Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday strongly retorted a sarcastic comment from Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on her presence on a cabinet decision (on e-cigarettes) that was not related to the Finance Ministry.
To a suggestion by Shaw that Sitharaman should rather announce some fiscal measures to support growth, the Minister responded that she has been speaking about the economic measures taken by the government regularly.
In a tweet, Shaw wondered if the decision should rather have come from Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
"E-cigarettes banned, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman - Shd this not come from Min of Health? How about banning gutka too? How about MoF announcing some fiscal measures to revive economy?" she tweeted.
Sitharaman was quick to jump to her defence as she posted a series of tweets.
"Kiranji, a few things. This press conference was dedicated to Cabinet decisions. I began by saying that I was there in my capacity as Chair of the GoM which has dealt with the matter. @drharshvardhan is out of country for an international meet," the finance minister posted.
She added: "Cabinet Minister/s join @PrakashJavdekar, the I&B Minister, when required. Health Secretary was also with me, explaining details. These are protocols, as you know, which govt press conferences follow."
"As Finance Minister -- you might've observed -- I've been working on and regularly speaking about measures we have been taking on matters of the economy," reacted Sitharaman.
Kiran ji, a few things. This press conference was dedicated to Cabinet decisions. I began by saying that I was there in my capacity as Chair of the GoM which has dealt with the matter. @drharshvardhan is out of country for an international meet. 1/3 https://t.co/oL1UXPqEvJ— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) September 19, 2019
After the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Sitharaman said vaping or e-cigarettes appear cool but a lot of health concerns had been raised against them.
"The decision has been taken keeping in mind health of the youth," she said, citing recommendations of premier medical institutes.
Also Read | Government issues ordinance to ban e-cigarettes