit Shah had held a meeting with some senior ministers at his residence.

"The prime minister said that in order to enable all traders to take maximum benefit of GST, we should work towards ensuring that all traders, including even relatively smaller traders with a turnover below Rs20 lakh, should register with the GST system", said an official statement after Modi addressed direct and indirect tax officials at their annual conference, called "gyan sangam".

As per NDTV, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has also gave his resignation after facing ire for the death of protesting farmers in Madhya Pradesh. As this Firstpost article argues, the question is whether Mishra would be granted an honourable exit by making him the governor of a state or not. At least two members of the JD (U) are also likely to join. Modi, in his address to tax officials on the first day of the two-day annual conference of tax administrators, Rajaswa Gyan Sangam, also emphasised that the honest taxpayers can not continue to pay the price for the misdeeds of the dishonest and that tax officers need to come up with a time-bound solution for "tax raised and not realised". The total number of ministers in the council can not exceed 81.