Modi names yoga minister in major revamp

Modi names yoga minister in major revamp
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed a yoga minister in a major revamp of his government, in a bid to promote the ancient practice.

Yoga-loving Modi beefed up his right-wing government on Sunday by appointing 21 new ministers, with the aim of speeding up reforms to revive the faltering economy.

Among the portfolios designated was that of Aayush, whose minister will be charged with promoting the traditional medicines and practices of Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and homeopathy.

Aayush was previously part of the health minister's responsibility, but is now a separate portfolio, with former tourism minister Shripad Yesso Naik taking charge.

Hindu nationalist Modi, a vegetarian who practises yoga daily, asked the United Nations in September to consider an international yoga day.

He added four new ministers to his Cabinet and 17 junior ministers for a 66-member strong government, including the Premier.

"Congratulations to all colleagues who have taken oath today. Looking forward to working with them to accelerate India's development journey," he said in a tweet on Sunday.

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