Say Hello to India's new Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister

Last Updated: Fri, May 31, 2019 14:02 hrs
Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: After a giant ceremony that saw 57 ministers being administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind, the revelations on who will chair over key portfolios such as Defence, Home, Finance and External Affairs are more or less here.

There had been intense speculation on the allotment of portfolios after the swearing in ceremony. Media reports were gung-ho on 54 year old Amit Shah, referred by BJP party insiders as the Chanakya, as the new Finance Minister. A section of media also dropped the name of Piyush Goyal, the first Chartered Accountant to deliver a budget, as one heading the Finance ministry in the absence of Arun Jaitley.

However, the Prime Minister may have announced a surprise move. A surprise for the media.

Nirmala Sitharaman, former commerce minister and defence minister has been picked for the job of Finance Minister and Corporate Affairs. Amit Shah has reported as one to head Home Ministry. Rajnath Singh will be heading the Defence Ministry.

ANI news-report:

Confirmation of the announcement:

Born in Madurai, Sitharaman joined the BJP in 2008 and was inducted as a junior minister in Modi's cabinet in June 2014. Graduated from Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Tiruchirapalli, Sitharaman also has an M. Phil in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University. It is said that globalisation and impact on developing economies was one of her favourite subjects.

A section of media has reported that Sitharaman would be the first woman heading the Finance Ministry. However, that might not be completely true. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was India's first woman Finance minister. Her first budget attempted a social touch but saw taxes jacked to astronomical rates, here is more on that budget.

The Finance ministry will be integral to delivery of poll-promises and growth as desired by markets and India Inc. GDP numbers have slipped in the past three years, profits posted by India Inc for Q4 numbers have missed targets, and the consumption trend overall has remained tepid. The debate on Jobs, Bank privatisation, investment-friendliness, foreign investment and social schemes linger.

The new Finance Minister is expected to formulate policies that could address these issues. Her knowledge on a wide-variety of topics such as Commerce, Trade, Global Economics and even Banking is expected may help in policy formulation.

Anurag Thakur has been appointed as the Minister of State for Finance within the new cabinet. Thakur was formerly associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India as its President.

The Union budget is likely to be announced in a month. The exact date of presentation is yet to be announced, but the ministry was reported as busy in preparation of a 100 day plan as well as other documents. The ministry is certain that the Halwa for the coming years could be sweeter and laced with impressive reforms.

Meanwhile, here are some Twitter reactions: