Sitharaman overwhelmed and humbled on getting Defence
New Delhi: Nirmala Sitharaman, who landed the crucial defence portfolio in a major rejig of the Modi government, on Sunday said she was "overwhelmed and humbled" and would serve the country with something she was "constantly" thinking about.
Sitharaman also credited her elevation to a cabinet rank minister to "cosmic grace" and support from party leadership.
"I am just overwhelmed and humbled. I can serve the country with something which is constantly on the top of my mind," she said.
Stressing that it was a big responsibility, Sitharaman said she was "very grateful" for the confidence the Prime Minister has on her.
Asked whether dealing with Pakistan in view of terrorism will be her priority, she said "I have not even taken charge.
I don't think it is appropriate to comment on it now...give me some time."
To a query whether her elevation showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment towards women empowernment, she said the Prime Minister has always been in favour.
"I know his working style since the time he was in Gujarat ... He always believe in giving women their due share.
His belief is that women can also perform," she said.
Sitharaman was among the four junior ministers who were given cabinet berths at the reshuffle today. Sitharaman was earlier the Minister of State (Independent Charge) Commerce.
"Somebody who has come from a small town, grown into the party with all the support of the leadership, and if given such responsibility, it just makes you feel sometimes that cosmic grace is there. Otherwise, it is impossible," she told reporters here soon after taking oath.
To a query on the opposition criticism of her working as the commerce minister, the BJP leader said she was neither averse, nor frightened by criticism.
"Every criticism is a message and we have to learn from it. I am not averse to criticism and also not frightened of it, but certainly take messages from them.
"Criticism per se do not reflect on performance. It only adds to your performance if you are ready to take on-board the corrections that may be workable," she said.
Sitharaman was also quick to highlight a number of initiatives by the commerce ministry like Start up India and Make in India.
"With the support of the prime minister, so many things have happened in the ministry like Start up India, Make in India etc. There is some misconception about 'Make in India', but it will be answered," she said.
RSS hails Sitharaman's elevation as Defence Minister
New Delhi: The RSS on Sunday hailed the elevation of Nirmala Sitharaman as the Defence Minister, saying it was a "great and remarkable" thing that a woman has been appointed to such a crucial post. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya congratulated all those who were inducted or elevated in the Cabinet after the reshuffle on Sunday.
"We congratulate all those ministers who took oath on Sundayand our wishes are with them.
"It is a great and remarkable thing that a woman has been appointed as the defence minister and now there will be two female ministers in the cabinet committee on security," Vaidya said.
The other members of the crucial cabinet committee are Home Minister, Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister, under the Prime Minister.
Sitharaman is the first woman to become a full-time Defence Minister of the country in a major rejig of the Modi Cabinet.