Smriti Irani moved out of MIB as Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore gets independent charge

MUMBAI: There’s change at the top at the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB).  Smriti Irani has been moved out of her post as mininster and kept solely in charge of the textiles ministry. Replacing her is Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore - her minister of state - who has now been given independent charge of the MIB.

That things were afoot in the ministry was sounded out earlier this week.  Irani cancelled her trip to Cannes where a strong Indian delegation is attending the film festival. Earlier it was announced that she would be leading an eight member panel to the famed French Riviera cinema confab.

Rathore - a former sportsman and army man - has been a permanent fixture in the ministry for the past four years as a state minister. He has patiently waited on the sidelines over that period and has finally earned his stripes getting independent charge of the MIB as the government gears up for the coming national elections in 2019.

Irani had, a couple of days ago, delivered the Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture 2017 themed 'Model of Broadcast: Landscape for Democracies' during the course of which she had called the broadcast news landscape as a “spectator sport” in which the rush for audience ratings has reduced everything to “headlines competing with hashtags” in the wake of social media explosion taking place in the country that has provided a new pathway for information dissemination.

The media has been speculating about the reasons for her departure. Among them: the recent National Film Awards run in with president's office about his presenting the citations to winners; and her views on fake news and journalists, and wanting to bring in curbs on online media. Sources close to the government rubbish these allegations as canards, stating that Irani has been a loyal party person and she steps into - and out of any - role that the high command asks her get into.

The Narendra Modi led government also announced other changes last evening. Finance minister Arun Jaitley- who has been ailing and was successfully operated for his kidney ailment on Monday - has been replaced by railway minister Piyush Goyal, who has been given its additional charge. That is until Jaitley gets back into action.

Also read:

Smriti Irani gets additional charge as MIB minister

MIB minister Smriti Irani orders review of DD prime time auction process

MIB moves to regulate online media: various organisations join issue   

Online media professionals write to Smriti Irani expressing regulation concerns

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