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On the first day of Nirmala Sitharaman, the first full-time woman defence minister of India, in office on Thursday, the issue of the ex-servicemen welfare was placed on the top of the agenda.
Sitharaman also signed a proposal of more than Rs. 13 crore for 8,685 ex-servicemen
"A grant of more than Rs. 13 crore will be released for 8,685 ex-servicemen, widows and dependents out of the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund," she announced.
She thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for considering her capable of this portfolio.
"I thank Prime Minister Modi for having vested such confidence in me and given this very portfolio to me," she said.
Talking about her priorities, Sitharaman stated, "My priority will definitely be the armed forced preparedness. It is important that the Indian Armed Forces receives all the attention in terms of giving them every necessary endowment and equipment, which is necessary for them to perform their duty."
She further assured of clearing all pending issues in consultation with the Prime Minister Modi.
"I shall attend to all the long-ending issues and in consultation with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and ensure that the issues that were long pending shall get resolved," the Defence Minister mentioned.
Speaking about Prime Minister's 'Make in India' initiative, Sitharaman said, "We need to have a big play of 'Make in India' in our defence production, which will be of great importance to us. We shall ensure that the important characters of what makes 'Make in India' an important flagship programme for Prime Minister Modi is given full play for defence production, because India as you know is a very big defence equipment procurrer."
She also assured that soldier's family welfare interests would be well taken care of.
"I will not for a moment forget, that in their family's welfare, that we can ensure that the soldier at the very toughest borders, challenging zones in which they are protecting this country remain absolutely assured that their interests are being taken care of," she noted.
Sitharaman is only the second woman after late Indira Gandhi to become the Defence Minister of India, and the first one to take independent charge.
Nirmala Sitharaman took the charge today.
Indira Gandhi was additionally the Prime Minister of India when she took the office as Defence Minister.
Sitharaman previously served as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs and the Minister for Commerce and Industry with independent charge, and now succeeds Arun Jaitley to take charge of the defence ministry.