Union Cabinet reshuffle: Rathore replaces Smriti Irani as I&B minister, Piyush Goyal gets finance ministry

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi effected changes in his Council of Ministers late on May 14, giving railway minister Piyush Goyal additional, temporary, charge of the finance ministry and divesting Smriti Irani of the portfolio of information and broadcasting (I&B). Minister of state Rajyavardhan Rathore was appointed the new I&B minister.
Goyal will be in charge of the finance ministry till senior cabinet minister Arun Jaitley returns. Jaitley underwent a successful kidney transplant on Monday and is recuperating. A Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said, “During the period of indisposition of Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister; the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Shri Piyush Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios.”
Irani, who has been in the midst of a storm of controversies, will now look after only the textiles ministry. In April, her ministry had issued a press release with guidelines on fake news, which had been widely criticised for stifling free speech, and were withdrawn on instructions of the Prime Minister’s Office the next day. In May, Rashtrapati Bhawan conveyed to the PMO its ‘distress’ over the ministry’s handling of the National Award ceremony after a section of awardees boycotted the event on the grounds that the President would not personally hand over their awards.
Rathore, already a Minister of State in the ministry, and will now have independent charge of it. SS Ahluwalia, relieved from his current charge of Drinking Water and Sanitation, was appointed the Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, a portfolio which was so far held by Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam.

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