Cabinet Reshuffle: Javadekar resigns, Anurag Thakur takes charges as I&B minister

Thakur was minister of state for finance and corporate affairs.

New Delhi: Lok Sabha MP from Himachal Pradesh was appointed as the new minister of information and broadcasting (I&B), in one of the biggest cabinet reshuffles during the second term of the Modi government.

Thakur, who took oath of office and secrecy as one of the new Cabinet ministers on Wednesday evening, along with 15 new cabinet ministers, succeeds Prakash Javadekar who stepped down ahead of the reshuffle. Javadekar is among the 12 senior ministers, who submitted their resignations. The list of outgoing ministers also includes minister of electronics and Information Technology (Meity), Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The Hamirpur MP has also been given charge of the sports and youth affairs ministry, which was earlier under Kiren Rijiju. "I am thankful to prime minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah for giving me this chance. All possible efforts will be made to fulfil the duties," he said.

Thakur has been minister of state for finance and corporate affairs under finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman since 2019, when prime minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government began its second term. Since then, he has been a close aide of the finance minister and has witnessed the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. The 46 years old MP has also been the president of the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), and held the post from 2016 to 2017.

As I&B Minister, he will have to steer the proposed Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which is currently in the stage of public consultation. Centre had sought public comments on the draft bill starting 18 June. However, the draft bill has invited criticism from the film fraternity, which has expressed concerns over its execution.

Thakur's appointment as the sports and youth affairs Minister comes close on the heels of Tokyo Olympics 2020, which begins on 23 July. Apart from taking care of athletes’ preparation on a ministerial level, he will also have to ensure that they conform to the strict stipulations regarding vaccination and other arrangements.

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