Modi Government 3.0: Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman assume ministerial roles in new govt

12 June,2024 12:00 PM IST |  New Delhi  |  mid-day online correspondent

Nitin Gadkari assumed charge as Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, while Nirmala Sitharaman take charge as Minister of Finance under Modi 3.0 government.

(L) Nirmala Sitharaman assumes charge as Finance Minister; (R) Nitin Gadkari assume charge as Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways. (Pic/PTI)

Nitin Gadkari assumed charge as Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways on Wednesday for the third consecutive time under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Meanwhile, Nirmala Sitharaman also assumed charge of the Finance Ministry for the second consecutive term, on the same day.

According to PTI, Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the final budget for FY'25 soon, that will set the tone for the Modi 3.0 government's priorities and direction for Viksit Bharat. It is likely to be presented to the newly formed 18th Lok Sabha next month.

Ministers of State Ajay Tamta and Harsh Malhotra also took charge alongside Gadkari and Sitharaman on Wednesday, according to ANI reports. Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary was also present. Chaudhary assumed charge on Tuesday evening, as reported by PTI.

Gadkari thanked Prime Minster Modi for "reassigning" the role for the third time. "Heartfelt gratitude to PM Modi for reassigning me this role in Modi 3.0. Under your visionary leadership, India will be equipped with world-class, modern infrastructure at an accelerated pace," the Union Minister said in a post on X.

Gadkari won the Lok Sabha elections from Maharashtra's Nagpur constituency by a margin of 1,37, 603 votes. However, Gadkari's winning margin went down by 78,397 in this election. In 2019, he had defeated Congress' Nana Patole by 2,16,000 votes.

Gadkari entered politics as a student leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP) and later joined the Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP.

The BJP leader has been a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council since 1989. He served as the leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council from 1999-2005 and also headed the Maharashtra Pradesh BJP till 2009 as the State president. In the same year, he was elevated to the post of BJP national president, making him the youngest-ever party president.

From 1995 until 1999, the BJP leader was Maharashtra's PWD minister. In January 2013, Gadkari gave up the party president post to become the Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Minister of Shipping in the first Modi Cabinet in May 2014.

Gadkari kept his position as Minister of Road Transport and Highways during the second term of the BJP-led central government in 2019. The Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation were replaced with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Nirmala Sitharaman, on the other hand, before entering into the politics, she was part of the corporate world in the UK, where she was living with her husband Parakala Prabhakar.

Sitharaman's political career began in 2008, when she joined the BJP, and in two years became the party's second woman spokesperson after Sushma Swaraj. Before entering political world, she served as a deputy director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies in Hyderabad, and also started a school in the city. From 2003 to 2005, she was also a member of the National Commission for Women.

Sitharaman, was given the charge of the finance portfolio in the newly re-elected Modi government after the 2019 general elections, when her mentor, Arun Jaitley took ill. She became the first full-time woman Finance Minister in Independent India.

Earlier, Indira Gandhi had held finance as an additional portfolio for a short duration when she was the prime minister of India.

In 2017, Jaitley departed from the colonial-era tradition of presenting Budget. Following the footsteps of her mentor, Sitharaman also did away with the traditional Budget briefcase and instead went for a bahi-khata with the National Emblem to carry the speech and other documents.

She has many such records to her credit in her political career. She created a record when she was appointed as the first female Raksha Mantri, or Defence Minister, in 2017. Prior to that, she was industry and commerce minister. According to the reports, she also set a record by presenting the sixth Budget in a row -- five annual Budgets and one interim -- a feat achieved so far only by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

Soon after taking over, the first major reform was a cut in base corporate tax to 22 per cent from 30 per cent to prop up the economy hit by demonetisation and GST implementation.

In the year 2019, India weathered the Covid-19 pandemic with an array of policy measures announced for the poor and continued its tag of the fastest growing major economy and a 'bright spot' in the world economy.

To overcome the hardship during the pandemic, the government announced a special economic package worth Rs 20 lakh crore equivalent to roughly 10 per cent of India's GDP. She steered the economy from nearly 24 per cent contraction in the first quarter of FY21, to the fastest growing world economy.

Sitharaman would be setting a record by presenting the seventh straight Budget and sixth consecutive final Budget. Sitharaman is credited for taking forward second-generation reforms during her last tenure.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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