On Monday evening (May 14), a mini-reshuffle in the cabinet saw Smriti Irani being removed from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), reported The Hindu. Irani was divested considering the series of controversies I&B was constantly involved in.
String of controversies
Irani’s 10-month tenure in I&B has controversially been in the news for sometime now. Most recently, the way her ministry had handled the National Film Awards attracted a lot of criticism
Also, the PM’s Office had to intervene and withdraw Irani’s order blacklisting journalists in the name of cracking down on fake news. Her battle with Prasar Bharati, out in public, also raised questions about government interference.
On May 3, President Ram Nath Kovind was to hand over a “select number” of awards at the National Film Awards. This is something that’s conveyed to the I&B Ministry at least three weeks earlier. Rashtrapati Bhavan could only give one hour to the ceremony. However, the I&B ministry only informed the winners a day before that most of them would get their awards from Irani. This led to a protest among the winners and about 50 of the 125 winners boycotted the ceremony.
Earlier, on April 2, the I&B Ministry issued guidelines to blacklist any journalist found to have created or propagated fake news. Several news organisations and Opposition parties protested against the order. Although Irani defended her decision, she withdrew the statement in less than 24 hours. This was after PM’s Office intervened saying that the matter should be addressed by the Press Council of India.
Irani, who was the HRD Minister in 2014, was replaced by Prakash Javadekar in July 2016. She was then assigned the Textiles Ministry. In July 2017, when M Venkaiah Naidu decided to run for Vice-President of India and stepped down, Irani was given the I&B Ministry.
The PM has temporarily assigned Finance Ministry and Corporate Affairs to Piyush Goyal until Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who underwent a kidney transplant surgery, recovers. Also, Goyal will continue with his charge of Railways and Coal Ministries. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is assigned to Minister of State (Independent Charge) Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who has been MoS in the Ministry since November 2014.
This is the fifth reshuffle in the Modi government.
Bhawana is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv