So, the much talked about second cabinet reshuffle and expansion of the Narendra Modi government is over.

And it has thrown some very curious talking points.

One of them is about the introduction of an interesting ministry – the Ministry of Communications.

Manoj Sinha who was a junior Railways Minister so far has been promoted as a senior minister. No he has not been made a Cabinet Minister. But he has been given the independent charge of his ministry.

He is now the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Communications.

Now what this Communications Ministry would look after – that is the million dollar question.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, a senior NDA member was the ‘Communications & Information Technology’ minister so far. The all important sectors of any country in the modern times – telecom and information-technology – fell under his purview.

Now, after the reshuffle/expansion, Mr. Prasad is the ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ minister – with additional charge of ‘Law & Justice’.

So, what will these two ministries do – ‘Communications’ and ‘Electronics & Information Technology’?

Has telecom been removed from the ambit of the ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ ministry and put under the ‘Communications’ ministry?

Or this independent entity named as the ‘Communications’ ministry would have some other sectors to cover?

A Google search on the definition of ‘Communications’ says – “means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers”.

Furthermore, the Wikipedia writes about the Information & Communications Technologies (ICT) as – “Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information”.

It means the ‘Communications’ ministry should cover telecom as well as computing technologies, i.e., internet (means of sending or receiving information). At least that should be the case – going by the available definition in the related literature.

But then what Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad would do with his ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ ministry?

The Google search about the term ‘information technology’ returns with the following definition – “the study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving, and sending information.”

While it defines ‘electronics’ as – “the branch of physics and technology concerned with the design of circuits using transistors and microchips, and with the behaviour and movement of electrons in a semiconductor, conductor, vacuum, or gas”.

In a way, the ministry of ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ also concerns with telecom and computing technologies.

So, there is a clear case of overlapping between the functional areas of the ‘Communications’ ministry and the ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ ministry. It would create problems if the roles are not properly demarcated and defined.

Obviously, the government would have thought on this line. Let’s see the blue-print it comes out with.


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