Cabinet expansion: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hosts women ministers at high tea at her residence

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday hosted women members of the Union Council of Ministers, at high-tea at her residence today. The minister invited the women ministers after the recently held swearing in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi cabinet on July 7.

Nirmala Sitharaman, whose two years at the finance ministry have been marked by a deep setting slowdown and pressure on fisc, will continue at the North Block to steer the USD 3 trillion economy out of the woods amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seven more women members joined the council of ministers of PM Modi on July 7, taking the overall female strength to 11 which is one of the highest. The seven women who took oath as ministers of state were Karandlaje, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Lekhi, Annpurna Devi, Pratima Bhoumik, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar and Apna Dal's Anupriya Singh Patel.

Among them, three are first-time MPs while Patel is making a comeback to the council of ministers as she was the Union Minister of State for Health under Prime Minister Modi earlier.

Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani (both Cabinet ministers), Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Renuka Singh Saruta are already part of the Union council of ministers.

A two-time Rajya Sabha MP, Sitharaman created history when she became the first full-time woman finance minister of India to propel the country out of an economic slowdown and address challenges like job creation, mounting bad loans and slowing investment.

She formally joined the BJP in 2006, and became a party spokesperson in March 2010. In May 2014, she was appointed minister of state (independent charge) of the commerce and industry as well as minister of state for finance.

In the Modi 1.0 government, Sitharaman became the first full-time woman defence minister in 2017.

In a major Union Cabinet makeover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday dropped 12 ministers including Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar and brought Sarbananda Sonowal, Narayan Rane and Jyotiraditya Scindia and 33 other new members to his government.

Apart from 15 Cabinet ministers, 28 Ministers of State, comprising new faces and those elevated, were sworn in a ceremony which was held in the Darbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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Free Press Journal