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Smriti Irani loses I & B Ministry – will continue to helm the Textile Ministry

In a significant cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 14, 2018 gave Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore the independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in place of Smriti Irani, current Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

In another big change, the Prime Minister gave Railway Minister Piyush Goyal the additional charge of Finance Ministry till Arun Jaitley fully recovers after his successful kidney transplant surgery on May 14.

Key Highlights

  • In the key move, the Union Government elevated Smriti Irani’s deputy to take over her position. Meanwhile, Irani will continue to helm the Textile Ministry.
  • Piyush Goyal will handle the key portfolio of Finance temporarily till Arun Jaitley recovers.
  • In other changes, Alphons Kannanthanam was relieved of the charge of Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • SS Ahluwalia was also relieved of the charge of the Minister of State in Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry and assigned the new portfolio of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Nine New Ministers

The Controversy

  • Smriti Irani helmed the I& B Ministry for fewer than 10 months, as she took over the post in July 2017.
  • She was appointed to the position after the resignation of Venkaiah Naidu following his election to the post of Vice –President of India.
  • This is the second time that Irani has been moved from an important portfolio.
  • She was appointed Minister for Human Resource and Development in May 2014.
  • However, after two years she was replaced by Prakash Javedkar and given a relatively low-profile Textile Ministry.
  • Smriti Irani’s stint with the I&B Ministry has been quite controversial, from fights with the Prasar Bharti Board to issuing a notification on permanent cancellation of accreditation of journalists found publishing fake news, only to withdraw it later on the order of the Prime Minister’s office.
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