Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday defended her handling of her job in response to a critical tweet from industrialist Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, asserting she was working on measures to revive the economy.
The Biocon head had hinted at a lack of fiscal measures to support growth, which is at a six-year low. Sitharaman, not known to reply to comments made on her Twitter handle, responded instantly.
“As finance minister — you might’ve observed — I’ve been working on and regularly speaking about measures we’ve been taking on matters of the economy,” Sitharaman posted in a three-part tweet.
Mazumdar-Shaw had wondered why the finance minister, and not health minister Harsh Vardhan, had addressed Wednesday’s news conference to announce the ban on e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes banned, says finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman — Shd this not come from min of health? How about banning gutka too? How about MoF announcing some fiscal measures to revive the economy?” Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted on Thursday morning.
Sitharaman clarified that she had addressed Wednesday’s news conference in her capacity as head of the group of ministers that had discussed the subject of banning e-cigarettes.
“Kiran ji, a few things. This press conference was dedicated to cabinet decisions. I began by saying that I was there in my capacity as chair of the GoM which has dealt with the matter. drharshvardhan is out of the country for an international meet,” she said in her first tweet.
Sitharaman had indeed mentioned at the news conference that Harsh Vardhan was abroad.
“Cabinet minister/s join Prakash Javdekar, the I&B minister, when required. Health secretary was also with me, explaining details. These are protocols, as you know, which govt press conferences follow,” she said in her second tweet.
Her third tweet said she was working on the economy.
With some Twitterati construing the exchange as a spat, Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted again to clarify it wasn’t.
“Media loves to rile viewers by using sensational headlines n get eyeballs. There is no ‘spat’ or ‘war of words’. I consider our FM to be a very reasonable n pragmatic person who displayed maturity n grace in her response to my comments including her assurance on the economy,” she posted.