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Finance Minister responds to criticism on twitter on e-cigarette ban

The Finance Minister took to Twitter to defend the measures announced by her in the previous days to revive the sagging economy.

Amid the criticism and trolling face by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the e-cigarette ban, the FM participated in a tweet thread with Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw with clarifications on the questions raised by the latter. She took to Twitter to defend the measures announced by her in the previous days to revive the sagging economy.

Shaw, amongst others, asked the government why tobacco products like gutka, pan masala, and cigarettes were not banned along with e-cigarettes if the government was concerned about its harmful effects on the youth. Shaw also asked the FM why the health minister didn’t make the announcement.

Sitharamana addressed Shaw’s concern by reverting with a series of tweets, “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.”

Nirmala Sitharaman explained to Shaw that she announced after the cabinet meeting as chairperson of a Group of Ministers (GoM).

While elaborating on the content’s of Shaw’s tweet, Sitharaman said that the press conference was dedicated to the cabinet decisions. Additionally, she mentioned that she had to take over the e-cigarette ban announcement as the Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan was out of the country for a meeting.

On seeing the Finance Minister’s replies, Shaw replied and ended the exchanges by saying that she stood corrected and understood everything as her confusion had been cleared.

Sitharaman had been attending regular press briefings over the past few weeks to announce, in parts, the measures to boost our economy after a six-year low in GDP growth rate and check unemployment that’s risen to a 45-year high in the first quarter of 2019-20.

According to reports, announcements made by Sitharaman include front-loading of PSU bank recaps of Rs 55,250 crore, the union of 10 banks into four, the reversal of FPI surcharge, Rs 20,000 crore stress fund for unfinished non-NCLT housing projects, sops for the auto sector, easing export finance among others to push up growth which has now sunk to 5% in first quarter.

The FM Sitharaman is due to address a press conference later Thursday post-meeting with the heads of state-run banks to review the transmission of the central bank’s primary points of interest rate cuts this term.