New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) A day after she was shunted out to the Textiles Ministry, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday said her stint as the HRD Minister was “satisfactory and fruitful”, and sought to convey that her new portfolio should not be seen as a demotion.
Irani played up her achievements as the Human Resource Development Minister.
“I am glad that I have been part of the process of formulating the National Education Policy after 30 years, and that the honourable Prime Minister gave me such an opportunity,” Irani said, addressing the media here.
She said it was during her tenure that the HRD Ministry deliberated with “every state and every village” and incorporated their inputs in the New Education Policy.
“This has been done for the first time in the history of India,” she said.
On her replacement, Irani said she is “glad that Prakash Javadekar is going to take the PM’s vision further”.
“Thanks to Prakash ji who publicly praised my work and spoke of taking it forward,” she said.
On her new assignment, Irani said that textiles is one of the most important sectors that has the potential “to employ and skill and to scale up the Prime Minister’s dream of Make in India”.
“I know that the Prime Minister wants to give a boost to the Textiles Ministry and the new package announced for the sector indicates as much. I am happy that I have been given this opportunity to implement the roadmap that was projected through the cabinet for textiles sector,” she said.
Irani said she has been given the charge of a ministry that employs women in large numbers.
On persistent questioning from the media about her being moved out of the HRD Ministry, Irani said, “There have been so many questions and so many things being said. I would only say that ‘Kuchh to log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna’ (People will talk, it is their business).”
News of Irani’s exit from the HRD Ministry was welcomed by a few people.
Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar welcomed the exit of Irani but said this was no “punishment” for the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula.
“Justice for Rohith is still awaited. Cabinet reshuffle is not punishment…Bye bye, Smriti Irani,” the student leader tweeted.
He demanded the resignations of Irani and another minister, Bandaru Dattatreya, from ministerial posts and said a case must be lodged against them for the “institutional murder” of Vemula.
“Smritiji has been transferred from one ministry to the other. Our demand was to remove Irani and Dattatreya from the ministerial posts and lodge a case against them for the institutional murder of Vemula,” Kumar told IANS.
Rohith Vemula was a doctoral scholar at the University of Hyderabad. He committed suicide on January 17, triggering widespread protests against Irani and Dattatreya who were blamed for the suicide.
Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest over an alleged “anti-national” event also sparked massive protests among students and others.