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Smriti Irani calls Jairam Ramesh ‘courtier’, alleges facts 'distorting'

Smriti Irani calls Jairam Ramesh ‘courtier’, alleges facts distorting

New Delhi : Union Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD), Smriti Irani, on Monday hit out at Congress leader Jairam Ramesh for terming the BJP government's slogans of 'Nari Shakti' as remaining "words without real action".

Union Minister Smriti Irani targeted the Gandhi family, saying that "for far too long, the dynastic rulers masquerading as the rightful heirs of India have plundered its wealth. Even after their downfall, their courtiers continue to distort facts, manipulating figures to undermine the BJP government's efforts for women's welfare".

She addressed Jairam Ramesh as the "courtier" of the Gandhis in her post on social media platform X.

Earlier, the Congress on Monday listed "massive failures" of the WCD Ministry in the last 10 years. Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said the formation of a Congress-led government in June 2024 will end the "10 years of anyaay-kaal for women". For 10 years, the WCD Ministry has seen only "incompetence, apathy, and an anti-women mindset", he alleged.

On this, Union Minister Smriti Irani posted a long message thread on X, stating "In a blatant and somewhat pitiful attempt to curry favour with the perpetual heir apparent, a certain courtier has unwittingly exposed his own glaring incompetence. His misguided endeavours, under the guise of intellectualism, have resulted in an embarrassing misinterpretation of the role and mandate of the Ministry of Women and Child Development."

"Nevertheless, here's a thread addressing his oversight and highlighting his ignorance, especially in the context of significant work done for the Nari Shakti by the BJP government."

She said that "the inept courtier glosses over NCRB data, blatantly ignoring the initiatives of the Modi government, which have emboldened women to boldly report crimes, while simultaneously spearheading vigorous efforts to combat crime against women".

"In a brazen display of selective amnesia, he acknowledges the UPA's establishment of the NIRBHAYA Fund, yet conveniently omits the glaring fact that not a single rupee was deployed from this fund until the watershed year of 2014," she said, adding, "Post-2014, under the Modi regime, a total of 40 projects have been rolled out across the nation through the NIRBHAYA Fund. As of FY 2023-24, a total sum of Rs 7212.85 crore has been allocated, of which 75 per cent has already been utilised on initiatives implemented by the Central & State Governments."

The Union Minister said that the "courtier (read Jairam Ramesh) might also be glad to learn that an even basic measure, like the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS), was put in place solely by the Modi regime".

"With the 112-ERSS number now active in all 36 states/UTs, it has efficiently managed over 30.34 crore calls. Additionally, since 2015, the Women Helpline (WHL) has been operational under the NIRBHAYA fund. The 181-WHL has supported over 71.31 lakh women, handling more than 1.39 crore calls. The list of projects under the NIRBHAYA Fund is extensive, including One Stop Centres, Women Helpdesks at every police station, and the establishment of Fast-Track Courts for women and children," she said.

"The BJP government’s track record stands in stark contrast to the UPA administration’s inaction, showcasing not just numbers, but proactive governance and tangible change under Modi’s regime," Smriti Irani added.

Coming heavily down on Jairam Ramesh for what she called distorting the facts, Smriti Irani said that "the truth, however, contradicts baseless accusations. The heir apparent would be disconcerted to learn that funding for women and girls has skyrocketed, tripling since 2014-15. The 2024-25 budget lays bare their lies, with gender-specific allocations soaring to over Rs. 3.09 lakh crore - a monumental 215 per cent increase from 2014-15."

"Furthermore, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has seen its flagship programs flourish. The evidence is clear: the BJP Government is making unprecedented strides in championing the rights and welfare of women, in stark contrast to the lip service and mismanagement of the UPA regime," she said.

The Union Minister further said that the "national looters, alongside their blind followers, have conveniently discovered a newfound affection for Anganwadi workers, blatantly ignoring the undeniable fact that courtiers' 'concern' is nothing but a sham".

"Oblivious to or deliberately ignoring reality, they fail to acknowledge the substantial and tangible actions already undertaken by the BJP Government. The Modi regime, far from being indifferent, has enhanced their honorarium by Rs 1500. Beyond this pay increase, an additional Rs 2000 has been allocated for mobile data.

"Moreover, this regime has gone beyond mere monetary aid. It has conscientiously woven a safety net for these workers by enrolling them in flagship welfare programs like Ayushman Bharat and various insurance schemes such as PM Jeevan Jyoti and Suraksha Bima Yojana," she said.

"Furthermore, under the PM Garib Kalyan Package, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers were granted substantial benefits, including a vital Rs 50 lakh COVID insurance cover. In stark contrast to the shallow rhetoric, the BJP government has resolutely shown its unwavering dedication to genuinely empowering Anganwadi workers," the Union Minister added in the post.

Smriti Irani also said that after enduring significant time "correcting the courtier and his master's erroneous beliefs, it's time to shatter their final, misguided notion about women in the labour force. The 2022-23 PLFS Report is not just a statistic; it's a testament to the relentless ascent of Indian women, marking a 4.2 per cent surge in the Female Labour Force Participation Rate to a significant 37 per cent in 2023".

"Let's speak plain truths: 69 per cent of MUDRA loan recipients are women, not mere beneficiaries, but architects of their own enterprises. The figures are similar for Stand-Up India, where a whopping 84 per cent are women, underscoring their unyielding entrepreneurial spirit. Under PM Modi's visionary leadership, financial empowerment of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) isn't just a policy; it's a revolution, propelling a monumental upliftment. The stark reality? Women-led Development is the bedrock of Viksit Bharat," she asserted.

She added that the 'Nari Shakti' is not just aware but at the "forefront of this transformation".

"The courtier, blinded by his allegiance to the so-called heir apparent and his Nari Nyay gimmick, has lost touch with reality. The BJP government, helmed by PM Modi, recognizes women not as mere vote bank but as the torchbearers of India's progress and pledges to uphold this vision unflinchingly," Smriti Irani said.

Earlier listing the five alleged "massive failures" of the WCD ministry, Jairam Ramesh said: "Crimes against women and children have doubled; shrinking budget & underutilisation of funds; low pay and ill-treatment of ASHA and Anganwadi workers; rise in anaemia among women and children; unemployment & lost income among women."

"While minister Smriti Irani herself remains silent as women across India are assaulted, waking up only for crimes in Opposition-ruled states, her ministry diverts funds away from necessary schemes and hardworking women," the Congress leader claimed.

IANS with edits

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