‘I’ve been working’ on economy, tweets Nirmala Sitharaman

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday defended her handling of the economy in a Twitter post, following criticism by a corporate leader on the lack of fiscal measures to support growth.

“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,” Sitharaman said via Twitter, responding to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, head of Indian drug-maker Biocon Ltd.
Shaw wondered why the finance minister, and not the health minister, was addressing a press conference on ban of e-cigarettes in India. In the first of a series of tweets, Sitharaman justified her presence at the event that had given rise to speculation about more steps to support growth.

While Sitharaman tweets regularly about her ministry’s achievements and her personal life, including her love for making pickles, she’s rarely responded to social media criticism on her work as finance minister. Sitharaman, who took over her as finance minister in May, is under pressure to bolster growth that’s slowed to a six-year low and check unemployment that’s risen to a 45-year high. The government’s measures to reverse the slowdown have so far come in “tranches” and are seen as inadequate. Sitharaman is due to address a press conference later on Thursday after a meeting with heads of state-run banks to review transmission of the central bank’s 110 basis points of interest rate cuts this year.