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Ivanka Trump heads to India amid criticism and disappearing beggars

Reuters/Eugene Hoshiko
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  • Itika Sharma Punit
By Itika Sharma Punit

Co-editor, Quartz India

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Ivanka Trump is set to arrive in Hyderabad, India, on Nov. 28 for what is possibly her most significant appearance on the global stage since her father, Donald Trump, moved into the White House.

During the three-day trip, Trump, officially a senior advisor to the US president, will be part of the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) event organised by the US government that sees participation from entrepreneurs and investors from across the world. This is the first time the GES is being held in south Asia, making India only the seventh country to host the event. India’s government think tank Niti Aayog has partnered the US government for this year’s edition.

As part of two panels at GES, Trump will share the stage with Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, among others. The event will also be attended by several Indian business leaders and celebrities, including TVS Capital chairman Gopal Srinivasan, Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra, IBM India chairman Vanitha Narayanan, Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, and tennis champion Sania Mirza.

Trump will also be part of a dinner gala to be hosted by prime minister Narendra Modi at the Taj Falaknuma Palace hotel in Hyderabad. The venue is the world’s largest dining hall with the capacity to seat 101 people, according to Taj Hotels, which runs the property.

Meanwhile, even before her arrival, Trump’s trip has stirred up controversies.

Diplomatic troubles

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson has declined to send a high-level diplomatic team with Trump, CNN reported on Nov. 25—he is reportedly against “bolstering” her image on the world stage.

GES had earlier seen participation from several top US leaders, including former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state John Kerry. This year, Modi invited Trump to support the event’s theme: women entrepreneurship.

Women and workers

While Trump is set to promote female entrepreneurship during the India tour, several American news outlets have raised questions over her credentials. On Nov. 26, a report in The Washington Post said:

…looming over her visit will be an uncomfortable question that Trump’s company has refused to answer: What are the work conditions for labourers in India who have pieced together clothes for her fashion line?

Trump has called for more support for working women around the world, but she has remained silent about the largely female garment workforce in India and other Asian countries that makes her clothing.

Her brand—which Trump no longer runs day to day but continues to own—has declined to identify the factories that produce her goods or detail how the workers are treated or paid.

In a report titled “Ivanka isn’t a champion for women, and she can prove it,” CNN said:

Despite touting her massive portfolio of “women’s issues,” and aside from her pending attempt to expand the child tax credit, Ivanka has not been successful in actually implementing anything. She also stays disturbingly silent throughout her father’s systematic efforts to undermine women’s health and rights, standing idly by as the president supports bill after bill taking aim at women’s access to everything from birth control to workplace safety.

Messy cleanup

Meanwhile, in preparation for Trump’s visit, authorities in Hyderabad have been rounding up beggars from traffic junctions, bus stops, and railway stations, the Press Trust of India reported earlier this month.

The city has banned begging in public areas and moved over 200 beggars to separate shelter homes for men and women, where they are often separated from their family members. There they are offered clean clothes and a shower, and threatened with jail time on begging again.

Some city residents have also alleged poisoning of stray dogs to sanitise the city for Trump’s visit, which may include a sight-seeing trip to the historic Charminar.

The city has also added a dash of colour to the route Trump is scheduled to take.

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