Arun Jaitley named India’s joint minister for finance, defence



India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed top corporate lawyer Arun Jaitley as his joint finance and defence minister and Sushma Swaraj as foreign minister in a streamlined cabinet Tuesday.

The cabinet portfolios were announced in an official government statement, the morning after Modi and his new team of ministers were sworn into office at a lavish ceremony in New Delhi.

Rajnath Singh, who is president of Modi´s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was named home affairs minister while Maneka Gandhi, who is the sister-in-law of opposition leader Sonia Gandhi, is the new women and child development minister.

Apart from Modi, there are only 23 full-ranking cabinet ministers in the new government — five fewer than under his predecessor Manmohan Singh.

The BJP won the first parliamentary majority for any party in 30 years when the results of a marathon election were announced on May 16, meaning that he did not have to seek out new allies and give them cabinet posts.