Nirmala Sitharaman has broken the glass ceiling once again by becoming the first full-time female finance minister in the history of Indian parliament. After the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday evening and the revelation of the 58 ministers in the Modi government, today the President has directed the allocation of portfolios among the union council of ministers. Of the total 58 cabinet ministers, six are women including Smriti Irani, Sitharaman and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who are part of the PM Modi cabinet.

These women ministers continue in the second term as they began in the first term of the NDA government in 2014. In the latest allocation, Smriti Irani, who was the Minister of Textiles as the 16th Lok Sabha concluded, has retained her Textiles Ministry. Along with that, she is also the Women and Child Development Minister now.

Nirmala Sitaraman
Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman is now in-charge of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Affairs. This makes her the first female full-time finance minister before her, Indira Gandhi held the position for a year in 1970-71. In the previous term, she served as Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs under the Ministry of Finance and the Minister for Commerce and Industry with independent charge. In 2017, she became the second female Defence Minister of the country after Indira Gandhi.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal is the third and the last woman in PM Modi’s cabinet of 24 ministers. She has been allocated the Minister of Food Processing Industries for the second time in a row. During her term as a cabinet minister in 2014-2019, she had to deal with issues of consumer safety after a controversy erupted over the presence of lead content in Nestle’s Maggi noodles in 2015.

Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani

Apart from these, there are three women Ministers of State as well including Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Tribal MP Renuka Singh Saruta and first-time minister Deboshree Chowdhury.

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While earlier Jyoti served as the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, this time she is appointed as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development. Throughout her previous term, she promoted afforestation, social and cultural values, protecting cows, upliftment of children from economically backward families and also helped women from financially weak backgrounds get married.

One of the very few tribal women MPs out there, Saruta is the new Minister of State in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Earlier, she has served as the Women and Child Development Minister in the Raman Singh cabinet from 2003 to 2005.

The cabinet ministry has cut down on the number of women ministers this time as previously there were a total of eight women union ministers. Former WCD minister Maneka Gandhi, Former Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti, who was the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, are no longer part of the new cabinet.

Cabinet greenhorn, Chowdhury has become the Minister of State in the Women and Child Development Ministry and she will be working together with Irani in this role.

The cabinet ministry has cut down on the number of women ministers this time as previously there were a total of eight women union ministers. Former WCD minister Maneka Gandhi, Former Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti, who was the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, are no longer part of the new cabinet. Najma Heptulla was also part of the first Modi ministry between 2014 and 2016 as she served as the Minister of Minority Affairs.  Among ministers of state, Anupriya Patel, who was Minister of State in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, has also been dropped.

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