After she was appointed as India's first full time woman finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman was today congratulated for her accomplishment by another prominent woman leader - former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. On Twitter, Ms Mufti said Ms Sitharaman had shattered the "glass ceiling by all means" by securing a place in the top four ministries.
"Congratulations to Nirmala Sitharaman on her new role as Finance Minister. As the first woman to helm this crucial portfolio full time, she's shattered the glass ceiling by all means," she tweeted today.
Congratulations to @nsitharaman on her new role as Finance Minister. As the first woman to helm this crucial portfolio full time, she's shattered the glass ceiling by all means.- Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) May 31, 2019
Nirmala Sitharaman is the only woman in the Big Four, or the top four ministries in the cabinet. In the previous cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when she held the Defence portfolio and Sushma Swaraj was the Foreign Minister.
Apart from Nirmala Sitharaman, PM Modi's big 4 include Amit Shah as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh as Defence Minister and S Jaishankar as External Affairs Minister
As the Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman tried to strengthen the Army, Navy and the Air Force. She was also credited for expediting the decision-making process relating to defence procurement. She took on the opposition head on, with her fiery defence of the Rafale fighter jet deal in Parliament.
However, the most trying moment in her term came when India carried out air strikes on a terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot, in retaliation for the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers lost their lives. The air strike was seen as major policy shift in India's efforts to deal with cross-border terrorism.
She took over the Finance Ministry from Arun Jaitley, who opted out of the new government citing poor health.
As Finance Minister, she will be in charge of the most challenging assignment for the new government. She will also need to find the money to fund PM Modi's election campaign promises, keeping in mind the budget deficit target of 3.4% of GDP for the year through March 2020.
Nirmala Sitharaman joined BJP 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 member since then.
She was inducted in the Union Cabinet on May 26, 2014 as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry.
(With inputs from PTI)
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