Nirmala Sitharaman is an avid reader, an aficionado of Indian classical music and a graduate of Economics. She has worked with Price Waterhouse in London as a senior manager for research and analysis; she helped East European economies adapted to Western audit and marketing systems. On returning to India she joined the National Commission for Women, where she supported the cause of women empowerment.
She joined the BJP in 2008 and was a member of the National Executive. When the party won the general elections this year, she was nominated the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry. Since then, India has liberalized foreign direct investment in defense, railway infrastructure and real estate.
She has promised that the government would create a business-friendly atmosphere to boost the manufacturing sector. “We want to chart out new path wherein business entities are extended a red carpet welcome… We are fully committed to delicensing, deregulation and radical changes. We have an open mind,” she said at the launch of the ‘Make in India’ campaign. The campaign, aimed at harnessing the untapped potential of the country in the manufacturing sector which now contributes only about 15 percent to the GDP, is not a slogan but a mission to be accomplished with a single-minded commitment, she said.
Sitharaman and her staff have identified 25 priority sectors including pharmaceuticals, automobiles, textiles, aviation, mining, and chemicals. In these sectors, substantial work has been done to identify growth drivers, investment opportunities, foreign direct investment policies, and specific reasons to invest, the trade minister said. “We are fully committed to taking India on a higher growth trajectory and we want to make India a global manufacturing destination,” she added.