Controversies occur because I challenge status quo: Smriti Irani
HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who has been dogged by controversies, on Saturday said this was happening as she was a "straight-talker" who challenged the status-quo in education sector which was being used as a source of "profit" by some people.
Participating in a 'talkathon' with two other union ministers, Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman, Irani also rejected the charge of saffronisation of education and listed a number of initiatives by her to "empower" students and parents in decision-making, wondering if that was "saffronisation".
"I think if you challenge the status quo, then some people who are held accountable make some noises as they feel they are being challenged. They realise that jobs cannot be gotten merely on the basis of recommendation and cannot use a government institution to further their interest but will have to work in the interest of the nation.
"When people, who had made the institutions a den and a medium of profit, see that a straight-talker has come and will insist on work...," she said.
She was asked about a host of controversies dogging her ministry in the first year of the Modi government.
Rejecting the charge of saffronisation, she said she had already made a detailed statement in Parliament with full facts and wondered if steps like making books free online and involving students and parents as stake-holders in education amounted to saffronising it.
Goyal also congratulated Irani for "changing the discourse" on education by challenging "entrenched interest" in the sector.
Irani noted that education was not confined to educational institutions but was linked with the country's future, tradition and culture as she spoke about measures being taken by her in which a few people sitting in Delhi were not deciding the education policy of the country.