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Budget 2019 countdown: Is Nirmala Sitharaman India’s first woman finance minister? The answer’s rather interesting

Budget 2019 countdown: Is Nirmala Sitharaman India’s first woman finance minister? The answer’s rather interesting

Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present the Union Budget of FY 2019-20 on July 5. Her appointment as the Minister of Finance took many by surprise as lot of people expected Piyush Goyal to be the next Finance Minister.

Based on her stints as the Defence Minister in the last Modi cabinet, and the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs under the Ministry of Finance and the Minister for Commerce and Industry with independent charge, she was chosen by Narendra Modi to lead the major institution.

She would be the first full time woman Finance Minister of India. However, she's not the first woman Finance Minister of India. Before her, Indira Gandhi held the charge of Finance Ministry along with the PMO. Indira Gandhi served as the Finance Minister during her first tenure as Prime Minister of India from 1966-1971. She formed her first government with Morarji Desai as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

Due to the growing feuds between the senior Congress party leaders on a number of issues in 1969, she was expelled from the party for her indiscipline. One of the major feuds was the nationalisation of banks without the consultation of Finance Minister Morarji Desai. Gandhi then floated her own party (Congress (R)) and led the government with the support of DMK. She then briefly took the additional charge of Finance Ministry from July 7, 1969 – June 27, 1970.

Indira Gandhi's policies included proposals for the abolition of Privy Purse (to former rulers of the Princely states) and the 1969 nationalisation of the fourteen largest banks in India.

What is Privy Purse?

Privy Purse was a payment made to the ruling (royal or lower) families of erstwhile princely states as part of their agreements to first integrate with India in 1947 after the independence of India, and later to merge their states in 1949 whereby they lost all ruling rights. The payment was continued to the royal families until the 26th Amendment in 1971, by which all their privileges and allowances from the Central Government ceased to exist.

 
 
 



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