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India election

Modi taps new finance minister in move to revitalize India's economy

Nirmala Sitharaman is surprise pick; close aide Shah to head Home Affairs

Nirmala Sitharaman is India's first full-time female finance minister. Indira Gandhi held the additional portfolio of finance briefly in the early 1970s when she served as prime minister.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 31 tapped Nirmala Sitharaman as finance minister as he began his second term in office after his Bharatiya Janata Party swept the country's general election that ended earlier in May.

Her appointment came as a surprise, as local media had speculated the finance minister post would go to Amit Shah, the BJP chief and Modi's most trusted lieutenant, who is considered the architect of the party's victory in a seven-phase general election from April 11 to May 19.

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