The human resources development (HRD) ministry faced the ire of social media users on Wednesday for allegedly bending rules to appoint Shilpi Tiwari, a close aide of HRD minister Smriti Irani, as a consultant last year.
Tiwari was also the campaign manager for Irani during the Lok Sabha polls in Amethi.
Though Tiwari did not take up the offer, minutes of the meeting of Project Approval Board (PAB) that took place on May 20, 2015, confirms that rules were relaxed for her appointment.
The meeting was chaired by the HRD secretary and she was appointed a consultant at a fee of Rs 35,000 for three months under the National Mission of Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT).
“A note dated 11th March, 2015, was received from the office of hon’ble HRD regarding appointment of Ms Shilpi tiwari as consultant under NMEICT to work on the website, social media and other communication related activities, including but not limited to design and content development for MHRD,” the note states.
A post graduation or MSc, MTech is prescribed as a qualification for the post of consultant but Tiwari has a bachelors degree from Architecture from School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi.
‘The PA B ratified the approval accorded by the secretary, higher education, to appoint Ms Shilpi Tiwari and relaxation in qualifications prescribed for the appointment of consultants in respect of Tiwari”.
An HRD ministry spokesperson said Tiwari did not take up the offer. However, the ministry did not respond to allegations on why rules were changed for her. Despite several attempts, Tiwari could not be contacted.
For the past two days, there has been an uproar on social media about Tiwari’s role in promoting the alleged fake video of JNU students making ‘seditious’ comments. Tiwari deactivated her Twitter account temporarily on Tuesday night. However, the account became active later, but she has not tweeted since February 27.