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
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
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.