|Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge)
May 26, 2014
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Preceded by||Anand Sharma|
|Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs|
May 26, 2014 – November 9, 2014
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Preceded by||Jayant Sinha|
|Spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party|
|Succeeded by||Shaina NC|
|MP of Rajya Sabha for Andhra Pradesh|
26 June 2014 – 21 June 2016
|MP of Rajya Sabha for Karnataka |
1 July 2016
|Preceded by||Venkaiah Naidu, BJP|
18 August 1959 |
Madurai, Madras State
(now Tamil Nadu), India
|Political party||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|Residence||Hyderabad, Telangana, India |
|Alma mater||Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College, Tiruchirapalli
Jawaharlal Nehru University
Nirmala Sitharaman (born 18 August 1959) is an Indian politician from the state of Tamil Nadu presently serving as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, as well as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs under the Ministry of Finance headed by Arun Jaitley. Until recently, she served as a national spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party (called Bharatha Makkal Kazhagam in Tamil). Currently, she has been allotted the MP seat in the Rajya Sabha representing the state of Karnataka
Early life and career
Nirmala Sitharaman was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu in Southern India to Shri Narayanan Sitaraman and Savitri in a Tamil Iyer Brahmin family. She obtained a B.A. degree from Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College, Tiruchirappalli and an MA degree in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1980 followed by a Ph.D in the Indo-European textile trade within the GATT framework and MPhil. Sitharaman then served at Pricewaterhouse Coopers as a Senior Manager and later for the BBC World Service. She is one of the founding directors of Pranava school in Hyderabad. She was formerly a member of the National Commission for Women.
Nirmala Sitharaman joined Narendra Modi's ministry in May 2014. Until then, she was working as a part of a team of six spokespersons headed by Ravi Shankar Prasad, for Bharatiya Janata Party congress .
She joined the BJP in 2006 even as her husband Dr. Parakala Prabhakar joined the Prajarajyam party floated by filmstar Chiranjeevi in 2007. While her husband grew disillusioned with Chiranjeevi's party and felt the need to quit the PRP that spoke of social justice. In the early 2000s, Dr Prabhakar was the spokesperson of the Andhra Pradesh unit of the BJP. Meanwhile, Nirmala was slowly gaining in popularity in the BJP. It was during Nitin Gadkari's tenure as BJP president that Nirmala Sitharaman was enlisted as one of the six party spokespersons in March 2010.
Since then, she has been a regular on the news TV channels defending her BJP and its leaders including Narendra Modi. Interestingly, as party spokesperson, she became quite popular in the Modi-ruled Gujarat than in Delhi, where the BJP headquarters is based.
As a visible spokesperson of the BJP, Nirmala played an important role in the run up to the 2014 elections by effectively projecting the Modi-for-PM message. And even before the elections were held, it was a mass presumption in political circles that if the NDA indeed came to power, then Nirmala would make it to the Narendra Modi cabinet. In an election that not many thought would be that one-sided, the BJP vanquished the Congress with the former managing to get a simple majority on its own.
On May 26, Nirmala Sitharaman was sworn in as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Commerce & Industry, as well as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs which fall under the Ministry of Finance headed by Arun Jaitley. She Contested and won a bye-election to the Rajya Sabha from the state of Andhra Pradesh.
She met her husband, Parakala Prabhakar, an Andhraite from Narsapuram, Andhra Pradesh while studying in the Jawaharlal Nehru University. While Nirmala leaned towards the BJP, her husband was from a pro-Congress family. Her mother-in-law was a Congress MLA in Andhra Pradesh, while her father-in-law was a Minister in the Andhra Pradesh Congress Govt in 1970s.
In 1991, Nirmala and her husband returned to India from UK and moved to Narsapuram in the coastal Andhra Pradesh; Nirmala, who was expecting her first child, later shifted to Chennai for delivery. She got stuck in the hospital for over a week because of the unrest triggered by the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. Later, blessed with a daughter, the family made Hyderabad their home.
Nirmala is a founder member of Pranava School in Hyderabad and was a member of the National Commission for Women from 2003-05. It was during her stint at NCW that she came in contact with Sushma Swaraj who sounded Nirmala out for a role in BJP.
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