Scatmag.com

August 2017

SMRITI IRANI IS THE NEW I&B MINISTER


On 18 July 2017, Union Textile Minister Ms. Smriti Irani was given additional charge of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry after Venkaiah Naidu resigned from the post to contest for the Vice- President election as the NDA's candidate. U

nion Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar has been handed over the charge of the Urban Development Ministry which was also held by Naidu.


TOO FREQUENT CHANGE AT MIB?

Smriti Irani will be the fourth I&B minister within the short span of 3 years that the Modi Government has been in power.

Prakash Javadekar was the first I&B minister in the Modi government for barely 6 months, from May 2014.

Arun Jaitley took over from Javadekar on 10 Nov 2014. He headed the I&B ministry in addition to the Finance portfolio.

On July 8, 2016 Venkaiah Naidu took over as the I&B Minister, and held office for 1 year.






SMRITI IRANI

Born Smriti Malhotra on 23 March 1976, Smriti Irani was a finalist in the Miss India 1998 beauty pageant. Also a former TV actor and producer, she was appointed BJP vice-president in 2012.

Prior to textile ministry, Irani had a turbulent stint as the minister at the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry.


ROAD AHEAD

Irani's appointment comes at a time when there are several key decisions pending at the MIB.

A national Communications policy has been promised.

Decisions on key TRAI's recommendations have been swept under the carpet. These include the recommendations prohibiting entry of politics and religion into broadcasting. Naidu had surprisingly granted a 'provisional' DAS license & a 1 month extension thereafter, to Arasu. This could open the floodgate of state governments starting their Cable TV distribution networks. Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal have requested similar licenses, and several state governments want to start their own TV channels. This augurs poorly in a country with a large illiterate population, who can be swayed or mis-informed through television.

The I&B ministry is also in the process of revamping the Central Board of Film Certification (Censor Board) with a new Cinematograph Act.

The new I&B minister has her hand full, and it is to be seen if she will take the hard decisions that have been pending for the past 4 years. n