From being one of the most popular faces on the small screen to taking on Rahul Gandhi in a high-profile Lok Sabha poll battle in Amethi, Smriti Irani’s induction in the Narendra Modi ministry represents a crowing glory in her political career.
Having acquired fame as a TV actress in ‘saas-bahu’ soap opera, she continued to under spotlight after she switched over from TV to politics and fought two tough electoral battles in the last ten years including one against Congress heavyweight Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk in Delhi in 2004.
As BJP’s candidate from Congress bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh where she took on Rahul, Irani fought one of themost high profile electoral contests of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. She lost but not without putting up an impressive fight that saw Rahul’s margin of victory to just over a lakh.
A former National President of BJP’s women’s wing, Irani now holds the position of Vice President in the party.
Irani was born in Delhi and had her education in the national capital before she shifted to Mumbai and became a household name because of her role in the TV serial “Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” for her portrayal of the character of Tulsi.
Married to businessman Zubin Irani and having one son and a daughterm, Smriti Irani lists reading as her past-time.
Irani's appointment as HRD Minister had made as much news as the decision now to take the portfolio from her.
The V-C also gave credence to rumours that he could not get an appointment with Irani despite several attempts for almost a year.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani attributed the change to the poor response from foreign universities.
She cheekily signed off with the name “Aunty National".
The UGC has allowed deemed university them to set up as many satellite centres they wish but after meeting certain conditions
Smriti Irani's post came after her spat with Bihar Education Minister Ashok Choudhary on Tuesday.
According to sources, HRD minister Smriti Irani would also be present in the seminar where apart from senior officials of her ministry, VCs, UGC top brass and yoga experts would be present.
The Central university is proposed to be set up in Anantapuramu district, while the tribal varsity is to be located in Vizianagaram district
The event was organised at SPPU’s department of management sciences (PUMBA) where state project director of RUSA, Manisha Verma, SPPU vice-chancellor Wasudeo Gade, vice-chancellors of seven state universities and other dignitaries were present.
She said when the process of drafting NEP was initiated, it was promised that before putting anything in public domain, the opinion of states would be taken.
The 200-page report, as first reported by The Indian Express on May 28, contains close to 90 suggestions including reinstating detention of students beyond Class V.
She added that the people of Amethi address her as ‘didi’ with affection. “People call one leader as behanji (BSP chief Mayawati) who had failed to meet their expectations... Unlike her, I will meet their expectations,” said Irani.
"I was hoping it would begin a discussion, but unfortunately it fell down... came down to a personal attack," said Chaturvedi.
As the Modi government completes two years in power, here is look at what key ministers from the Union Cabinet have to say.
"The Nehru-Gandhi family has not fulfilled its promises due to which I have reduced victory margin of Rahul by 80 per cent," said Irani
Shala Asmita Yojana (SAY) aims to track the educational journey of close to 25 crore school students from Class I to Class XII across 15 lakh schools in the country.
In a Twitter chat with a journalist, Chaturvedi tagged Irani and said that “a perceived threat to @smritiirani’s life gets Z sec, here I am struggling to get rape/death threat investigated. Cut the crap.”
In a Twitter battle, HRD minister Smriti Irani engages in a war of tweets with Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi. Says losing Assam elections is Rahul Gandhi's forte.
They were protesting the the recent appointment of Manish Vij as the district president of the unit.
“If this university can work on saving the extinct languages of the country, it would be the best use of the technology,” she emphasised.
Sources said the decision to start a Vedic education board, on the lines of CBSE, is based on the recommendation of Sanskrit experts and representatives of gurukuls and ved pathshalas.
Smriti Irani said that even in corporate sector it was difficult for women to break the glass ceiling and enter leadership positions.
Irani said that colleges that have “two cycles of highest NAAC” will soon get autonomy “if they have an NOC from the university”.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani also said it has also been decided that the questions in the IIT-JEE entrance test would conform to Class 12 syllabus.
The matter is due to be heard in the apex court in the next few days.
The minister also announced that students pursuing higher studies would be allowed to take maternity leave, while women and physically handicapped students would get more time to complete their PhD.
Tawde, who met Union Health Minister J P Nadda in New Delhi along with 22 other state health ministers, said the Centre should review the Supreme Court verdict that has made NEET compulsory for medical aspirants.
Irani, a first-time minister and the youngest in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministerial council, also said that education in the previous government had become a “political akhara (political battlefield)”.
"I don't harbour any ill feeling towards critics, who questioned my credentials to be HRD Minister. There is a now a grudging acceptance of my merit among them," said Smriti Irani
Union Minister Smriti Irani Friday described the Congress-DMK alliance for the May 16 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu as an "unholy" one while bringing up the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
However, only those with 75 per cent or more attendance will be eligible to evaluate their teachers.
He added that the government had now decided to provide extra coaching classes and other logistical help to students appearing in NEET in July.
Irani said such intervention from her side could open a “Pandora’s box” and could be seen as an encroachment on the autonomy of the university.
Overall the annual average dropout rate at primary level has reduced from 5.6 per cent during 2012-13 to 4.3 per cent during 2014-15
The fake universities, according to the HRD Minister Smriti Irani are in UP and Delhi, West Bengal and one each in Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha
The university's response came in pursuance to court's earlier order summoning documents from its School of Open Learning department on the allegation that in her affidavit for April 2004 polls, Irani had claimed that she completed her BA in 1996.