The rise of 60-year-old Nirmala Sitharaman continues.
BJP’s go-to woman for new challenges is now in charge of the key portfolio of Finance (and Corporate Affairs). She takes up the role after Arun Jaitley opted out of the role citing health issues.
The announcement makes Sitharaman the first woman to be named Finance Minister. That is if you don’t count Indira Gandhi, who held additional charge of the all-important portfolio from 1970-71 when she was Prime Minister.
Sitharaman is used to these records. She, as we all remember, was the first woman to be named full-time Union Defence Minister in September 2017. Indira again had also held the charge as Prime Minister in 70s.
The new Finance Minister boasts the credentials required for the job. A graduate in Economics from the Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College in Tiruchirapalli, she also holds a Masters in Economics from the highly-esteemed Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Sitharaman has worked as Senior Manager (Research and Analysis) with Price Waterhouse, London, and was associated with the BBC World Service.
On her return to India, she served as Deputy Director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies at Hyderabad.
Her appointment comes at a time when there is a lot of anxiety over the jobs data. Some critics have been citing government statistical reports to point out that job creation is at a 45-year low.
There is also the agrarian crisis that deserves immediate attention.
The US-China trade wars and a likely imposition of tariffs on Indian goods by a hawkish US President Donald Trump looms too.
Sitharaman was born on August 18, 1959 in the temple town of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. She joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2008, and was made a member of the National Executive.
She was nominated as party spokesperson in March 2010 and has been a full-time party worker since then.
She was first inducted in the Union Cabinet on May 26, 2014 as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry. Her rise since has been meteoric.