In the 1990s, when she was struggling to make it big in Mumbai, union cabinet minister Smriti Irani, then known as Smriti Malhotra, landed a job at the Bandra outlet of the fast food giant McDonald’s. This was just after she was rejected in an interview for the job of an air hostess, for lacking “good personality”. Now a slice of her life from those days could go under the hammer — and for a good cause.
The Provident Fund certificate relating to Irani’s job at the fast food outlet will be auctioned soon, and proceeds from the sale will go to a cluster of women artisans, HT learns. The auction will be conducted by The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL), an industry body, and senior officials of the union ministry of textiles said that the process to identify the group of women artisans to whom the proceeds will go, has started.
It all started during a conversation between Irani and officials of TEXPROCIL about her time as an employee of McDonald’s in the 1990s. Looking for a job to make ends meet, Irani took the first offer that came her way and, as she has previously said, ended up clearing tables and swept floors. Her monthly salary was ₹1,800.
Once she moved on from her job there to being one of the country’s most-watched faces on TV as part of the hit series, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Irani never look back. Her Provident Fund earnings have remained untouched.
A Mumbai-based TEXPROCIL member who asked not to be named said that he took it upon himself to find Irani’s PF certificate. “Once we told her that we found the account under her maiden name, we discussed how it could be leveraged to make the lives of women, struggling in the same manner that she did, better,” added this person. It was then that a decision was taken to auction the certificate and hand over the proceeds to the ministry.
A senior ministry official confirmed that while the plan exists, nothing has been finalised yet. The idea, this person added, is to benefit women artisans . “We will look at a cluster of women whose work needs to find takers and should be highlighted,” said the official.
Earlier this year, over 1,800 mementos that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was gifted during his foreign visits were auctioned off by the ministry of culture. Proceeds of the auction, conducted by the National Gallery of Modern Art, amounted to ₹8 crore and were given to the Namami Gange project.