Nitin Gadkari, a top performer in Modi's first term, gets a second term as Road Transport and Highways Minister
- The Ministry of Roads Transport and Highways gave the Modi government much bragging rights in the first term.
- He has been vested the responsibility once again and this signals a continuity in the government's approach to infrastructure.
- Gadkari was also in charge of shipping and inland waterways between 2014 and 2019.
Narendra Modi's thumping win in 2019 general elections depended a lot on the successes of Nitin Gadkari, the member of Parliament from Nagpur, a city home to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the ideological parent for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He has retained charge of Road, Transport & Highways ministry and will also now look at micro,medium and small enterprises.
As the minister for roads and highways, Gadkari was instrumental in an explosion in construction and operation of bridges, flyovers and expressways in Narendra Mod's first term as Prime Minister. He also played a significant role in the implementation of the rural roads project, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
He also had Shipping & Inland Waterways Ministry, which has now been given to Mansukh Lal Mandaviya, who is a minister of state with independent charge. Mandaviya will also look at Fertiliser Ministry.
All of this gave the Modi government much bragging rights while seeking votes in the 2019 election.
"Investors like continuity upto a point because it means certainty. However, I think the broad consensus in the business community, not only we would like to see continuity, we also want to see more progress on reforms," a long-time India watcher and political analyst, Alastair Newton, Co-founder & Director, Alavan Business Advisory, told Business Insider on May 24.
Gadkari will be crucial in implementing the BJP's promise of infrastructure projects worth $1.4 trillion in its manifesto. This includes the vow to double the road network between cities.
The government has already promised to spend $109 billion on the Bharatmala project, a pan-India centrally-funded scheme for roads and highways, by 2022 .
While his first Lok Sabha stint came in 2014, Gadkari had joined politics as a student activist for the Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP) in 1976. He went on to become the president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha when he was just 24 years old and also became the secretary of the BJP in Nagpur city.
Nearly half of Narendra Modi's $1.4 trillion ‘new’ infrastructure promise may be already approved projects