New Delhi: Battling perceptions of policy paralysis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday affected a major reshuffle of his Council of Ministers and expressed confidence that the new team would be able to meet the challenges ahead.

"It is a combination of youth, experience and relevance to the portfolios that have been entrusted to the ministers," Singh told reporters soon after the new ministers were sworn in at a brief ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Singh was asked about the message he sought to give through the reshuffle.

Asked about the road ahead for the government, the Prime Minister said, "The road ahead is full of challenges. But this is a team, which I hope will be able to meet those challenges."

Singh said that this would probably be the last reshuffle of the Council of Ministers before the 2014 general elections.

The Prime Minister also ruled out early elections and said polls would be held on time.

Asked about the ministers who were dropped from the Cabinet, Singh said that their services were required in the party.

"Well, the party also needs strengthening. Men and women of experience can be equally productive in strengthening the party," he said.

Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, S M Krishna, Subodhkant Sahay,  ahadeo Singh Khandela and Vincent Pala were among those who resigned from the Council of Ministers ahead of the exercise.


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