Cherie Blair to visit SEWA’s agri-business unit

Former British PM Tony Blair’s wife Cherie Blair is scheduled to visit Gujarat next week to interact with women working with SEWA’s agri-business initiative Rudi,a marketing company dealing in rural farm produces.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published:March 15, 2013 3:54 am

Former British PM Tony Blair’s wife Cherie Blair is scheduled to visit Gujarat next week to interact with women working with SEWA’s agri-business initiative Rudi,a marketing company dealing in rural farm produces.

In her maiden visit to the state on March 19,Blair will interact with women at Dhrangadhra and Kuda villages in Surendranagar district who have recently adopted digital initiatives like using mobile applications for business transactions at Rudi.

Her charity outfit,The Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women,had tied up with SEWA for a three-year digital solutions programme in May last year. “We have partnered with them for providing mobile technology that will aid women working at the grassroots level,” said Reema Nanavaty,general secretary of SEWA.

“The digital solutions have upgraded the transactions of the 3,000 Rudi saleswomen who work in 14 districts. Next,we are planning cashless service through mobile technology that will enable Rudi to process orders made through an SMS,” said a source.

Rudi is a marketing company of rural farm produces that deals mainly in spices and farm products procured directly from farmers and processed,packed and marketed by rural women.

NIFT students up in arms against fee hike

Around 200 undergraduate and post-graduate students of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Gandhinagar on Thursday staged protests outside their campus against the recent fee hike implemented by the institute for the academic year 2013-14.

Protests erupted around 1 pm after the students received an intimation about the 10 per cent fee hike on email and through a notice from the college administration.

Many of the students even skipped their classes on Thursday amid mid-term exams and jury sessions.

Starting next semester,tuition fees for UG and PG programmes have been increased to Rs 55,000 per semester. For NRI students,it has been increased to Rs 4,18,000 for two semesters.

The new fee structure will be applicable for fresh admissions as well as those who are already NIFT students.

“I have not got any official complaint from students who are protesting outside the premises of the college. I have invited their representatives to come and talk,but they have not yet made any attempt to communicate with me,” said NIFT’s director Sameeta Rajora. The hike will mean that the students will have to pay Rs 1,000 more per month,she added.

The decision to hike fees was taken on February 13.

“Our demand is that the management revoke the fee hike for the old students. A majority of us have taken loans to study in this institute and these loans were approved on the basis of our old fee structure. We will be unable to get extra loans approved in a short time we have been provided to pay the fee. From Monday,we plan to go for a full-fledged protest and will not participate in the academic process,” said a student on the condition of anonymity.

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