Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to step into Arun Jaitley’s shoes as she takes charge of the finance portfolio in Modi’s Cabinet 2.0. She has served as the defence minister in the Modi government’s first term from September 2017 to May 2019.
She took charge as the Finance Minister on Friday afternoon.
Here are 10 quick facts about the new Finance Minister:
1. She is the country’s second female finance minister. Previously, former prime minister Indira Gandhi had also handled the finance portfolio in 1970-71.
2. Sixty-year-old Sitharaman was the first woman to be appointed full-time Defence Minister of India in September 2017.
3. Although the defence portfolio was passed around to three ministers under Modi 1.0 government and Sitharaman was seen by many as a tail-end batsman coming in for the slog overs, she proved to be a tenacious player. She has, in fact, driven many of the policy changes like the new defence manufacturing policy and launched the UP and Tamil Nadu defence industrial corridors.
4. She previously served as Minister of State (Independent charge) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and had also handled the finance and corporate affairs portfolios as minister of state.
5. Born on August 18, 1959, in Madurai , Tamil Nadu, she moved to Tiruchirapalli to complete her graduation from Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College. Then she came to the capital, where she completed her M. Phil in International Studies from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 1984.
6. While pursuing her masters, she met her to-be spouse Dr Parakala Prabhakar and they got married in 1986.
7. The couple soon relocated to London, where Sitharaman briefly worked as a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as a stint with BBC World before returning to India in 1991.
8. Sitharaman and her family of three, including a daughter, are currently settled in Hyderabad. Some of her favourite pastimes include travelling, trekking, cooking and music.
9. In 2003, during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, she became a member of National Women for Commission till 2005. The following year, she joined the BJP and became the national spokesperson of the party.
10. Since 2016, she has served as Member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament.