Millennium Post

Modi sells Jasuben’s pizzas to FICCI ladies

Which served Modi fine, as the Gujarat chief minister talked about Jasuben’s pizzas as an example of successful female entrepreneurship. Modi said her pizzas were more popular in Ahmedabad than Pizza Hut’s. ‘Now the media will think Jasuben is like Kalawati, and search for her,’ he said, ‘as a matter of fact she died in Pune five years ago. Her pizzas, however, still have a big market.’

No one in the packed auditorium at Le Meridian missed the dig at the Gandhi scion, who had made Kalawati, a poor farmer’s widow, famous when he talked about her plight in a Maharashtra village, in his Parliament speech in 2008. But Modi’s 90-minute speech was more than mere digs. Women’s entrepreneurship, empowerment and equality for the fairer sex were the themes during his interaction. Speaking on the topic ‘Unleash the Entrepreneur Within: Exploring New Avenues’, Modi highlighted the need to empower women, if India has to promote women entrepreneurship and stay on the growth track. He said the status of women in India has become worse than in the 18th century despite progress made by society in other areas.

‘In our culture, mothers have the highest place. But a lot of bad things have crept into our society. In the 18th century, female foeticide had started,’ he said. ‘Sometimes I feel our situation has become worse than that in the 18th century. In the 21st century, girls are being killed in the womb. Both men and women are equally responsible for that,’ he said, adding this problem also existed in Gujarat.

But Gujarat, Modi said, has been a state where women empowerment has also created entrepreneurship benchmarks for all. Be it the Jasuben’s pizzas or Lijjat Paapad, women in Gujarat have shown exemplary skills in turning their mediocre lives into models of entrepreneurship, he added.

Observing that 50 per cent women alone could do a lot to bring economic development in the country, Modi cited examples of women in tribal areas and the dairy movement which made Amul an internationally known brand. ‘But even today women are not part of the economic decision-making process. We have to change this,’ Modi said.

Criticising Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal, Modi said the assembly had passed a Bill for reserving 50 per cent seats for women in local bodies in urban and rural areas but it has still not got her assent. ‘It is my misfortune that despite being a woman she has not given her assent,’ he added.
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