Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman is the new defence minister of India. She is a Rajya Sabha member and second woman defence minister after Indira Gandhi. She was the former minister of state for commerce. The new defence minister will take over the portfolio from finance minister of India Mr. Arun Jaitley.
Sitharaman, the 58-year old minister is a Tamil Iyengar Brahmin from Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. She is the daughter of Narayanan Sitaraman, a railway employee and she is married to Parakala Prabhakar. Prabhakar is currently the communication advisor to the Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. They have one daughter.
Nirmala sitharaman joined the Bhartiya Janata Party in 2008. She was inducted in cabinet as junior minister in 2014. Sitharaman had graduated with an economics degree from Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College in her hometown of Tiruchirappalli. She then went to Delhi to do her masters in economics. As a professional, Sitharaman has served as an assistant to Economist in the Agricultural Engineers Association, UK in London. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Sitharaman subsequently worked as Senior Manager (Research and Analysis) with Price Waterhouse, London. During this time she also briefly worked with BBC World Service.
Speaking to reporters after her elevation, Sitharaman said, “Somebody who has come from a small town, grown into the party with all the support of the leadership, and if given such responsibility, it just makes you feel sometimes that cosmic grace is there. Otherwise it is impossible.”