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A woman is Punjab's new finance minister

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 09:28:57 PM, IANS

Chandigarh: Less than a week after Manpreet Singh Badal was sacked as the finance minister of Punjab, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Wednesday named a woman, Upinderjit Kaur, to the post.

Kaur, who is over 70, is presently the education minister.

Manpreet, a nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was sacked from the Punjab cabinet after his threat to do away with subsidies and freebies like free power to farmers led to a confrontation with party leaders.

Punjab's new finance minister holds a doctorate in Economics and has been a professor on the subject at Patiala's Punjabi University, 70 km from here.

She taught economics at Punjabi University from 1965 to 1994. She also taught economics at Sydney University in 1974.

She has guided 26 students in the M.Phil (Master of Philosophy) and Ph.D (Doctor of Philosophy) degrees in economics.

Upinderjit Kaur had also worked earlier as principal of the Guru Nanak Khalsa College.

Elected to the Punjab assembly in 1997, 2002 and 2007, she is the daughter of former Punjab minister and Akali Dal leader (late) Atma Singh. She represents the Sultanpur assembly constituency.

She became a cabinet minister in Punjab in February 1997 and held the portfolio of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Housing and Urban Development.

In the present government headed by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Upinderjit Kaur held the portfolio of Education (School Education, Higher Education and Languages), Civil Aviation, Vigilance and Justice. She has now been made the finance minister, replacing Manpreet Singh Badal.

She is credited with enforcing the use of Punjabi language in all government work in the state.

She has authored two books related to Economics, ‘Development of Theory of Demand' and ‘Sikh Religion and Economic Development'.

Her predecessor, Manpreet Badal, was dropped from the ministry last week owing to his recent statements regarding the Rs.70,000 crore debt on the state and his demand that the ruling Akali Dal do away with subsidies and freebies to take the state out of a debt trap.

He had claimed that the central government had extended a conditional offer of waiving nearly Rs.35,000 crore.

The statements brought Manpreet in direct confrontation with his first cousin and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Akali Dal president. Sukhbir is also the son of the chief minister.

In a minor reshuffle affected Wednesday, the portfolios of a few ministers were changed.

Sewa Singh Sekhwan will be the new education minister.

The charge of the information and public relations department has now been given to Sukhbir Badal, who already holds the charge of the home and sports departments.







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