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Finmin gets 2 ministers of state after 4-year break

July 08, 2016 11:44 IST

Asked about the Congress’s opposition to the GST Bill, Santosh Kumar Gangwar said no party opposes GST outside Parliament.

IMAGE: Santosh Kumar Gangwar is now minister of state for finance. Photograph kind courtesy: Press Information Bureau

The two new ministers of state in the finance ministry expressed hope that the goods and services tax (GST) Bill would be passed in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.

Santosh Kumar Gangwar and Arjun Ram Meghwal were moved to the finance ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday night, replacing Jayant Sinha who has been moved to the civil aviation ministry.

Gangwar was moved from minister of state (independent charge) for textiles to minister of state for finance.

"I feel the GST Bill will certainly be passed by Parliament in the monsoon session," Gangwar told reporters after taking charge.

"We will try to keep the growth momentum going. We will look at ways to further economic growth," Meghwal said.  

Before taking charge, Meghwal went to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's residence for a brief meeting.

IMAGE: Arjun Ram Meghwal  hails from a family of weavers. Photograph kind courtesy, Press Information Bureau

A Dalit, Meghwal hails from a family of weavers, and is known as a determined parliamentarian. he is currently the treasury’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha.

Asked about the Congress’s opposition to the GST Bill, Gangwar said, "No party opposes GST outside Parliament. All parties are for GST, but they put some hurdle or the other (in Parliament). I think all parties will lend support in getting the GST Bill passed in the monsoon session."

The responsibilities of the two ministers will likely be decided by Friday.

“The PMO will decide the portfolios (responsibilities),” said Gangwar, a parliamentarian who has represented Bareilly in the Lok Sabha since 1989, except from 2009 to 2014.

He had earlier held the posts of minister of state for petroleum and natural gas and parliamentary affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

The two ministers took charge in the presence of Jaitley and officials, including Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.

"India offers a huge opportunity. I was in textiles before this, the textile industry has got a very good package," Gangwar said referring to a Rs 6,000 crore package approved by the Cabinet last month.

Gangwar held independent charge in the textiles ministry, but now he will report to Jaitley.

The Narendra Modi government now has two ministers of state for finance as was the case in the previous United Progressive Alliance government.

Then SS Palanimanickam and Namo Narain Meena were the ministers of state. However, the former quit in 2012 when the DMK pulled out of the UPA government.

Meghwal, who rides to Parliament on a bicycle, arrived at North Block in a car.

He even cycled to Rashtrapati Bhawan for the swearing-in on Tuesday.

A two-time MP in the Lok Sabha from the Bikaner constituency, Meghwal was awarded the best parliamentarian award in 2013.

Dilasha Seth & Arup Roychoudhury in New Delhi