Name: Nirmala Sitharaman

Political Party: Bharatiya Janata Party
DOB: 18 August 1959
Spouse: Parakala Prabhakar

Nirmala Sitharaman is a prominent Indian politician and economist who has been a central figure in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has held significant portfolios in the Government of India. Since 2019, she has been serving as the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, marking her as the country's first full-time female finance minister. Before this, she served as the Defence Minister and, before that, as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry.

Sitharaman comes from a Tamil Iyengar family. She completed her education in economics, earning a Bachelor's degree from Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Tiruchirappalli, and later pursued a Master's degree and an M.Phil. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 

Her political career began with her involvement in the National Commission for Women, where she served from 2003 to 2005. This role paved the way for her deeper engagement with politics. She joined the BJP in 2006 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a national spokesperson for the party in 2010.

Following the BJP's victory in the 2014 general elections, Sitharaman was appointed junior minister, handling the finance and corporate affairs portfolios. Her adept handling of these roles led to her promotion as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry, a position she held from May 2014 to September 2017. Her tenure in commerce was marked by efforts to boost domestic manufacturing and exports, part of the broader "Make in India" initiative.

In September 2017, Sitharaman was appointed the Defence Minister of India, becoming only the second woman after Indira Gandhi to hold this prestigious position. Her tenure as Defence Minister was notable for several critical decisions, including enhancing military capabilities and focusing on indigenous defense production. She presided over the Balakot airstrike in 2019, a significant military operation against terrorism.

In 2019, following the re-election of the Modi government, Sitharaman was appointed Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs. She has taken office amid global economic challenges and domestic fiscal constraints and has been at the forefront of steering India's economic policies. Her bold and reformative budgets have marked Sitharaman's tenure as Finance Minister. She has presented five annual budgets, each outlining steps to drive economic growth, enhance social welfare, and boost investor confidence. In 2020, she was instrumental in designing the monetary response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a comprehensive package to revive the economy and mitigate the impact on the poor and vulnerable sectors of society.

Sitharaman's approach to the Union Budget has also seen cultural shifts; notably, she replaced the traditional budget briefcase with a 'bahi-khata', symbolizing a departure from the colonial past. Under her leadership, India has been lauded as a 'bright spot' in the global economic landscape, maintaining its tag as the fastest-growing major economy.

In addition to her ministerial responsibilities, Sitharaman has been involved in various capacities within the BJP, contributing to its economic and political strategies. Her work has not only been recognized nationally but has also earned her spots in Forbes' list of the world's most powerful women, reflecting her influence on global economic and political affairs. 

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