PM Modi to chair council of ministers meeting amid buzz around cabinet expansion

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday. The discussions are expected to centre around the overall coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation in the country and functioning of some ministries.

The meeting will be held virtually in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions in place in the country, news agency ANI reported.

The Union Council of Ministers is headed by the Prime Minister and includes the Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State (MoS) with the ones being given independent charge.

PM Modi had last week held meetings with ministers – both Cabinet and ministers of state – to review the performance of their ministries.

The meetings were held at the Prime Minister’s official residence. These meetings are usually undertaken ahead of a cabinet reshuffle or expansion.

The Prime Minister is expected to expand his cabinet by early next month, ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament. There are currently 60 ministers in PM Modi’s government and their number can go up to 79.

The Covid-19 situation has been improving in the country in the last few months, with India vaccinating a record number of people (8.5 million) on June 21. India has now inoculated more people than the United States under the nationwide vaccination drive, which began on January 16 this year.

During his 78th Mann Ki Baat address on Sunday, PM Modi hailed the milestone achieved by the country and congratulated the healthcare workers who have been at the forefront of the battle against Covid-19.

Wednesday’s meeting is also coming at a time when political circles are abuzz with news of cabinet expansion. Though nothing has been confirmed yet, but there are reports that Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) will be accommodated in the Union Cabinet.

Kumar, the Bihar chief minister, came to Delhi last week and met PM Modi. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kumar said his visit to Delhi is in connection with a medical issue and downplayed the cabinet expansion news. He said that is the Prime Minister’s prerogative.

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