Mamata Banerjee cabinet gets new woman finance minister in reallocation

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee underwent a minor restructuring in her cabinet, giving Chandrima Bhattacharya full charge of the finance department with the rank of minister of state, an official said.

State Transport Minister Firhad Hakim was also given the charge of the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs. Hakim, who was housing minister in Banerjee’s cabinet for a decade until the last assembly elections, was not given the portfolio, which is considered crucial in the state, when the cabinet was formed last year.

Bhattacharya has been in charge of the urban development department and was also the minister of state for finance since Mamata Banerjee’s government was sworn in for the third time in the state last May.

Former finance minister Amit Mitra, considered the brains behind the state’s excise policies, which has mainly resulted in increased tax income due to rising revenue from alcohol, remains the principal chief advisor on finance and the economy.

Hakim thanked Banerjee for reinstating him as the Minister of Urban and Municipal Affairs and promised to discharge his duties diligently.

“When Sovan (Chatterjee) left (party) my leader (Mamata Banerjee) made me mayor of the city and I performed my duties. I am a trusted member of TMC. I will try my best and perform my duties. I thank my leaders for believing in me,” Hakim told PTI when contacted.

Bhattacharya described her promotion as a minister with independent charge as the “best gift” from the chief minister to the women of the state on Women’s Day.

“I am a trusted soldier of Mamata Banerjee and will carry out the responsibility entrusted to me till my last breath,” she said. Bhattacharya also holds the charge of Health and Family Welfare as well as the Department of Land and Land Reforms as well as Refugee Relief and Resettlement. She is also looking after Planning and Statistics Department and Program Monitoring Department.

The Raj Bhavan today approved the list sent to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar for his approval on Monday.

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