Nirmala Sitharaman is new defence minister, Piyush Goyal gets railways

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Goyal, a Chartered Accountant by profession, has been articulate in defending the Narendra Modi government specially after the demonetisation decision.

Suresh Prabhu who was holding Railway Ministry portfolio was on Sunday appointed as Minister of Commerce and Industry charge, in a Cabinet rejig by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a focus on his agenda on "good governance".

Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for power, coal, renewable energy and mines was sworn in as the new Railways Minister today in the latest reshuffle of Modi Cabinet.

Goyal is expected to continue the reforms initiated by Prabhu in railways and bring new ideas to the table, said Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner and head, economics, regulatory and policy advisory, KPMG in India.

Pradhan and Naqvi retained their portfolios of Oil and Gas and Minority Affairs respectively.

Alphons is a Christian from Kerala, a state where the BJP has been trying hard to emerge as a potent force.

5.6-magnitude quake detected in North Korea
The North has repeatedly claimed that it has a thermonuclear weapon, which can be far more powerful than other nuclear devices. In January 2016, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, which Pyongyang claimed to be a test of a hydrogen bomb.

The Cabinet reshuffle was imminent as many key portfolios were lying vacant and the existing ministers were handling additional charges.

There were no changes in the portfolios of the big three - Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh.

Goel, who earlier held independent charge, has been shunted as the Minister of State for Parliamentary Afairs and Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore was shifted to the sports ministry as minister of state (independent charge).

The elevation of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was a much awaited recognition of the party's lone Muslim face in the Council of Ministers since Najma Heptullah exited the government a year ago.

New inductee Shiv Pratap Shukla has been made MoS in the Finance Ministry, replacing Arjun Ram Meghwal, while Ashwini Kumar Choubey has been appointed MoS in Health and Virendra Kumar MoS in Women and Child Devcelopment.

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