From tackling malnutrition and stunted growth among children to drafting the regulations for sexual harassment at the workplace, a host of challenges await Smriti Irani, who was appointed as the Women and Child Development Minister on Friday.
Irani, the youngest face in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet at 43, who emerged as a ‘giant slayer’ after defeating Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi has retained the charge of Textiles Ministry, a portfolio she held during the first term of the present government.
Preparations have already started at the Women and Child Development Ministry to welcome Irani, who is likely to take charge on Monday, sources said. However, her junior in the ministry, Debasree Chaudhury, the Raiganj lawmaker, has already taken charge.
Among the several issues that await her are completing the registration of child care institutions and ensuring that the anti-trafficking bill passes the Rajya Sabha hurdle.
In the Women and Child Development Ministry, Irani succeeds Maneka Gandhi, who was dropped this time from the Union council of ministers. She has also held portfolios of Human Resource Development and Information & Broadcasting during the first term of the Modi government.
Irani has often courted controversies, with the latest being her educational qualification stated in the election affidavit.
She was unceremoniously shifted out of the HRD Ministry to Textiles after a two-year tenure replete with controversies.
The popular TV actor-turned-politician had her first brush with electoral politics in 2004 when she contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Chandni Chowk seat in Delhi, but lost to Congress heavyweight Kapil Sibal.
After a decade she returned to poll politics and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 from Amethi, a bastion of the Gandhi family, losing to the now Congress chief. She was then sent to Rajya Sabha and made a minister but was again fielded from the high-profile seat in UP this time, where she scripted a historic win.