First Nehru ministry

After independence, on 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru assumed office as the first Prime Minister of India and chose fifteen ministers to form the First Nehru ministry.

Background

The Constituent Assembly was set up while India was still under British rule, following negotiations between Indian leaders and members of the 1946 Cabinet Mission to India from the United Kingdom. The provincial assembly elections had been conducted early in 1946. The Constituent Assembly members were elected to it indirectly by the members of these newly elected provincial assemblies, and initially included representatives for those provinces which came to form part of Pakistan, some of which are now within Bangladesh. The Constituent Assembly had 299 representatives, including nine women.

The Interim Government of India was formed on 2 September 1946 from the newly elected Constituent Assembly. The Indian National Congress held a large majority in the Assembly, with 69 percent of all of the seats, while the Muslim League held almost all of the seats reserved in the Assembly for Muslims. There were also some members from smaller parties, such as the Scheduled Caste Federation, the Communist Party of India, and the Unionist Party. In June 1947, the delegations from the provinces of Sindh, East Bengal, Baluchistan, West Punjab, and the North West Frontier Province withdrew, to form the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, meeting in Karachi. On 15 August 1947, the Dominion of India and Dominion of Pakistan became independent nations, and the members of the Constituent Assembly who had not withdrawn to Karachi became India’s Parliament. Only 28 members of the Muslim League finally joined the Indian Assembly. Later, 93 members were nominated from the princely states. The Congress thus secured a majority of 82%.

Jawaharlal Nehru took charge as the first Prime Minister of India on 15 August 1947, and chose 15 other members for his cabinet. Vallabhbhai Patel served as the first Deputy Prime Minister until his death on 15 December 1950. Lord Mountbatten, and later C. Rajagopalachari, served as Governor-General until 26 January 1950, when Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India.

Cabinet members

 

Lord Mountbatten swears in Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of India on 15 August 1947.

There were members from Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh communities. There were two members from the Dalit community as well. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was the only female Cabinet minister. The following is a list of the ministers in the first Cabinet.

Key
  • Died in office
  • Resigned
Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Prime Minister
Minister of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations
Minister of Scientific Research
Jawaharlal Nehru 15 August 1947 Second Nehru ministry INC
Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 15 August 1947 15 December 1950[†] INC
Minister of Home Affairs and States Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 15 August 1947 15 December 1950[†] INC
C. Rajagopalachari[6] 26 December 1950 25 October 1951[RES] INC
Kailash Nath Katju 1951 Second Nehru ministry INC
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 15 August 1947 1949 INC
R. R. Diwakar[7] 1949 15 April 1952 INC
Minister of Finance R. K. Shanmukham Chetty 15 August 1947 1949 INC
John Mathai 1949 1950[RES] INC
C. D. Deshmukh 1950 Second Nehru ministry INC
Minister of Law B. R. Ambedkar[8] 15 August 1947 1951[RES] SCF
Minister of Defence Baldev Singh 15 August 1947 Second Nehru ministry Panthic Party
Minister of Railways and Transport John Mathai 15 August 1947 22 September 1948 INC
N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar 22 September 1948 Second Nehru ministry INC
Minister of Education Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 15 August 1947 Second Nehru ministry INC
Minister of Food and Agriculture Jairamdas Daulatram 15 August 1947 15 April 1952 INC
Minister of Industries and Supplies Syama Prasad Mookerjee 15 August 1947 6 April 1950[RES] Hindu Mahasabha
Minister of Labour Jagjivan Ram 15 August 1947 15 April 1952 INC
Minister of Commerce Cooverji Hormusji Bhabha 15 August 1947 15 April 1952 INC
Minister of Communications Rafi Ahmed Kidwai 15 August 1947 15 April 1952 INC
Minister of Health Amrit Kaur 15 August 1947 15 April 1952 INC
Minister of Works, Mines and Power Narhar Vishnu Gadgil 15 August 1947 15 April 1952 INC
Minister of Relief and Rehabilitation K. C. Neogy 15 August 1947 April 1950[RES] INC
Minister without portfolio N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar[9] 15 August 1947 22 September 1948 INC
Mohanlal Saxena 15 August 1947 15 April 1952 INC

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