As Modi government is all set to take oath for the second term, the speculations regarding the allocation of ministrial berths have started. In the last few decades, Information and Broadcasting portfolio has become most sought after ministries given rising importance of Mass Media in public life. Many organizations which remain popular in public imagination like Doordarshan, Akashvani are under I&B ministry. Many prominent academic institutions which shaped Media and Film industry like Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (FTII), Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) are also handled by the ministry. Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the controversial film regulatory body also operates as an autonomous organization under the ministry.
In the first term, Minister of State for I&B ministry was Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore for the whole five years. However, the ministry witnessed five cabinet ministers in five years. First, Prakash Javdekar was appointed at the ministry in 2014 but soon Arun Jaitley was given additional charge and he held the fort till 2016. Venkaiah Naidu was appointed as I &B minister in 2016 and was there till 2017 when he was chosen for the post of vice-president. After that Smriti Irani was given additional charge of the ministry and she remained there till 2018. In 2018, she was relieved from the post and junior minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (RSR) was elevated to cabinet minister rank.
This time it is very probable that RSR will continue as I &B minister. His tenure was non-controversial and he brought stability, a key aspect in the successful handling of a ministry like Information and Broadcasting. He is popular among the bureaucrats and has acceptance from people across the political spectrum. Given the fact that Film and Media industry requires the highest degree of freedom and liberty to express creativity, a non-political politician like RSR would make a good choice.
Smriti Irani, former Information and the Broadcasting minister could be given the charge of the ministry once again given her excellent track record. She is an excellent communicator and the therefore right person to lead the ministry. She has worked in Media and Entertainment for decades and well connected to the leaders of the industry. However, Irani became a giant slayer by defeating Rahul Gandhi is his traditional stronghold of Ameti and therefore it is probable that she would get a more important portfolio. She might be considered for the post of BJP president too given her organizational skills and popularity among party workers.
The third candidate is Baijayant “Jay” Panda, a politician from Odisha and BJP National Vice president. He quit BJD months back to join the saffron party and could be given a handsome portfolio. Previously he has been elected from Odsiha on BJD ticket but lost this time on BJP ticket. As the party is looking for expansion in Odisha, he could be the face of Odisha in the cabinet of Modi.
One of these three candidates could be chosen for the Information and Broadcasting ministry. S/he would get the power to decide the future of Media and Information industry in that position.