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Controversies dogged I&B Ministry under Smriti Irani

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The was in for making some controversial decision when Smiti Irani was at the helm of affairs.

The most prominent among them included the controversy over "guidelines to regulate fake news", which caused widespread outrage among and were withdrawn after Narendra Modi's intervention.

Her ministry was at the centre of a controversy over around 50 recipients of skipping the award ceremony earlier this month.

The recipients were unhappy over presenting the awards to only a select set of winners.

The had reportedly conveyed to the (PMO) its unhappiness at the manner in which the president's office was dragged into the controversy due to what it saw as mismanagement on the part of the

In a major embarrassment for the ministry, the PMO had on April 3 ordered it to withdraw a press release on fake news, holding that the decision on what constitutes should be left to press bodies.

Announcing measures to check fake news, the ministry had said that a journalist's accreditation could be permanently cancelled if the scribe is found generating or propagating

The ministry had come in for criticism in April after it issued an order for constitution of a committee to frame rules to regulate news portals and

More than 100 journalists and had then written to Irani, saying additional regulations will open up the possibility of widespread abuse and attempts to suppress political dissent by the government.

A number of officers were transferred during Irani's tenure, prompting the officers' association to write to the PMO, drawing its attention to the orders, which it alleged were in contravention of the rules and established practices.

A row had erupted after news website The Wire quoted A Surya Prakash as saying that the had to pay staff salary for January and February out of its contingency funds as the ministry had not released the funds.

The news website had claimed that the delay in the release of funds was due to an alleged standoff between the and the

Reacting to the news report, the ministry had said that the had not signed an MoU with it as required by autonomous bodies getting grants-in-aid by the government.

The ministry was also in news when its proposal to appoint an as the Member (Personnel) on the Prasar Bharati Board was reportedly dropped at its board meeting in February with some members opining that the move would amount to contempt of the Prasar Bharati Act.

Another resolution that was reportedly dropped at the meeting was regarding the appointment of two senior journalists as of News and of Prasar Bharati News Service (AIR) on the grounds of high costs.

Modi tonight removed Irani as I&B and gave the portfolio to her deputy in a minor but significant reshuffle of his cabinet.

Irani had assumed the charge of the ministry in July last year after M Venkaiah had resigned following his nomination as the NDA's vice

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 00:00 IST