The first meeting of the GST (Goods & Services Tax) Council since October last year, scheduled for May 28, will see five new members make their debut. The 43rd meeting of the Council will also miss two prominent members as former Finance Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi and former Finance Minister of Kerala TM Thomas Isaac bow out.
After the recent Assembly elections, four States have got new Finance Ministers – Ajanta Neog (Assam), Tarkishore Prasad (Bihar), KN Balagopal (Kerala), and PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan (Tamil Nadu).
Puducherry has a new Chief Minister N Rangaswamy, who is yet to form his cabinet, so just like his predecessor V Narayanasamy, he will represent the UT in the Council. Meanwhile, Amit Mitra retains his portfolio as FM in West Bengal, which, too, went to the polls, so he keeps his seat in the Council.
The new faces
Ajanta Neog, one of the longest-serving women legislators from Assam is the State’s first woman FM. Earlier, she was PWD Minister and was known for her work in developing infrastructure in the State.
Tarkishore Prasad, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister of Bihar is a four-time legislator from Kathiar. Inducted in the State’s Cabinet for the first time, he succeeds Sushil Modi, popularly called SuMo who pulled his weight in the GST Council.
A first time MLA, Balagopal was a Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala between 2010 and 2016, but lost the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Yet, his party CPI (M) relied on him and he won his seat from Kottarakkara in Kollam district. N. Rangaswamy is a fourth-time Chief Minister of Puducherry. He is a commerce graduate with an LLB degree.
Another new member who will have big shoes to fill is the newly-appointed Finance Minister of Kerala K. N. Balagopal, who replaces the vocal TM Thomas Isaac.
Among the new set, Tamil Nadu’s P.T.R. Palanivel Thiagarajan stands out with a dazzling CV. A second-time MLA, the banker turned politician represents Madurai Central.
He is a third generation minister from his family following in the footsteps of his grandfather P.T. Rajan and his father P.T.R. Palanivel Rajan.