A spat between Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and industrialist Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on Twitter settled amicably after the minister defended the government’s economic policy and her presence at a press conference to announce a Cabinet decision on banning e-cigarettes.
Shaw, head of Biocon, had earlier wondered why the finance minister, and not the health minister, addressed the press conference. “E-cigarettes banned, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Should this not come from Minister of Health? How about banning gutka too? How about MoF (minister of finance) announcing some fiscal measures to revive economy?” tweeted Shaw.
To this, Sitharaman reminded Shaw about the measures she has been taking to revive the economy. “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," she said.
The minister has announced three packages so far to revive the economy, while the fourth one is expected to be announced soon. Sitharaman also defended her presence in the Cabinet briefing.
“This press conference was dedicated to Cabinet decisions. I began by saying that I was there in my capacity as chair of the GoM (group of ministers), which has dealt with the matter. Harsh Vardhan (health minister) is out of country for an international meet,” she said.
With this, Shaw smoked the peace pipe.
“I now understand and I stand corrected. Thanks for explaining my confusion. Really grateful for your response,” she told Sitharaman in another tweet.