When FM started a food war saying she wasn’t eating onions

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman celebrates her 61st birthday today (August 18). A politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and trusted lieutenant to Prime Minister Modi, Sitharaman previously headed the Union Defense Ministry during the first term of the Modi government. In 2014, she was Minister of State and dealt with trade and industry with an independent charge.

However, while she was the Union’s finance minister, Sitharaman was given an ‘elitist’ label after saying that the onion price problem did not affect her much because she and her family did not use the onion prominently in their food.

The comments came amid the surge in onion prices in the country. The incident took place in December 2019 during Lok Sabha’s winter session. She made the remark to Lok Sabha when responding to interruptions from some opposition members as she spoke about rising onion prices.

“I don’t eat a lot of onions and garlic so don’t worry. I come from a family that doesn’t care much about onions,” she said.

Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule then asked the finance minister about the increase in bad debts and the problems faced by farmers growing only onions. “Why has onion production declined? We export rice, milk and so many other products. The onion farmer is a small framer and he really needs to be protected,” asked Sule.

Sitharaman responded by talking about his personal habit of using onion and talked about the measures the government was taking to control onion prices, including improving technology for better storage.

Attributing the shortage to low production, the minister said there are serious structural problems with onions.

“One is that we don’t have scientifically advanced storage methods. So that’s one of the things, so we need a bigger scientific storage facility for the onions that we started to. Then, also to give better storage capacities in this region in particular around Lasalgaon ”, she declared.

(Agency entries)

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Posted on: Tuesday Aug 18, 2020 09:20 IST



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