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New Delhi : Nirmala Sitharaman took over charge as Defence Minister here on September 7, 2017. On her arrival at the Ministry of Defence in South Block, Sitharaman was received by outgoing Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, Defence Secretary (Defence Production) AK Gupta, Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D  S Christopher and other senior officials.

Sitharaman is the first full time Woman Defence Minister of India. Immediately after assuming office, the Defence Minister approved a grant of over Rs 13 crore which will be released for 8,685 ex-servicemen, widows and dependants out of the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. She also approved financial assistance out of Raksha Mantri Ex-Servicemen Fund, according to a PIB release.

Born on August 18, 1959 in the temple town of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Sitharaman did her schooling and  graduation in Economics from Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College in Tiruchirapalli. She went on to do her Masters in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Indo-European Textile Trade was the focus of her draft PhD thesis. She served as an assistant to Economist in the Agricultural Engineers Association, London, UK.

She subsequently worked as Senior Manager (Research and Analysis) with Price Waterhouse, London. During this time she also briefly worked with BBC World Service. Sitharaman joined the BJP in 2008 and was made a member of the National Executive. She was nominated as party spokesperson in March 2010. She is married to Parakala Prabhakar, an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University and London School of Economics, and they have one daughter, according to the PIB release.

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