‘Women help desks became a reality because of the Modi government. More than 700 fast track courts have been set up by this government and 35 helplines dedicated to women were introduced,’ the union minister said
Speaking at the inaugural edition of CNN-News18 Town Hall, Union Women & Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani said India now has a Prime Minister who advocates for women to be equal partners in the nation’s growth.
In a conversation with CNN-News18’s Marya Shakil, Irani, who defeated Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in the 2019 elections, said serious measures for women’s safety were taken only after Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, starting with the mission to end open defecation.
“Toilet was never an election agenda in India. When PM Modi won in 2014, he went beyond and said that we need to start from the basics. Around 33 crore people were defecating in the open before 2014, and 45% women were vulnerable to sexual abuse because of that,” she said.
“Women help desks became a reality because of the Modi government. More than 700 fast track courts have been set up by this government and 35 helplines dedicated to women were introduced,” the Amethi MP said.
Talking about her tenure as education minister in the previous Modi government, Irani said: “The education policy in our country changed after 30 years. The change began at the time I was education minister. In the past, the government never asked parents what kind of education policy they want… Leadership is not about facing challenges in the present, but also about preparing for challenges of the future.”
Watch the full conversation here:
Speaking on the ongoing stir over Agnipath, Smriti Irani appealed for peaceful discussion on the recruitment scheme.
“I have been appealing to all to look into the policy and its merits. The government has categorically cleared myths about the scheme and if you need more details, ask your public representative. One should be introspective about what are they achieving by torching the nation’s property. Can the nation be secured by those who try to burn it?”
On Nupur Sharma
Speaking about suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma whose remarks against Prophet Mohammad during a televised debate triggered widespread protests, Irani said the party had made its stand clear on the issue.
“My party has made its stand clear that we respect every religion. Mutual respect is the way forward. We are Indians first and then spokespersons of a party.”
On Rahul Gandhi
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Irani said she visited the Congress leader’s new constituency Wayanad in Kerala, and found that families were in need.
“I went to Wayanad to look at the district work. It got highlighted because the MP (Rahul Gandhi) was in Kathmandu. There were families who had agricultural need, which was not resolved by the administration,” Irani said, adding, “I am not a political prodigy, I am a self-made woman.”
The CNN-News18 Townhall
The CNN-News18 Town Hall kicked off on Saturday with Union I&B and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur as the first speaker, followed by Minister for Women & Child Development Smriti Irani. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke at the event later in the day.
The essence of CNN-News18 Town Hall is to decode the most relevant and topical issues that are shaping India. The town hall events will take place once every quarter, focusing on the quality of conversations and building a unique platform for the channel to engage with its audiences on the ground.
With inputs from News18
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