On Tuesday, Textiles minister Smriti Irani was given the additional charge of Information and Broadcasting ministry after M Venkaiah Naidu resigned from the post following his nomination as the NDA’s vice-presidential candidate.
Rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar has also assumed the additional charge of urban development ministry, another portfolio that was held by Mr. Venkaiah Naidu.
The latest vacancies triggered another round of speculation about possible reshuffling of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Union cabinet in which several ministers are holding more than one portfolio.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley holds the additional charge of Defence ministry, which was vacated by Manohar Parrikar when he opted to become the chief minister of Goa last March. Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan was given the additional charge of environment ministry after the demise of incumbent Anil Madhav Dave.
Although Modi hasn’t indicated any plans to revamp his core team, sources said he might take a call on the issue after Parliament’s Monsoon Session comes to an end on August 11.
Smriti Irani, who once held the human resource development portfolio, is the fourth I&B minister in the Narendra Modi government, which was sworn-in three years ago.
Prakash Javadekar was named the I&B minister in May 2014. Five months later, finance minister Arun Jaitley was given the additional charge of the ministry. In June 2016, Naidu was made the I&B minister.
BJP sources told HT that the next reshuffle in the Union council of ministers could be “big” keeping in mind the Prime Minister’s focus on pushing the reform and development agenda as well as creating more jobs before the next general elections in 2019.
A senior government functionary said, “By now, the PM has assessed the performance of different ministries and the reshuffle will reflect his resolve to tune up performance”.
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