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WHO IS NIRMALA SITHARAMAN


Nirmala Sitharaman holds two important portfolios — the finance ministry and the corporate affairs ministry — in the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in its second term at the Centre. She is the first full-time woman finance minister of the country. Earlier, Indira Gandhi had held finance as an additional portfolio for a short duration when she was the prime minister of India. Sitharaman presented this government’s maiden Budget on July 5. Tax relief offered by Piyush Goyal to the salaried class in the Interim Budget was a key thing looked at in her Budget. She made no change to the taxation waiver offered by Goyal those earning up to Rs 5 lakh annually. She, however, increased the surcharge for those with an annual taxable income of over Rs 2 crore.  

Read all about Budget 2019, presented by Sitharaman on July 5
 
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician and a trusted lieutenant of PM Modi's, Sitharaman headed the Union defence ministry during the first stint of the Modi government. Initially, she had been made a Minister of State in 2014 and given the portfolio of commerce & industry with independent charge. 
 
A member of the Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Before taking to active politics, Sitharaman worked in the corporate sector after getting a masters degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Subsequently, she moved to London with her husband and joined the British Broadcasting Corporation. She returned to India in the 1990s and became an educationist. Later, she founded the Pranava school in Hyderabad. 
 
She was nominated to the National Commission for Women during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Sitharaman joined the BJP in 2008 and was made a spokesperson for the party the next year. In 2014, she became a member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha as a BJP candidate.
 
During her term as defence minister, Sitharaman had to defend the Narendra Modi government against allegations of corruption by the Opposition in the Rafale aircraft deal signed between India and France. Sitharaman's firefighting, in public and Parliament, were significant since the Opposition had been using alleged corruption in the Rafale deal as a poll plank in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections 2019. Sitharaman was also a member of the committee tasked with preparing the BJP's manifesto for the elections.

Nirmala Sitharaman


FINANCE AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS MINISTER