Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet has six women ministers, of whom India’s newly appointed Defence Minister, has just created history. Nirmala Sitharaman is India’s first woman full-time Defence Minister. Prior to this, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi held the defence portfolio as an additional charge on two occasions. Here are some things about Nirmala Sitharaman that we ought to know.
1. Born on August 18, 1959, in Madurai, Sitharaman hails from a middle-class family. Her father, Narayanan Sitharaman worked in the Railways while her mother, Savitri, was a homemaker and a great lover of books. She spent her childhood in different parts of Tamil Nadu as her father’s job led to many transfers.
2. Sitharaman graduated from Seethalakshmi Ramasamy College, Tiruchirappalli and went on to join the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi from where she completed her masters in Economics.
3. She pursued her PhD dissertation on Indo-European textile trade.
4. Sitharaman married Parakala Prabhakar in 1986 and moved to London, where she worked at Pricewaterhouse Cooper as a Senior Manager. Dr Parakala Prabhakar is also an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University and London School of Economics. The couple has a daughter.
5. Sitharaman also worked at the BBC World Service for a short while before returning to India in 1991.
6. She is one of the founding directors of Pranava, a school in Hyderabad.
7. In 2003, Sitharaman was made a member of the National Commission for Women (NCW) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. She remained an NCW member till 2005. A year later, in 2006, Nirmala joined the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).
8. Climbing the political ladder quickly, in 2010, Nirmala was made a BJP spokesperson.
9. On May 26, 2014, with BJP assuming charge at the Centre, Nirmala was made a Minister of State, Commerce and Industry, with independent charge. She also handled the ministry of finance and corporate affairs prior to the cabinet reshuffle.
We, at The Better India, welcome this decision and hope that this is the beginning of many more achievements to come.
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