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Smriti Irani makes big digital push in Amethi, takes dig at Rahul Gandhi’s yatra

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Minister’s latest project in Congress president’s constituency is a plan to connect all gram panchayats digitally by the end of this year.

New Delhi: At a time when Congress president Rahul Gandhi is on a 12-day pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, union textiles minister Smriti Irani is doing everything she can to get a strong foothold in his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi. The latest project she’s working on is to make all the gram panchayats of Amethi digital by the end of 2018.

Despite losing to Rahul in Amethi in the 2014 general elections, Irani has been a regular visitor to the Congress bastion in Uttar Pradesh, and has been initiating development work in the region. On 1 September, she launched the ‘Digital Gram’ project at Pindara Thakur village in the Musafirkhana tehsil of Amethi.

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She also used the occasion to take a dig at Rahul and his yatra.

“For me, Amethi is like Char Dham and the people of Amethi are like God,” Irani said.

Referring to Rahul’s father Rajiv Gandhi, who had won the Amethi seat four times, she added: “The constituency which gave India the prime minister for some time was digitally aloof. For the first time it is going to be a digitally-empowered district.”

Details of the project

Irani also inaugurated the first common service centre (CSC), which will offer more than 200 government services at people’s doorstep, and be the new medium for generating employment through production units and marketing the products online.

“The centre will also run a small factory where eco-friendly cups and plates, sanitary napkins and LED bulbs will be produced by local villagers, mostly women,” said Uma Shankar Pandey, BJP president for the Amethi district.

“This will educate the women to use sanitary napkins, as well as helping them earn money. The CSC will take the responsibility of marketing these products.”

Pindara Thakur was chosen as the first village of the project since it has one of largest populations in Musafirkhana tehsil and also the highest literacy rate — around 90 per cent.

“There are around 150 panchayats in Amethi, and by the year end, through the efforts of Iraniji, all will have a CSC to avail government services as well as employment opportunities,” added Pandey. There will also be Wi-Fi chaupals in each of the villages, he said.

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Irani has been very active in the constituency and has been trying to implement new schemes. In April this year, she launched the ‘Neem Project’ initiated by the Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd (GNFC).

GNFC, through its village camps, bought neem from the villagers to produce neem-coated urea, which the Modi government has been promoting for better soil management.

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