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Last Updated : May 31, 2019 10:36 PM IST | Source:

Know your minister | Nirmala Sitharaman - Minister of Finance

While she was initially the commerce minister under Modi's first tenure in 2014, she later became the country's first full-time woman defence minister

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Nirmala Sitharaman, the country's new finance minister under Narendra Modi's government, is a Masters in Economics from Jawaharlal Lal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.

Born to a traditional Tamil Brahmin family, Sitharaman had her early exposure to politics on the JNU campus. She had then campaigned for a friend who was part of a group called Free Thinkers Society. That election had seen a defeat of the SFI, a strong students' union on campus.

She later moved to London with her husband Prabhakar Parakala, also a JNU fellow. While a lot of people may know that she worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a lesser-known fact is that she was also a salesgirl at a home decor store in London.


After she returned to India in 1991, Sitharaman spent her early days setting up an alternate education school in Hyderabad.

At a later stage, Sitharaman met BJP veteran Sushma Swaraj and was inducted into the National Commission for Women from 2003-05. Once she formally joined the BJP in 2006, Sitharaman was made part of the National Executive Council and later appointed as the party's national spokesperson.

While she was initially the commerce minister under Modi's first tenure in 2014, she later became the  country's first full-time woman defence minister.

She became the face and voice of the India’s anti-terror operations after the dastardly attack on CRPF jawans in Pulwama in February 2019. She oversaw the Indian Air Force’s strike on terror camps deep inside Pakistani territory in Balakot days after the Pulwama attack.

While Sitharaman did not contest the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, she is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka since 2016.

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First Published on May 31, 2019 02:25 pm
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