Smriti Irani Removed From I&B Ministry; Piyush Goyal Given Temporary Charge Of Finance Ministry
The Modi Government on Monday, May 14, undertook a Union Cabinet reshuffle. This is the fifth reshuffle of cabinet ministers by the current government in the last 4+ years. While previously there was an induction of new ministers, the reshuffle on Monday saw only lateral shifts between ministries.
Smriti Irani is removed from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and replaced with Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who was elevated from a junior position in the department to independent charge. Rathore is the current Minister of Sports. Irani now remains the minister of textiles.
This is the second time Smriti Irani has been divested from a high-profile portfolio. She was selected as Minister for Human Resource and Development in May 2014 and was replaced by Prakash Javdekar after merely two years. Irani was appointed to the low-profile ministry of textiles. In July last year, she was offered the ministry of information and broadcasting, after Venkaiah Naidu was elected to the position of Vice President, only to be removed in the 1o months.
Reportedly, Irani had irked the President’s office at the National Film Awards where 70 winners boycotted the ceremony. The President had conveyed his displeasure to the Prime Minister regarding the entire fiasco. Last month, she also came up with an order to ban journalists accused of spreading fake news which received backlash from all quarters of the media. The PMO had to intervene and direct the matter to be addressed by the Press Council of India.
Even as HRD minister, she had a lockdown with the PMO questioning the degree of autonomy granted to educational institutions. Also, the sacking of Managing Director of National Film Development Corp (NFDC) Nina Lath Gupta using false allegations had further embarrassed the government.
Reshuffle of other ministers
Railways and coal minister Piyush Goyal is given temporary charge of finance and corporate affairs portfolios while Arun Jaitley recovers from surgery, as by reported The Indian Express.
SS Ahluwalia is relieved of the charge of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and assigned the portfolio of Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State, is given the charge of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.