External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first since Independence which has six women Cabinet Ministers.

Addressing Mahila Sammelan event in Varanasi, Swaraj underlined that two of the women ministers are members of the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security.

To drive home her point, Swaraj later tweeted the names and year when women held Cabinet berths.

“I told the audience that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is the first government after Independence to have six women Cabinet Ministers with two of them as members of the Cabinet Committee on Security. Jawahar Lal Nehru’s first cabinet (1952-57) had only one woman – Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur as a Cabinet Minister. His second government (1957-62) had no woman Cabinet Minister. His third Government (1962-64) had one woman (Dr. Sushila Nayyar) as a Cabinet Minister,” she tweeted.

In another tweet, Swaraj said, “Lal Bahadur Shastri continued with Dr. Sushila Nayyar as a Cabinet Minister (1964-66). Indira Gandhi also continued with her as a Cabinet Minister (1966-67).”

The BJP leader said that during Indira Gandhi’s tenure as the Prime Minister from 1967-71, 1971-1977 and again during 1980-84, not a single woman was appointed as a Cabinet Minister.

She said Rajiv Gandhi’s cabinet (1984-89) had only one woman (Mohsina Kidwai) as a Cabinet Minister.


When a Twitter user said that former Nandini Satpathy, too, was a minister, Swaraj pointed out that the Odisha Chief Minister was a Minister of State and not Cabinet minister.

Besides Swaraj, the other women ministers in Modi’s Cabinet include Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani and Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharati

Of them, only Swaraj, Badal and Gandhi have been holding their portfolios since the formation of the government in 2014. Harsimrat Kaur Badal is the only non-BJP leader among the women Cabinet ministers. She belongs to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).