Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was named in the ‘100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations: Celebrating Women’ list, which credited the BJP leader as one of India’s most “powerful women” who played a “pivotal” role in the bilateral relationship. Nirmala Sitharaman rose in the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and reached the prestigious chair of the Ministry of Finance in Modi 2.0.
NIRMALA SITHARAMAN’S CHILDHOOD
Nirmala Sitharaman was born to a middle-class family in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu on August 18, 1959. Her father worked in the Railways while her mother was a homemaker and a great lover of books. She has her father’s disciplinary nature and her mother’s love for books. She spent her childhood in different parts of Tamil Nadu as her father’s job was transferable. Thus, travelling and being adaptive came naturally to her. She completed her graduation from Seethalakshmi Ramasamy College in Tamil Nadu and obtained her masters from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Her favourite subject was globalisation and its impact on developing countries. It is this that led her to become the Commerce Minister of the Indian government. She married Parakala Prabhakar in 1986 and the couple moved to London. Sitharaman succeeded in the corporate world there but finally came back to India in 1991. The couple has a daughter.
RISING IN THE RANKS OF BJP
A stern articulator, Nirmala Sitharaman was one of the spokespersons of BJP under Ravi Shankar Prasad. Even though her husband and his family was pro-Congress, she joined the BJP in 2006. In keeping with her accomplishments in London, she climbed up the ladder of success within the BJP as well and occupied several important positions in the party. In 2010, during the tenure of Nitin Gadkari, she was appointed as the spokesperson of the party. After assuming the role of the party’s spokesperson, she defended the BJP in every situation and praised party leaders including PM Modi, on the national media. She became a popular face not only in Delhi but also in the party headquarters in Gujarat. She came in touch with senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj while serving as member of the National Commission for Women (NCW) from 2003 to 2005. Impressed with her dignified personality and outspoken views, Sushma Swaraj recommended Nirmala Sitharaman to the party. She was also appointed as the member of Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh.
THE JOURNEY FROM 2014
In May 2014, she got the ministerial berth. Nirmala Sitharaman became the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Commerce & Industry on May 26, 2014. Nirmala Sitharaman became the Minister of Defence on September 03, 2017 being only the second woman after Indira Gandhi to hold the post. On 31 May 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman was appointed as the finance and corporate affairs minister.
INDIA’S FIRST FULL TIME WOMAN FINANCE MINISTER
Nirmala Sitharaman has become India’s first “full-time female finance minister”. She made a statement on the day she presented the budget, as she chose to ditch the “colonial” briefcase while presenting her maiden budget to parliament. She instead, carried a bright red traditional ledger known as bahi-khata in Hindi. Her chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian said it symbolised a “departure from the slavery of western thought”. This is the first budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term. The key highlights of her budget that are making headlines are that super rich are going to be taxed more, fuel tax have increased, housing boost for the middle-class, incentives for new start-ups and measures to improve infrastructure. PM Narendra Modi hailed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden Budget as a 10-year vision. Her maiden budget speech was made amid much table-thumping by her party members and allies as the opposition silently looked on.
Nirmala Sitharaman has created her name in history by becoming India’s defence minister earlier and now first full time woman finance minister. She is truly a woman admired and idealized for her courage and outstanding achievements and hence is India’s own iconic Shero. Zeba Warsia – NMTV News.