The slow but steady rise of Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman

The slow but steady rise of Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman

The slow but steady rise of Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed Nirmala Sitharaman as defense minister on Sunday as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, as he seeks to get economic growth back on track and modernize the armed forces before national elections in 2019.

Nirmala Sitharaman is India's first woman Defence Minister after Indira Gandhi.

Following a mega Union Cabinet reshuffle at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and congratulated the ministers, who have taken oath today and said that their experience and wisdom would add huge value to the Council of Ministers.

The promoted ministers and the new faces were administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind at a 35-minute ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, attended among others by new Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and family members of the some new ministers. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was holding additional charge of the key ministry.

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Gandhi was the prime minister when she kept the defence portfolio with herself - from December 1 to 21, 1975 and January 14, 1980 to January 15, 1982.

She is married to Parakala Prabhakar, the communication adviser to Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and the couple has a daughter.

Modi stripped cabinet minister Uma Bharti of the charges of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation and handed them over to Nitin Gadkari.

When Sitharaman was give the commerce ministry, as an independent charge, it was a role she grew into after an initial period when her direct manner was markedly different from what officials were used to. "Prime minister's office reshuffle would have mattered more", said Yogendra Yadav who runs an independent political group.

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Sitharaman said she was just overwhelmed and humbled.

In 2014, when the BJP came to power, the government had 10 women ministers.

She joined Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2008 and was made a member of the National Executive. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore replaced Vijay Goel in the Sports MInistry.

Pradhan's rise comes on the back of his performance as a Minister of State of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which is spearheading Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet scheme, "Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana", of providing LPG connections.

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Nine of India's 14 prime ministers have come from the nation's most populous state, which includes Modi's political base Varanasi. A cabinet reshuffle has been on the cards since Manohar Parrikar resigned as Defence Minister to become Chief Minister of Goa.

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