PM Modi cabinet meeting - The Federal
Newly-appointed Union ministers Amit Shah, Raj Nath Singh and Nitin Gadkari gesture after their first cabinet meeting under PM Modi's second tenure, in New Delhi on May 31 (Friday). Photo: PTI

Daily wrap: Shah gets Home, Nirmala Finance; slump in economy persists

Amit Shah gets Home, Rajnath to be new Def Min, Jaishankar to be EAM

The much anticipated portfolios of the 58 ministers sworn in including Narendra Modi on May 30 have been announced. Rajnath Singh gets defence, Nirmala Seetharaman gets finance, Amit Shah has been given home, and S Jaishankar is cabinet minister for external affairs. Amit Shah will be the new Home minister, Rajnath Singh the new Defence minister and Nirmala Sitharaman the new Finance minister, the Rashtrapati Bhavan announced on Friday (May 31). Former foreign secretary turned minister S Jaishankar has got the External Affairs ministry while Smriti Irani will be the new Women and Child Development Minister along with retaining the Textile Ministry, according to a communiqué issued by the Rashtrapat  Bhavan. Nirmala Sitharaman will be the new Finance and Corporate Affairs minister while Nitin Gadkari will continue to be the Minister for Road Transport and Highways.

Slump in economy persists; GDP figures call for urgent action from new govt

India’s economic growth has slipped to 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018-19. This is the slowest growth of GDP in the last five years. With this the economy is on a slow down for the third consecutive quarter. In Q1, the GDP growth rate was recorded 8 per cent; it slowed down to 7 per cent in Q2 and 6.6 in Q3. The fourth quarter results released today is the lowest at 5.8 per cent. In classic textbook parlance when the economy slows down for two consecutive quarters  it is defined as recession. It indicates reduced trade and industrial activities. But this definition is not applied in the Indian context. But the slowdown is worrisome as normally in the election season economy picks up due to increased spending.

OPS, son camp in Delhi for ministry; no word yet from Modi

Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) and his son and first-time MP OP Ravindranath are staying put in New Delhi even after the swearing in of the Union cabinet. Sources said they expected to secure a Cabinet berth for Ravindranath, who was touted to be among the minister-designates. TN Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and other ministers had returned to the state capital after the ceremony, on Friday. Speculation is rife that OPS and Ravindranath would meet the BJP high command to push for a cabinet berth. Sources in the AIADMK said OPS had sought a cabinet berth for his son and the only AIADMK MP Ravindranath while EPS threw his weight behind senior AIADMK leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vaithilingam.

Windies pacers blow Pakistan away in no time

The West Indian fast bowlers turned back the clock as they made the Pakistan batsmen hop and jump around in what was a brilliant display of fast bowling before the batsmen wrapped it up in no time. The entire game lasted a mere 35.2 overs as Pakistan were no match for the mighty West Indies. The Windies pace attack blew away the Pakistan batting line-up for a mere 105 in 21.4 overs. Every bowler that came in to the attack, stuck to one plan — that was to bowl short. And that paid off beautifully as the Pakistan batsmen just had no answers on how to counter the pace and bounce. The Trent Bridge pitch looked flat as usual but West Indies won the toss and decided to field first under overcast skies. However, there was barely any lateral movement and it made the Windies bowlers go short pretty quickly.

NEET for Siddha and Ayurveda from this academic year

From this academic year, students who are willing to pursue Indian medicine courses such as Siddha, Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy will be admitted based on their NEET scores, said C Vijayabaskar, Health Minister of Tamil Nadu, on Friday (May 31). Initially, the Centre brought NEET exams for allopathy medicine and dental courses in 2017. A year later, they implemented NEET for Indian medicine courses. The move to implement NEET for Indian medicine courses in the state came in 2018. However, the state government has opposed the decision. But, the Centre gave exemption to the state for one year. In 2018, the students were admitted to these courses based on their Class 12 marks.

Andhra top cop shunted out as Jagan Reddy takes charge as CM

On his first day in office as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy on Thursday night (May 30) shunted out state Director General of Police R P Thakur, very much on expected lines. Damodar Goutam Sawang, Thakur’s 1986 batchmate, has been given full additional charge as the new DGP (Head of Police Force) and is eventually expected to take regular charge as the state police chief. Anti-Corruption Bureau DG A B Venkateswara Rao (1989 batch) has also been removed and asked to report to the General Administration Department. Both Thakur and Rao were on the ‘hit list’ of the YSR Congress for some time now, as they were perceived to be close to the previous Telugu Desam Party government.

N Korea executes senior officials for Hanoi failure, says S Korean paper

North Korea executed its special envoy to the United States following the collapse of the second summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, a South Korean newspaper reported Friday. The Chosun Ilbo said Kim Hyok Chol, who laid the groundwork for the Hanoi meeting and accompanied Kim on his private train, was executed by firing squad for “betraying the supreme leader” after he was turned by the US. “Kim Hyok Chol was executed in March at Mirim Airport along with four senior foreign ministry officials following an investigation,” the newspaper quoted an unidentified source as saying. The other officials were not named.

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