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With Union Budget 2019 Coming Up, 6 Milestones In India’s First Full Time Woman Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s Career

Posted: July 4, 2019

Here are 6 milestones in the career of India’s first full-time woman Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Modi government has been formed and one of the most experienced faces in the cabinet is Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

While Indira Gandhi did hold the finance portfolio, Sitharaman is the first woman to hold it full-time. The 60 year old Sitharaman who was born and brought up in Tamil Nadu, did her post-graduation from JNU.

Although her husband is from a family of Congress loyalists, she joined the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2008. Before she joined the BJP, Sitharaman has played a very important role in the political sphere. Also in the empowerment of women. Here are 6 milestones in Sithraman’s career that prove her calibre as a politician.

Career as an economist

An economist by training, before joining the field of politics, Nirmala Sitharaman has worked in multiple roles in industry – including as a senior manager at Price Waterhouse Coopers. Sitharaman also briefly worked with the BBC World UK in 1991.

School Founder

After working in London, Nirmala Sitharaman came back with her family to Hyderabad. Her family is currently settled in Hyderabad, and with her husband, she founded a school in the city called Pranava. Throughout her career, she has tried a wide range of initiatives, including starting a policy research centre in Hyderabad.

National Commission for Women

During Late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, she was given the responsibility of being a member of the National Commission for Women (2003-2005). She joined the BJP in 2008 and in 2010 got her big moment when she became the national spokesperson of the party and a familiar name in the country’s political landscape.

Minister of State

After the formation of the Bharatiya Janata Party government post the 2014 elections, Sitharaman was appointed as the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry on May 26, 2014.

Defence Ministry

This was one of the major achievements in Nirmala Sitharaman’s career. The Defence portfolio had been handled by multiple people in the Modi cabinet 1.0 and Sitharaman being the last person to get the portfolio, she was initially seen as a ‘last option’ by many.

However, she proved her worth by bringing in many policy changes like the new defence manufacturing policy meant at expediting purchases. She also worked towards strengthening the Army, Navy and Air Force and constituted a Defence Planning Committee to formulate an action plan to deal with various security challenges. She also took steps to implement an ambitious ‘strategic partnership’ model with several countries like the United States and Russia.

Finance Ministry

Sitharaman is among the 6 women Ministers in the Modi Cabinet 2.0. She is India’s first full-time woman Finance Minister. Her biggest test is going to be the Budget 2019 which will be read in the parliament on coming Friday.

Though Sitharaman has achieved a lot in her career, she will be put to test with the Union Budget 2019. The major challenges that the finance minister will face include getting the economy moving again with a better growth rate, creating jobs (8.1 million new jobs are needed in India every year according to the World Bank), maintaining the private investment flow, and managing the export and import balance which in turn manages currency weakness or strength.

Image credits AajTak video

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