Smriti Irani Biography – an Indian Politician and Former Actress

Smriti Zubin Irani is an Indian politician and former actress, fashion model and producer. She is a Minister in Union Cabinet of India since May 2014, currently administrating the Ministries of Women and Child Development and also the first Non-Muslim to serve as the Minister of Minority Affairs.

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Real Name: Smriti Zubin Irani
Profession: Indian politician and former actress
Birthplace: New Delhi, India
Spouse: Zubin Irani
Age: 47

Smriti Zubin Irani (born 23 March 1976) is an Indian politician and former actress, fashion model, and producer. She is a Minister in the Union Cabinet of India since May 2014, currently administrating the Ministries of Women and Child Development and also the first Non-Muslim to serve as the Minister of Minority Affairs. A prominent leader within the Bharatiya Janata Party, she is a Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, representing Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.

In the 2019 Indian general election, she defeated Rahul Gandhi — the country’s principal opposition leader and the president of the Indian National Congress — to win the Amethi seat. Previously the Amethi constituency had been represented by the members of the Gandhi family for the last four decades. Earlier in 2011, Irani had become a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

Smriti Irani Biography
Smriti Irani Biography

Irani was the youngest minister in the 2019 Council of Ministers when she was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister in May 2019 at the age of 43. Having a diverse family background, Irani can speak in several Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, and Punjabi; her paternal family has a Punjabi and Maharashtrian heritage, while her maternal family has a Bengali heritage.

Smriti Irani Biography
Union Cabinet Minister, Government of India
Assumed office
26 May 2014
6 July 2022 – Incumbent Ministry of Minority Affairs
31 May 2019 – Incumbent Ministry of Women and Child Development
5 July 2016 – 7 July 2021 Ministry of Textiles
18 July 2017 – 24 May 2018 Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
26 May 2014 – 5 July 2016 Ministry of Human Resource Development
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
Assumed office
23 May 2019
Preceded by Rahul Gandhi
Constituency Amethi
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
19 August 2011 – 23 May 2019
Preceded by Pravin Naik
Succeeded by Jugalji Mathurji Thakor
Constituency Gujarat
National President of BJP Mahila Morcha
In office
24 June 2010 – 24 April 2013
Preceded by Sumit
Succeeded by Saroj Pandey
Personal details
Smriti Malhotra

23 March 1976 (age 47)
New Delhi, India

Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Zubin Irani (m. 2001)
Children 3
Residence Mumbai
  • Politician
  • actress

Early and personal life (Smriti Irani Biography)

She was born Smriti Malhotra, the daughter of a half-Punjabi, half-Maharashtrian Hindu father, Ajay Kumar Malhotra, and a Bengali Hindu mother, Shibani née Bagchi. She is the oldest of three sisters. She has been a part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since childhood, her grandfather was an RSS swayamsevak and her mother was a member of Jana Sangh.

Smriti was educated at the Holy Child Auxilium School, New Delhi, which is run by Catholic nuns. Later, she enrolled in the School of Open Learning at the University of Delhi. In 2019, she revealed that she had written her first-year B.Com. exams from that institution, but had not completed the three-year degree course.

Smriti Irani Biography
Smriti Irani Biography

In 2001, Smriti married a Parsi businessman, Zubin Irani. In October of the same year, the couple had their first child, a son named Zohr. In September 2003, the couple had their second child, a daughter named Zoish. Smriti is also a stepmother to Shanelle who is Zubin Irani‘s daughter from his previous marriage to Mona Irani, a coordinator, and former beauty contestant.

In 2018, responding to queries about her faith, she stated that she is a practicing Hindu married to a practicing Zoroastrian and that wearing a sindoor is her belief as a Hindu.

Acting career (Smriti Irani Biography)

Irani was one of the participants of the beauty pageant Miss India 1998 but couldn’t reach the top 9, along with Gauri Pradhan Tejwani. In 1998, Irani appeared in the song “Boliyan” on the album “Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag” with Mika Singh. In 2000, she made her acting début with the TV series Aatish and Hum Hain Kal Aaj Aur Kal, both of which aired on Star Plus. Apart from this, she acted in Kavita on the DD metro. In mid-2000, Irani bagged the lead role of Tulsi Virani in Ekta Kapoor‘s production Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi on Star Plus for which she holds the record of winning five consecutive ITA Awards for Best Actress Popular and four Indian Telly Awards. Irani had a fallout with the producer Ekta Kapoor and she left the show in June 2007 and was replaced by Gautami Kapoor. She made her comeback in May 2008 in a special episode, reconciling with Kapoor.

In 2002, she played the epic character Sita in Zee TV‘s Ramayan along with Nitish Bharadwaj n 2006, Irani co-produced the show Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan under her banner Ugraya Entertainment and co-produced by Balaji Telefilms. She also played the lead role of Uma in it. In 2007, she produced the TV serial Virrudh for Sony TV and also portrayed the lead character of Vasudha in it. She produced Mere Apne for 9X and portrayed the protagonist alongside Vinod Khanna. She acted in a supporting role in Zee TV’s Teen Bahuraaniyaan.

In 2008, Irani along with Sakshi Tanwar hosted the show Yeh Hai Jalwa, a dance-based reality show featuring celebrities along with their troops on 9X. In the same year, she produced another show on Zee TV, Waaris which ended in 2009. In 2009, she appeared in a comedy show, aired on SAB TV. She also co-produced the show in collaboration with Contiloe Entertainment. In 2012, she worked in the Bengali movie Amrita.

Political career (Smriti Irani Biography)

Irani joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2003. The following year, she was appointed vice-president of the Maharashtra Youth Wing in 2004. In the general elections held that year for the 14th Lok Sabha, she contested unsuccessfully against Kapil Sibal from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi. That election witnessed a shock defeat for the incumbent Vajpayee government. In December 2004, Irani, blaming then Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi for BJP’s electoral losses, threatened to fast unto death until he resigned. She retracted this demand after the BJP’s central leadership threatened to take action against her.

Irani was nominated as an executive member of the central committee of the BJP. During the campaign for the 2009 parliamentary elections, while campaigning for Vijay Goel in the New Delhi constituency, Irani voiced her concern for women’s safety in the city and advocated capital punishment for rapists as a deterrent. In early 2010, Irani was appointed National Secretary of the BJP and on 24 June, she was appointed All India President of the BJP’s women’s wing, BJP Mahila Morcha. As National President of the BJP Women’s Wing, she successfully pursued Permanent Commission for Women in the Indian Army by facilitating legal aid to women officers who held temporary commissions and were agitating for a permanent commission.

In July 2016, in a cabinet reshuffle, Irani was shuffled to the Ministry of Textiles from MHRD.

In July 2017, she was handed the additional charge of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India) when former Minister Venkaiah Naidu resigned from the ministry to take part in vice-presidential elections.

In 2019, Irani became a Member of Parliament for the Amethi constituency after winning the Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 general elections from Rahul Gandhi.

Work is undertaken as Union Minister (Smriti Irani Biography)

Smriti Irani is currently the youngest minister in the cabinet of Narendra Modi. She is also the first woman to hold office as the Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Union Minister of Textiles. She is also the youngest woman to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Some of her key achievements in various portfolios held by her have been listed below :

As Union Minister for Human Resource Development (May 2014–July 2016)

In her term as the HRD minister, Irani undertook a number of decisions that helped in improving the quality, inclusivity, and outcome of education in the country. Some of the key achievements have been listed as under :

  1. The Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) was launched by the Minister post the retreat of IITs in 2014. The network is an initiative within the Higher Education sector aimed at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs, internationally to encourage their engagement with the institutes of Higher Education in India so as to augment the country’s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reform, and elevate India’s scientific and technological capacity to global excellence.
  2. Udaan Yojana and Pragati Scheme launched in 2014 by Irani aims to address the low enrolment of girls in engineering colleges. The scheme has been designed to provide a comprehensive platform to deserving girl students who aspire to pursue higher education in engineering and assist them in preparing for the IIT-JEE while studying in Classes XI and XII. By 2016, 143 of the 300 girls under the scheme had cleared JEE. In the same year, the Pragati Scheme was launched in order to provide financial support and encouragement to female students to pursue technical education.
  3. Know Your College Portal was launched in the year 2014 for helping prospective students make a valuable judgment with regard to the selection of an appropriate college for pursuing higher education by providing the necessary information about the college.
  4. The IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology (IMPRINT) India Scheme, the brainchild of Irani was launched by former President, Pranab Mukherjee, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. It is the first of its kind MHRD supported Pan-IIT + IISc joint initiative to address the major science and engineering challenges that India must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance. Within a year of its launch, 31 ministries and government departments have proposed to co-fund 229 research projects worth Rs 59,589 lakh at IITs and other premier Indian research institutes.
  5. National Institute Ranking Framework is an indigenous ranking framework for higher educational institutions launched by Irani in 2015, It will now allow the students seeking admission into colleges to assess the performance and quality level of different colleges.
  6. SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds), launched in the year 2016 by Irani is a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform, which aims at providing online courses, study material, and course registration. It has been designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity, and quality. It further aims to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy.
  7. Veer Gatha series was launched by the HRD ministry under the leadership of Irani in the year 2016 as an initiative to take the stories of India’s bravest of brave soldiers to young school children and inspire them.
Smriti_Irani with Her Family
Smriti Irani with Her Family

Union Minister for Textiles (July 2016–July 2021)

In July 2016, Irani was given charge of the Textiles Ministry, taking over from Santosh Kumar Gangwar. She held that portfolio for a full five years, until July 2021, having been re-appointed to the position after the parliamentary elections of 2019. Her contribution to the sector has been appreciated by various industry bodies like the textile council TEXPROCIL, the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India, and the Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF). Her significant initiatives as Minister of Textiles include:

  1. Apparel Sector Special Package launched in the year 2018, is a Rs. 6,000 crore worth of package launched by Irani in 2016, aimed at strengthening the entire textile industry by providing financial support to small-scale players in the industry.
  2. Support for Technical Textile, in a bid to fulfill the long-standing demand of the industry, in January 2019, Irani declare technical textile items as a separate category and declared that the government had notified 207 HSN codes as technical textiles. The said move is expected to benefit 900 million farmers in the country and will help the industry to grow over Rs 2 trillion (short scale) in the tech textile sector and help potential investors to enter into technical textiles.
  3. Special focus on the North Eastern Regions, during the first term of her tenure as the Minister of Textiles, 21 readymade garment manufacturing units in the northeastern region had been made functional. Special initiatives were taken to further push sericulture in the region, for which Rs. 690 crore had been earmarked.
  4. Silk Samagra Workshop was launched by Irani in 2018, which is an Integrated Scheme for the Development of the Silk Industry for 3 years from 2017 to 2020. The main objective of the scheme is to maintain the Breeder’s stock, Breed improvement through R&D Projects, Development of mechanized practices, Technology translation through the Sericulture Information Linkages and Knowledge System (SILKS) Portal, Mobile Application for Stakeholders, and seed quality monitoring.
  5. Samarth Scheme is an aspirational initiative launched by Irani in her second term as the Union Minister for Textiles. The ministry has envisaged an expenditure of over Rs. 1,300 crores to upskill over 4 lakh workers in 16 states.

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (July 2017–May 2018)

  1. The 48th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held under her watch in November 2017. For the first time, under the Accessible India Campaign of the Government of India, cinematic works were presented in an audio-described format for the visually impaired. Film star Shah Rukh Khan expressed his admiration in these words: “Great endeavor by I&B Minister Smriti Irani to make IFFI the most inclusive, relevant forum for Indian cinema. My unwavering support to you”. The event was a star-studded one, with Sridevi, AR Rahman, Shahid Kapoor, Vishal Bhardwaj, and many other stars registering their presence at the event.
  2. In FY 2017, during Mrs. Irani’s term as I&B Minister, the revenue of State-run broadcaster Doordarshan rose to Rs 827.51 crore, surpassing its target of Rs 800 crore.

Union Minister for Women and Child Developments (May 2019–present)

In the second term of the Modi Government, Irani was appointed as the key portfolio Union Minister for Women and Child Development. Subsequently, in the cabinet reshuffle of July 2021, Irani was again given the charge of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

  1. Committee on Gender Budgeting, within the first few weeks of taking charge as the Minister for Women and Child Development, Irani acknowledged the role of Gender Budgeting in the progression of a women-friendly nation and proactively engaged with various stakeholders in order to give recommendations for immediate actionable to the Prime Minister’s office with reference to Gender Budgeting for Budget, 2019–2020.
  2. Amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2019: One of her first legislative initiatives as the Minister for WCD was the said amendment, which aims to make punishment more stringent and even include the death penalty for offenders involved in sexual crimes against minors. Further, through the said amendment, the minister also undertook the initiative to define “child pornography” and reiterated a “zero tolerance” stance against the crime.
  3. Bharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh, As part of the Poshan Abhiyaan, Irani along with Bill Gates, through his foundation, announced the launch of India’s first Poshan Atlas, Bhartiya Poshan Krishi Kosh(BPKK) in order to create a repository of diverse crops across 127 agro-climatic zones of the country.

MP from Amethi (Smriti Irani Biography)

Irani, in the 2019 general elections, in the Amethi constituency of Uttar Pradesh, won a historic victory against Rahul Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress, by a margin of 55,120 votes. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leadership put in an all-around effort over the past five years to ensure this win. Irani made multiple visits to Amethi after her loss to launch central development schemes in the constituency, to underscore her message that she would provide better representation than the incumbent member. Congress suffered from the assumption that the family loyalty factor would continue to hold the seat for the political dynasty, Irani stressed how a record number of toilets and houses had been built by the Centre for the poor in Amethi since the Modi government came to power.

This seat had previously been held by Rahul Gandhi since 2004.

Post her victory from Amethi and entry into the Lok Sabha :

  1. She has been allotted a first-row seat in the Lok Sabha, signaling her ascent in the BJP hierarchy.
  2. Smriti Irani lends a shoulder to the mortal remains of a close aide who was shot dead in Amethi.
  3. After winning the election she launched the “Didi Apke Dwar” program, a block-wise Janta Darbar for listening to and solving public grievances.
  4. She fulfilled her election promise of Kendriya Vidyalaya for Amethi within the first 3-month of winning the seat.

Awards and international conferences

  1. Young Global Leader, Irani was named Young Global Leader from India by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2015. The said award in the past has been given to leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron, Alibaba Group chief Jack Ma, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google chief Larry Page, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
  2. Irani was unanimously elected as a Member representing the Asia Pacific Region to the Task Force responsible for establishing the 1st ever Committee for Young Parliamentarians in the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
  3. Irani was also the USAID Goodwill Ambassador to India for the WHO-ORS program for 3 Years.
  4. Irani 2019 was named was listed in Femina’s Power List under the theme “Women Who Changed The Game” for her victory of Amethi over Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

Controversies (Smriti Irani Biography)

Undergraduate degree controversy

Irani was accused of providing contradictory affidavits about her educational qualifications during different elections. In her affidavit for the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, she reportedly stated her educational qualification as B.A. from Delhi University. However, while filing affidavits in her nomination papers for Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in 2011 and Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 2014, she said her highest educational qualification was,, Part 1 from the School of Open Learning at the University of Delhi.

She later claimed that she has done, Part 1 from Delhi University (not completing the full course till Part 3) in the affidavit she filed for Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat in 2017 which stated “Bachelor of Commerce, Part 1. Three-year degree course not completed“.

A freelance writer Ahmer Khan filed a complaint in April 2015 that Smriti Irani had filed an affidavit in April 2004 for the Lok Sabha elections, stating that she had completed her Bachelor of Arts in 1996 from the School of Correspondence (Delhi University) but in another affidavit of 16 April 2014, filed by her for the Lok Sabha polls, it was said that she was a Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from the School of Open Learning (Delhi University). The plea said that the facts and circumstances reveal the commission of offenses by Smriti under section 125A (which deals with a penalty of filing a false affidavit and entails a jail term) of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

On 18 October 2016, a Delhi court said that Smriti Irani will not be summoned for the fake degree case because the petition filed against Irani questioning her college degrees was an attempt to harass her. The court said that the complainant may not have filed it if she were not a central minister. Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh said that original evidence had already been lost due to the passage of years, and secondary evidence wasn’t enough for the court. The Magistrate also said that the complainant made a “delay of 11 years” in filing the complaint against Irani. This verdict of the lower court was challenged in the Delhi High Court and the court asked all the records of the case to be handed over to it in order to examine case records before deciding to summon Irani or anyone else.

Smriti Irani Biography
Smriti Irani Biography

Yale University degree row

As an incumbent minister for human resources and development of India, at the 2014 India Today Women Summit, Irani stated, “I do have a degree from Yale as well, which I can bring out and show how Yale celebrated my leadership capacity.” The degree that Irani was mentioning turned out to be a certificate from Yale faculty for attending a 6-day training program at the university.

Trivialising Child Abuse

In December 2021, while at the same time holding a portfolio of Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani posted an image on Instagram which read, “When I was a kid, they didn’t take me to a psychologist… My mom was able to open my chakra, stabilize my karma and clean my aura with one single slap.” She was widely criticized for trivializing the widely prevalent issue of child abuse in Indian households with her post and degrading the role of mental health experts.

Silly Souls Cafe Controversy

In July 2022, a website by the name of Herald Goa published a story on an RTI response received by lawyer Aires Rodrigues alleging that the liquor license of Silly Souls Cafe and Bar had been renewed illegally and that Smriti Irani’s family is connected with the bar. In an earlier interview on a food critic’s YouTube channel, Smriti Irani’s daughter agreed that the bar is owned by her. In an affidavit in Delhi High Court, Smriti Irani denied any connection of her family with the bar. Later an RTI reply revealed that the license was issued in the name of a company linked with Irani’s family. Earlier RTI filings show that the Irani family’s company and the bar have the same address and identical GST number and that the Irani family’s company’s operation includes liquor sales, which requires a license according to law.

Electoral history

  • 2004 – Lost election against Kapil Sibal of Congress from Chandni Chowk, New Delhi
  • 2014 – Lost against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi (Lok Sabha constituency)
  • 2019 – present – Won against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi (Lok Sabha constituency)

Works and appearances (Smriti Irani Biography)


Year Show Character
1999 Aatish Younger twin sister
2000–2008 Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi Tulsi Mihir Virani
2000 Hum Hain Kal Aaj Aur Kal
2000 Kavita Kavita
2001–2003 Kya Hadsaa Kya Haqeeqat Smriti
2001–2002 Ramayan Sita
2003 Kuch… Diiil Se Host
2006–2007 Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan Uma
2007–2008 Virrudh Vasudha Sushant Sharma
2007–2008 Mere Apne Sharda
2007–2008 Teen Bahuraaniyaan Vrinda Desai
2008 Yeh Hai Jalwa Host
2008 Waaris Producer
2009–2010 Maniben Jamankumar Patel
2012 Savdhaan India Host
2013 Ek Thhi Naayka Swati

Theatre projects

Projects Language Character
Kuch Tum Kaho Kuch Hum Kahein Hindi Sargam Gujarati Mani
Koi Taru Bau Saru Thayu Gujarati Devika
Muktidhaam Gujarati Mother
Garv Thi Kaho Ame Gujarati Chhiye Gujarati Mridula
Jai Bolo Telangana Telugu Mother


Year Film Character Language
2010 Malik Ek Personification of Dwarkamai Hindi
2011 Jai Bolo Telangana Activist Telugu
2012 Amrita Amrita Bengali


Smriti Irani’s debut novel is Lal Salaam, published by Westland publishers in 2021. It is inspired by the April 2010 Maoist attack in Dantewada and the role of the central police forces in insurgencies.

Awards (Smriti Irani Biography)

Year Award Function Category Show
2001 Indian Television Academy Awards Best Actress (Popular) Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi
2002 Indian Television Academy Awards Best Actress (Popular)
Indian Telly Awards Best Actress in a Lead Role
2003 Indian Television Academy Awards Best Actress (Popular)
Indian Telly Awards Best Actress in a Lead Role
Best TV Personality
2004 Indian Television Academy Awards Best Actress (Popular)
2005 Indian Television Academy Awards Best Actress (Popular)
2007 Indian Telly Awards Best Actress (Jury) Virrudh
2010 Indian Television Academy Awards ITA Milestone Award Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi

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