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FM Sitharaman: Facts You May Not Know

A probe into the background of well educated and first full-time woman Defence Minister of India

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma


The present Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman is a powerful lady who has played many roles in her career. She is a well-known social and political woman leader with authentic knowledge of Economics and served as full time Defence Minister in first tenure of NDA government. She is born in a middle class South Indian family and has been post graduated from one of the leading universities of the world, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). 

Personal Background 

Nirmala Sitharaman was born on 18 August, 1959 in Madurai (Tamil Nadu). Her father worked in Railways while her mother is a homemaker. She adopted the disciplinary behaviour from her father and love for books from her mother. She loves to travel as her father’s job was transferrable and enjoy listening to music. She got married to Parakala Prabhakar in 1986 and blessed with a daughter.  


Nirmala Sitharaman has completed her Bachelors from Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College, Tiruchirapalli and pursued her Masters in Economics from one of the top three universities of India, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She also holds Ph.D in the Indo - European textile industry within General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  

Political Career 

Nirmala Sitharaman joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2008 although her family was a supporter of Congress. She very well climbed the ladder of success within BJP and served ministries such as the Defence Ministry and the Finance Ministry. She was appointed as the spokesperson of the party during the tenure of Nitin Gadkari in 2010 and became the member of National Commission of Women (NCW) from 2003-2005 during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee as PM.    

Major Positions Held 

After the massive victory of Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019 Elections, Nirmala Sitharaman became India’s first full- time woman Finance Minister of India. She was appointed as the Minister of State (independent charge) for Commerce and Industry on May 26, 2014.  Later she was unanimously elected to Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh in June 2014 and became the second woman Defence Minister of India on Sep 3, 2017.   

Countries Visited 

She went to many countries in her political career as Defence Minister. She went to attend a bilateral meeting with Defence Minister of Indonesia, Egypt, Vietnam and Cambodia. She went to Singapore to attend the fifth Asian Defence Ministers’ Meeting. She also went to China to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting. Beside this, she went to Norway to attend a ministerial meeting of about 20 World Trade Organisations (WTO) in October 2016.  

Defence Minister Work 

Nirmala Sitharaman served as Defence Minister before prior as a Finance Minister in present 2.0 PM’s Government. She attempted to strengthen the Army, Navy and Air Force and constituted a Defence Planning Committee to formulate an action plan to deal with various security challenges of the nation. Besides this, she had focused on boosting domestic defence and took steps to implement the ambitious "strategic partnership" model with several countries like the United States and Russia. 

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