Union Cabinet reshuffle: Goyal gets finance portfolio; Smriti out of I&B Ministry

Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal and Rajyavardhan Rathore

Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal and Rajyavardhan Rathore

"Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State be relieved of the charge in the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology", the release added.

In the minor ministerial reshuffle announced late on Monday evening, Smriti Irani was divested of the high-profile information and broadcasting ministry and is now only in charge of textiles.

It was reported that Rashtrapati Bhavan had conveyed to the Prime Minister's Office its unhappiness over the President's office being dragged into the controversy, hinting at mismanagement on the part of the I&B Ministry. Her handling of the human resources development ministry led to heartaches in the education sector. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley underwent kidney transplant recently and is recovering now. Minister of state for drinking water and sanitation for SS Ahluwalia and has been moved to the electronics and information technology ministry at the same rank.

However, she was relieved of the information and broadcasting ministry in yesterdays exercise.

He is now left with the charge of the Ministry of Tourism.




Interestingly, Goyal's elevation as finance minister comes days after he was accused of not disclosing the sale of his company to Piramal Group to PMO in his declaration.

It is considered natural to take ministry from Jaitley, but it is considered as a major decision to withdraw Ministry of I&B from Smriti Irani.

Irani, who is also the minister for textiles, assumed additional charge as I&B minister in July 2017. She recently landed in controversy over the fiasco regarding President not handing out the National Awards to all receipents following which some sources claim that President's office was extremely unhappy.

The biggest casualty of Monday's Cabinet reshuffle, possibly the Modi government's final one before 2019, was Smriti Irani.

She also had issues with Prasar Bharati after she suggested the names of Siddharth Zarabi and Abhijit Majumder as editors of the country's public service broadcaster. The last rejig had seen Modi elevating four into Cabinet rank, including giving India its first full-time woman Defence Minister in the form of Nirmala Sitharaman, and inducting nine new faces into his team.

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