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Nirmala Sitharaman formally takes charge of finance ministry

New Delhi: In a second stint, Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday morning formally assumed charge as Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs.
Sitharaman was greeted at the office in North Block by Finance Secretary TV Somanathan and other Secretaries of the Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs.
Nirmala Sitharaman, who is among a few who have been Union Minister in both the 2014 and 2019 Modi cabinets, took oath as Union Cabinet Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new Union Council of Ministers on Sunday evening in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, along with another 70 Council of Ministers.
She will soon present the full Budget for 2024-25, but the dates are yet to be announced.
In the 2014 cabinet, she served as the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs and later the Minister for Commerce and Industry with Independent Charge. In 2017, she was appointed as the Union Defence Minister.
In 2019, Sitharaman assumed charge as the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs.
She was the first woman appointed as the full-time Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs. Earlier, Indira Gandhi had held finance as an additional portfolio for a short duration when she was the prime minister of India.
On taking charge, she expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving her the opportunity to work as the Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister again and serve India.
She was briefed on the ongoing policy issues by the Secretaries.
She noted that the government is fully committed to ensuring 'Ease of Living' for its citizens and will continue to take further steps in this regard.
Nirmala Sitharaman also stated that the reforms undertaken since 2014 will continue, which will further provide macroeconomic stability and growth for India. She also highlighted India's commendable growth story in recent years amidst global challenges and noted that there is an optimistic economic outlook for the coming years.
She urged the departments to advance the NDA government's development agenda with renewed vigour and ensure responsive policymaking to achieve the Prime Minister's vision of a 'Viksit Bharat'.
She was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in the Parliament of India in 2014, and subsequently re-elected in 2016. She has never contested Lok Sabha polls so far.
She has been a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party since 2008.
Sitharaman was born in 1959, in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
She did her schooling and her graduation in economics from Seethaiakshmi Ramaswamy College in Tiruchirapalli. She went on to do her masters in economics from Jawaharla Nehru University, New Delhi.
After completing her studies, Sitharaman served as an assistant to Economist in the Agricultural Engineers Association, UK, in London. She subsequently worked as Senior Manager (Research and Analysis) with Price Waterhouse, London. During this time she also briefly worked with the BBC World Service.
On her return to India, she served as Deputy Director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies in Hyderabad. She was a member of the National Commission for Women from 2003-2005 and instrumental in voicing various issues of women's empowerment.
As Union finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has so far tabled six budgets, including the February 1 Interim Budget. She became the second finance minister to present her sixth straight budget after equaling her record with former PM Morarji Desai. Sitharaman, the first full-time woman finance minister of the country, has presented five full budgets since July 2019.
Sitharaman surpassed the records set by her predecessors, such as Manmohan Singh, Arun Jaitley, P Chidambaram, and Yashwant Sinha, who had each presented five budgets consecutively.
Under her ministership, she brought in some major changes to the Budget procedure. In 2019 for the first time she replaced the conventional budget briefcase and opted for a 'bahi-khata' adorned with the National Emblem to carry the speech and other documents. Lately, she has been carrying a tablet wrapped in bahi khata.

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