DELHI: Manish Tewari, until now national spokesperson for
the Congress party, has become the new Information and Broadcasting
(I&B) Minister as Minister of State with independent charge.
new I&B Minister will hardly have time to settle down
as the four metros of India move nearer to the digitisation
deadline of 31 October. Tewari will have to be firm as several
local cable operators have sounded a possible law and order
problem with a large number of consumer homes still not having
digital set top boxes (STBs). They have been asking for an
extension of the deadline but the government has resisted
claiming that the STB penetration has touched as high as 85
per cent, a figure various industry experts have found hard
like his predecessor Ambika Soni who resigned on Saturday
to devote her energies to strengthening the party ahead of
the General Elections in 2014, hails from Punjab. Soni is
a Rajya Sabha member from the states, while Tewari is a member
of the 15th Lok Sabha from Ludhiana.
after the swearing in by President Pranab Mukherjee, Tewari
said he would contact the outgoing Minister before saying
anything about digitisation for which the deadline is 31 October.
"I have not applied my mind to it so far. I will talk
to all the stakeholders. First I will talk to the outgoing
Minister Ambika Soni.
Jagathrakshakan, who was until now Minister of State for I&B,
has been moved to New and Renewable Energy.
The I&B Ministry does not have a Minister of State at
a time when cable TV digitisation is on the anvil. Furthermore,
the Ministry has a vital role to play ahead of the elections.
47, is a first-time member of the Lok Sabha and was elected
in May 2009. It is for the first time since independence of
the country that Ludhiana has got representation in the central
Government. As an MP, he has been member of several Parliamentary
father late Vishwanath Tewari, a professor of Punjab University,
was a freedom fighter and also a Member of Parliament and
was killed by terrorists a few months before Operation Blue
Star. His grandfather Tirath Singh had been a Minister in
the Congress Government in Punjab.
is married to Dr Naaznin B. Shafa, a Parsi who was also involved
with the National Students Union of India (NSUI) along with
is a popular face on television as he has argued vociferously
and impeccably for the Congress party on several issues.
his association with the party in 1981 through the NSUI while
still in DAV College in Chandigarh, he became National President
of the NSUI in 1988 and a member of the All India Congress
Committee in 1991. He became Secretary of the AICC in 1997
and National President of the Indian Youth Congress in the
following year when he was also made the national spokesperson
for the Congress. His predecessor in the Ministry, Soni, had
also held the post of President of the Indian Youth Congress
in the mid-seventies.
interests include pro bono legal assistance to the poor, and
watching historical and period movies. He has contributed
numerous articles on current and topical issues such as energy
security, national and international security, nuclear disarmament,
terrorism etc. to periodicals and addressed national and international
seminars and conferences on these subjects
a student, Tewari had been involved in swimming and running;
and captained the Chandigarh and Punjab University teams to
various National and Inter University Swimming and Water Polo
is widely traveled and has been to around 30 countries.
eminent Telugu film actor K Chiranjeevi, the only other new
face to be sworn in as MoS with Independent Charge, has been
given the Tourism portfolio.
Sibal, who had been holding dual charge of Communications
and Information Technology as well as Human Resource Development
Ministries, has now been divested of HRD which has gone to
M M Pallam Raju who has been promoted to Cabinet Rank.
Minister Ambika Soni resigns