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Andhra CM seeks Smriti Irani’s support for Disha bills


With two ‘Disha’ women protection bills waiting Presidential assent, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday requested Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani to expedite her ministry’s response to the legislation.

In a letter to Irani, Reddy said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has called for comments and observations on the Andhra Pradesh Disha (Special Courts for Specified Offences against Women and Children) Bill, and the Andhra Pradesh Disha Criminal Law (AP Amendment Bill), 2019 as they are currently under Presidential consideration for assent.

“I shall, there, be grateful, if you could kindly look into the matter and expedite comments of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the aforesaid bills,” he wrote.

He also offered to depute a state officer to brief the ministry regarding the provisions of the bills.

The Chief Minister solicited her support for bills aimed to create a robust and conducive ecosystem for speedy justice and to usher in safety, dignity and happiness for the women and children of AP.

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Telangana seeks funds from Centre for handlooms, textiles


Telangana’s Industry Minister K.T. Rama Rao has urged the Centre to allocate funds in the Union Budget 2021-22 for development of handlooms and textiles in the state.

In a letter to Union Textiles Minister Smriti Z. Irani, he sought funds for the development of the Kakatiya Mega Textile Park, and sanction of a mega powerloom cluster at Sircilla as well as certain proposals for the development of handlooms and textiles.

He said that Kakatiya Mega Textile Park (KMTP) at Warangal would take off in 2021-22. “KMTP is being developed at a total estimated project cost of Rs 1,552 crore of which the core infrastructure works would cost approximately Rs 1,094 crore. We have aligned our project activities such that major external and internal infrastructure works at KMTP can be taken up immediately upon receipt of the proposed financial support under the Mega Textile Park scheme,” he said.

“Under the proposed scheme, we understand that a total of Rs 500 crore capital support is available for a Mega Textile Park. We request that approximately Rs 300 crore of this amount be released at the earliest to kick start major external infrastructure works urgently needed at the park,” wrote KTR, as the minister is popularly known.

Noting that there are 35,588 power looms in Telangana, the minister said 25,495 of them are in Sircilla district alone.

“Taking into account of existing power looms, the Sircilla district stands best suitable to establish Mega Powerloom Cluster under Comprehensive Powerloom Cluster Development Scheme (CPCDS) and submission of a proposal to Govt of India for sanction and developing Mega Powerloom Cluster therein, such as Ichalkaranji (Maharashtra, Surat (Gujarat) Karanpura & Solar, etc, which were already sanctioned as Mega Powerloom Clusters during 12th Five Year Plan during 2017-18 to 2019-20,” he said.

KTR urged Irani to sanction a mega powerloom cluster at Sircilla and sanction Rs 49.84 crore out of the projected outlay of Rs 993.65 crore towards filling various gaps and to implement the components including infrastructure gaps, modernisation, and expansion of production base, strengthen of value chain, market development, skill development and capacity building and administration studies and project monitoring costs of textile park, weaving and apparel park at Sircilla.

He also sought sanctioning of the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology (IIHT) for Telangana as the state has no such institute offer a course in diploma in handloom technology, and aspirants have to go to neighbouring states such as Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka to acquire admissions in an IIHT.

He further stated that sufficient land with a constructed building facility is available at Handloom Park, Pochampally, Yadadri Bhongir district for the establishment of the IIHT.

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GHMC polls: Smriti Irani says Rohingyas enlisted in voters list


The GHMC elections have taken a national political hue with the central BJP leaders aggressively canvassing for its party leaders. Both the ruling TRS and BJP are raking up issues of national importance rather than focusing on local issues.

On Wednesday, Union Minister Smriti Iran tore into the TRS camp blaming the unholy alliance between the ruling party and Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM for the illegal stay of Rohingyas in Hyderabad. The Union Minister alleged that the AIMIM party leaders got illegal immigrants enlisted in the voters’ list and that the TRS government had failed to initiate any action against them.

“The law and order is a state subject. If the TRS government writes to the Union government about deportation Rohingyas, we will take action. Thousands of Rohingyas had succeeded in getting listed as voters while the TRS government has turned a blind eye. Both the TRS and AIMIM are using the Rohingyas for political gains which is shameful. The Telangana government has to take immediate steps for the deportation of Rohingyas,” Smiti Irani said while addressing a press conference in Hyderabad.

.The Union Minister claimed that more than 75,000 Rohingya refugees are residing in Hyderabad while enjoying full support from AIMIM and the ruling TRS. “Our party’s stand and the stand of the union government has been consistent against illegal immigration. We need to protect the rights of every Indian citizen and it is our onerous responsibility to ensure that the taxpayers’ money goes to the deserving Indians,” she said.

Further, she said thousands of people have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Telangana state and that she is deeply saddened by the family rule of KCR. The Union minister also said that the TRS is rattled by the presence of BJP reason why the Telangana government was using the police machinery to arrest its leaders and foist false cases.

On Tuesday, BJP president Bandi Sanjay Kumar said that TRS and AIMIM were trying to win GHMC polls with Rohingyas, Pakistani, and Afghanistani voters and warned that surgical strikes in Old City once the BJP wins the GHMC polls triggering an uproar from the TRS and the AIMIM.

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Sabarimala issue and Smriti Irani’s controversial comments


Union Minister Smriti Irani today made some controversial remarks on ongoing Sabarimala issue. It is known news that as per recent Supreme court verdict (September, 2018), any woman can enter into Sabarimala temple. Earlier, there was ban on woman between the ages 10 and 50 to enter the temple. Now, after the SC verdict, many women are trying to enter the temple but in vein as right wing activists are obstructing their entry.

In 1991 Kerala Kigh court verdict banned women (10-50 years age) entry

Administration and legal duties is managed by Travancore Devaswom Board, an affiliate authority of Government of Kerala. Before 1991, women visited the temple. There were instances when even the Maharani of Tranvancore had visited the temple. But all of this changed with Kerala High court verdict in 1991.

In 1991, the Kerala High Court gave a ruling in which it banned entry of women between ages above the age of 10 and below the age of 50 from offering worship at Sabarimala Shrine. These women are not allowed into temple during any period of the year. Court gave the reason for such restriction too – it said this verdict was in accordance with the usage prevalent from time immemorial. Court also directed the Government of Kerala, to use police force to ensure the order to ban entry of women to the temple.

Why women not allowed since ‘time immemorial’?

Court just mentioned it as the practice followed for several years. However, people say, in olden days, there was no restriction as such on women but women voluntarily did not visit this temple. To explain the reason – there are many legends. According to one such legend, Ayappa is celibate so that he can focus on answering the prayers of his devotees. And he will remain celibate till the day kanni swamis (first-time devotees) stop coming to Sabarimala. As per the same legend, Malikapurathamma, who was freed from curse by Ayyappa wanted to marry him but Ayyappa told he will marry only when kanni swamis stop coming. So women, out of the love for Malikapurathamma, did not visit this temple.

Now comes constitutional conflict:

Indian Young Lawyers Association and others challenged the ban in apex court. They referred to articles 25 and 26 (Freedom to practice religion) of the Constitution and said that a person can only be restrained on the grounds of “public health, public order and morality”. Even the morality mentioned here must abide by principles of constitution. So this subject became the debate on fundamental rights of women.

Supreme court decision, 2018

On 28th September 2018 the Supreme Court of India, overturned the ban on women between the ages of 10 and 50 entering the temple . The apex court stated that the selective ban on women was not an “essential part” of Hinduism, and instead a form of “religious patriarchy”.

Smriti Irani’s controversial comments:

Union minister commented on the issue and told “I am nobody to speak against the Supreme Court verdict as I am a serving cabinet minister. But just plain common sense is that would you carry a napkin seeped with menstrual blood and walk into a friend’s house. You would not. And would you think it is respectful to do the same when you walk into the house of god? That is the difference. I have the right to pray, but no right to desecrate. That is the difference that we need to recognize and respect.”

She also shared an incident when she had to wait outside a fire temple in Mumbai, with her son inside. “…What does that mean irrespective of whether I am a politician or a minister, because I have two Zoroastrian children and a Zoroastrian husband. I am made to stand outside. I will stand either on the road or sit in my car… When I took my newborn son (to a fire temple in Andheri), I had to give him at the temple, gave him to my husband, because I was shooed away and told don’t stand here,” she said.

However her comments are creating controversy as it looks like she preferred traditions over the judgements of apex court in the country.

What lies ahead?

Now political parties are busy playing the ballgame. Communist government is saying, RSS activists are hindering women entering the temple and defying the courts. BJP ministers and new leaders like Rajnikanth, who wants to do spiritual politics, supporting the traditions over the court judgements. Whenever such verdicts announced there will be some chaos but they gradually dissipate. Over the period of a decade or so, perceptions change and people change and they gradually accommodate constitutional bindings.

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Rahul Gandhi vs Smriti : Is India really run by dynasts?


Comments made by Rahul Gandhi in his recent US tour spurred another debate in the country – “Whether India is really run by dynasts’. While some of the Indians supported his views, most of the netizens as well as BJP leaders trolled him. But seems his argument also has some meat.

When asked whether he is ready to take executive roles (like party president or Prime ministerial candidature), he replied he is absolutely ready. But he also acknowledged that we have election process through which only it is possible. Then when asked about dynasty politics, he replied “That’s how India works”. He mentioned Akhilesh Yadav, stalin, Abhishek Bachchan and Ambanis to augment his viewpoint. He also mentioned that it is finally the capabilities of that person that is more important in deciding what he will be up to.

Though there is some substance in this argument, his viewpoint received lot of criticism from BJP leaders and netizens. Minister Smriti Irani pointed out that Prime Minister Modi himself raised to the highest position from humble background. Not just prime minister, but there are people who achieved a lot despite their humble back grounds. She also remarked, by picturing India is run by dynasts, Rahul Gandhi is spoiling the image of India on international soil.

But if we approach this issue rationally, one can say both the viewpoints are correct to some extent but none of them is completely correct. India has been facing the issues of nepotism and corruption since politics. Sometimes people also prefer heirs of stalwarts of the field to others. Be it film industry, business families, or even politics – heirs of the successful people mostly prefer to stay in the same industry as they do not want to start from scratch in some other industries. If they are capable, they will be successful, else they too fail. Only advantage to them is they do not need to start with escape velocity to break initial resistance. Ironically, Rahul Gandhi himself stands as big example of this case study because – despite having great family back ground he did not achieve anything of his own till date, which proves some dynasts could never achieve anything beyond a point!!!

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