Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday responded to businesswoman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s tweet asking why the ban on e-cigarettes, approved the day before by the Cabinet, was not announced by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. The Biocon chairperson also asked why the finance minister had also not announced measures to revive the economy. The government on Thursday issued an ordinance to ban e-cigarettes.
“A few things, Kiran ji,” Sitharaman tweeted. “This press conference [on Wednesday] was dedicated to Cabinet decisions. I began by saying that I was there in my capacity as chair of the group of ministers which has dealt with the matter. Dr Harsh Vardhan is out of country for an international meet.”
The finance minister pointed out that Cabinet ministers join Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar at press conferences when required. “Health secretary was also with me, explaining details,” she added. “These are protocols, as you know, which government press conferences follow.”
Sitharaman pointed out she was “working on and regularly speaking about measures we have been taking on matters of the economy”. Shaw thanked the finance minister for her response and said she stood corrected.
On September 14, Sitharaman had announced the third set of government decisions to revive the economy, including a Rs 50,000-crore export incentive scheme and a Rs 10,000-crore special window to provide last mile funding for unfinished housing projects. The decisions follow two previous mega announcements designed to encourage private sector investment, and bring further stability into the banking system through several public sector bank mergers.
India’s economic growth rate had slipped to 5% in the April-June quarter, the lowest in over six years. In the last few months, core sectors such as automobiles and manufacturing have witnessed a progressive slowdown in growth due to weakened consumer demand and dearth of investments.
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