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NDA's 5 Finance Ministers

 

Yashwant Sinha

Former Finance Minister

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From the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) to the Janata Party, then the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and then slipping into oblivion — Yashwant Sinha’s professional career has been a roller-coaster ride. As a long-time member of the BJP, Sinha served in several ministries but finance was known to be his forte. Read More


Jaswant Singh

Former Finance Minister

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A veteran member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Jaswant Singh served in several central ministries for the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. He was the Union finance minister for the last two years in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government (from 2002 to 2004). During his tenure as the finance minister, Singh introduced the state Value Added Tax (VAT), which helped states generate more revenue. Jaswant Singh also slashed the custom duties. Read More


Arun Jaitley

Former Finance Minister

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A senior member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Arun Jaitley was the Union finance minister through the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s first term in power at the Centre. Besides finance, Jaitley previously held the defence, corporate affairs, commerce & industry and law & justice Cabinet portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi governments. Read More


Piyush Goyal

Former Finance Minister

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Piyush Goyal, who had been the Union minister for railways and coal in the first term of the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre, has been given charge of the railways and commerce & industry ministries in the second term. In the previous term of the BJP government, Goyal had also donned the hat of the finance minister on a couple of occasions, standing in for then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during phases of the latter’s ailment. Read More


Nirmala Sitharaman

Former Finance Minister

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Nirmala Sitharaman holds two important portfolios — the finance ministry and the corporate affairs ministry — in the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in its second term at the Centre. She is the first full-time woman finance minister of the country. Earlier, Indira Gandhi had held finance as an additional portfolio for a short duration when she was the prime minister of India. Read More


The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had its first full term at the Centre from 1998 to 2004, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the prime minister. This period saw two BJP leaders serving as the Union finance minister — Yashwant Sinha from 1998 to 2002 and Jaswant Singh from 2002-2004. During Sinha’s term, while the nation was going through some troubled times on the external front — from the US sanctions after the 1998 nuclear tests to the Kargil war with Pakistan and the infamous Kandahar hijacking case — Sinha helped stabilise the country’s economy. The most interesting change that made was a change in time of the Budget presentation to mornings. Prior to 1998, the Budget was presented in the evening session of Parliament. In his tenure, Sinha rationalised the excise rates as well.

In 2002, Jaswant Singh took over as the finance minister and Yashwant Sinha became the external affairs minister. Singh had also been the finance minister in 1996, when the Vajpayee government had fallen in just 15 days. Singh laid the foundation for State Value Added Tax (VAT) and slashed custom duties.

In 2014, when the NDA government returned to power with Narendra Modi as PM, party veteran Arun Jaitley was made the finance minister. Jaitley gave the nation the Goods and Services Tax, the concept for which had been hanging fire for over 15 years. After GST was enforced, many tax slab revisions were also manoeuvred and Jaitley also introduced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The IBC helped the insolvency process of several companies that were going down.

When Jaitley's health deteriorated, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal was made an interim finance minister. Goyal presented the full Budget for the 2018-19 and the Interim Budget for 2019-20. The most crucial among Goyal’s Budget announcements was a tax concession to the lowest bracket of the salaried class. He also announced a scheme for income transfer to farmers.

Now, with the Modi government back in power at the Centre for a second time, Nirmala Sitharaman has been given charge of the finance ministry — she is the first woman in India to get finance as primary portfolio. As Sitharaman, the fifth NDA finance minister, presents her first Budget on July 5, the measures that she announces will be keenly watched.