Smriti Irani removed from I&B Ministry, Piyush Goyal to handle Finance

Smriti Irani removed from I&B Ministry, Piyush Goyal to handle Finance

NEW DELHI, May 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight removed Smriti Irani as the Information and Broadcasting minister and gave the portfolio to Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in a minor but significant reshuffle of his cabinet, in which Rail Minister Piyush Goyal was given the additional charge of the finance ministry.
Irani, whose tenure as the I&B Minister was mired in controversy, was today divested of the portfolio as her deputy, Rajyavardhan Rathore, was given the charge of the key portfolio.
Irani, however, will continue to hold the textiles portfolio. This is the second time that Irani has been moved from a key ministry as she was earlier shifted from the HRD Ministry to the relatively low-profile Textile Ministry.
Railways minister Goyal will handle the finance portfolio till Arun Jaitley recovers. Jaitley underwent a successful kidney transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) today and is stable after the over four-hour-long surgery, hospital authorities said.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said that during the indisposition of Arun Jaitley, the portfolio of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Affairs, have been “temporarily” assigned to Goyal.
S S Ahluwalia, who was until recently the Minister of State for Drinking Water & Sanitation, has been assigned the portfolio of Ministry of State in the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, an official release from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
“Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State be relieved of the charge in the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology,” the release added.
In July last year, Irani had assumed the charge of I&B Ministry after M Venkaiah Naidu had resigned following his nomination as NDA’s vice presidential candidate.
She had courted various controversies including the latest one last month on a notification relating to fake news.
The I&B Ministry had issued an order last month with provisions of punishing journalists found involved in generating fake news.
The order was widely criticised by a large section of the media which called it a brazen attempt to curb press freedom.
The last big reshuffle in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet took place in September, when Nirmala Sitharaman was given charge of the defence portfolio and Piyush Goyal took over Railways from Suresh Prabhu. (Agencies)