We start with the cabinet reshuffle. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced leadership changes at some key ministries on Wednesday. Praful Patel was put in charge of heavy industries, while his old job as civil aviation minister went to Vayalar Ravi. Meanwhile, Salman Khursheed got a cabinet rank and the water resources portfolio. His post as corporate affairs minister was taken over by Murli Deora, who in turn relinquished the petroleum ministry to Jaipal Reddy. In another big change, surface transport minister Kamal Nath got Jaipal Reddy’s urban development ministry. And C.P Joshi took over as new head of the surface transport ministry.
This is the first major leadership change since the UPA swept back into power in May of 2009. Over the last few months, it’s has been under opposition pressure over a string of corruption scandals and soaring inflation. Wednesday’s reshuffle was seen as an attempt by the government to regain political initiative, but is has left many of the top posts unchanged. The ministers of home, finance, defence, and external affairs have all kept their jobs. And telecom minister Kapil Sibal also retained his post, though he gave up the science and technology portfolio. And the outspoken Jairam Ramesh is still India’s environment minister.
And it’s finally possible to change your mobile phone operator while keeping your old number. The much-awaited mobile number portability came into effect on Thursday. It’s expected to encourage better services and more competitive prices. Analysts say post-paid customers and some high-end prepaid ones are the people most likely to migrate to other operators.