HRD Minister Set to Spruce up Educational Infra in Rahul Gandhi Pocket Borough Amethi
Youngest minister in the Modi cabinet is likely to visit Amethi next week
INDIA’S newly-minted HRD minister wants to double the spend on education, but the savvy politician Smriti Irani would like some of that new money to trickle down to Amethi where she had given a close fight to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Irani, 38, the youngest in the Narendra Modi cabinet, took charge at Shastri Bhawan on Tuesday evening and quickly set about her job after meeting a posse of waiting reporters and department secretaries with whom she discussed the pending projects in the ministry. Irani told ET that she will go to Amethi soon “to do some work that you will get to know soon”. Speaking from Amethi, her confidantes said Irani could be there as early as next week. A Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Irani had run a spirited campaign in Amethi, a Gandhi pock- et borough, and had managed to bring down Rahul Gandhi’s majority from 3.70 lakh votes to just about a lakh. A party worker in Amethi said Irani has promised to immediately address the resolve the problems of the constituency. “Madam was disturbed when she found out that the only inter college for girls here has no students because there are no toilets. T h e o n l y g i rl ’s school in Amethi in Shukla Bazaar runs from a godown. She plans to revive them at the earliest,” he said.
Apart from poor schooling facilities, Irani had expressed concern over lack of drinking water in the households of Amethi and has assured them of all possible help.
“The whole unit of BJP there plans to organise a big welcome for her. Her loss by just a lakh votes in a Gandhi bastion is nothing short of victory. Her becoming a minister will bring good times for Amethi,” the party worker said. At Shastri Bhawan, Irani told ET that all the promises made in the BJP poll manifesto will be fulfilled in five years. She said she will also lobby with the government to hike the total spend on education from the current 3.8% of GDP to 6%. Tasks such as the setting up a Central university dedicated to Himalayan technology to help the government conserve ecology and arrest melting of glaciers will be a priority, she said. Irani also said that a comprehensive national E-library to empower school teachers and students was in the offing. With respect to government-run schools and colleges, she said decisions will be made after consulting stakeholders and representatives from various states. She also added that a ministerial committee was looking at the pros and