Union ministers Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal. (Express photos)
In a small yet significant reshuffle of portfolios in the Union Council of Ministers, the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry on Monday was taken away from Smriti Irani and handed over to Rajyavardhan Rathore, who has been the Minister of State in I&B since November 2014. Rathore also has the independent charge of Sports Ministry. Irani will continue taking charge of Textiles Ministry, which she has been doing since July 2016.
In another substantive change, Minister for Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal was additionally given the temporary charge of Finance and Corporate Affairs ministries till Arun Jaitley recovers from his illness. Jaitley had undergone a renal transplant surgery at AIIMS in Delhi earlier in the day.
Surjeet Singh Ahluwalia has been made Minister of State of Electronics and Information Technology, and will look after the Department of Electronics, replacing MoS Alphons Kannanthanam who will continue to keep the independent charge of the Tourism Ministry.
In a statement issued late evening, the Rashtrapati Bhawan said, “The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed the following reallocation of portfolios amongst the members of the Union Council of Ministers.”
This is the fifth reshuffle in the council of ministers since the Narendra Modi-led government came to power in May 2014. While in November 2014, July 2016 and September 2017, the Cabinet witnessed the induction of new ministers and a reshuffle of portfolios, in July 2017 and on Monday, there were only lateral shifts in the council of ministers.
Irani had been given the charge of the I&B Ministry in July 2017 when M Venkaiah Naidu had stepped down to successfully contest the election to become the Vice President of India.