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The new cabinet headed by Narendra Modi has 76 members. Jumbo cabinets seem to have become a permanent feature of the Indian administrative landscape. The usual reason trotted out when Manmohan Singh worked with a large team was that it was a political necessity to accommodate powerful coalition partners. Modi has no such restrictions. The initial hopes that his slogan of minimum government would lead to fewer ministries and administrative departments have been belied. India still has separate ministries for steel, mines and heavy industries.
These are perhaps the last major changes before the next general election, due in early 2019. Many of the better ministers have either got new responsibilities or been promoted—Suresh Prabhu, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and Nitin Gadkari, for example. The induction of former bureaucrats and police officials such as Hardeep Singh Puri, K.J. Alphons, Satya Pal Singh and R.K. Singh could be seen either as a focus on administrative capabilities or the harsh fact that the BJP operates with a weak bench strength.