Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trusted aide Amit Shah will take key home affairs ministry while former defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be finance minister.

India's President Ram Nath Kovind administers oath to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in New Delhi, India. May 30, 2019.
India's President Ram Nath Kovind administers oath to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in New Delhi, India. May 30, 2019. (Reuters)

India's newly sworn-in Prime Minister Narendra Modi has named a cabinet of ministers, handing the powerful home affairs portfolio to the president of his Hindu nationalist party credited with delivering him a thunderous reelection.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah was named home minister and Modi's first-term defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, was put in charge of finance. 

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the former ambassador to the United States, will oversee the external affairs ministry, India's press information bureau said. 

He will take over from Sushma Swaraj, the ruling party's veteran leader and the previous most senior woman in the cabinet. She has stepped aside due to poor health.

Modi was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Thursday.

He will also oversee the departments of atomic energy and space, and "all important policy issues," it said.

Slowing economy

Sitharaman will take over the finance ministry at a time when there is pressure from industry for the government to provide some stimulus to halt a worrying slowdown in Asia's third-largest economy.

India probably lost its spot as the fastest growing major economy to China in the January-March quarter as a chill in domestic and global consumer demand hit manufacturers and service providers. Data for the quarter is set to be released later on Friday.

The BJP won 303 seats in the 542-member lower house of Parliament in the elections, giving it a decisive mandate and the ability to form a government without other parties.

But Modi faces immense challenges including the economy, high joblessness and low agricultural prices that have hurt farmers.

The country of 1.3 billion people seeks swift economic change.

Source: AP