Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman opened up about her hesitation while speaking in Hindi due to certain circumstances in her life. Sitharaman made these comments during her address at the Hindi Vivek Magazine after the previous speaker announced that her speech will be in Hindi. She said speaking in Hindi at a public gathering gives her "shivers".
Sitharaman said, "I speak Hindi with a lot of 'sankoch' (hesitation)." She also said that her fluency in the language is affected. She, however, finished her 35-minute-long speech in Hindi.
The Union Minister stated she was born and brought up in Tamil Nadu. At the time, Tamil Nadu was facing anti-Hindi agitations. She further underlined that students who chose either Sanskrit or Hindi as second language would not get state government scholarships despite their names being in merit lists of their respective universities.
Going further in her address, the Finance Minister acknowledged while it is challenging for a person to learn a new language as an adult, she could pick up Telugu which happens to be her husband's mother tongue but not Hindi.
Moving on, she termed the 1991 economic reforms as "aadhe adhure reforms" where the Indian economy was opened up for global markets but not in the right way and was under the strictures imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
She also talked about how infrastructure and mobile networks were built under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government and went on to say that a decade was lost after the UPA government held reins as the focus was on making personal gains instead of country's interests and reforms.
She then elaborated on Narendra Modi's tenure as the PM and stated that schemes such the direct benefit transfer scheme have ensured transparency and that benefits worth Rs 2 lakh crore have been transferred under the scheme so far. Sitharaman talked about giving Air India back to the Tatas and said the government took a right decision by being away from businesses where the government should not be. She claimed Air India was facing losses to the tune of Rs 20 crore per day before privatisation.
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