Sitharaman, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw in Twitter spat over e-cig ban


NEW DELHI | September 19, 2019 (IANS):

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday defended her decision to ban e-cigarettes after Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw questioned her authority to issue the ban.

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In a tweet, Shaw wondered why the decision on e-cigarette ban came from her and not Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

"E-cigarettes banned, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman – Shd this not come from Min of Health? How about banning gutka too? How about MoF announcing some fiscal measures to revive economy?" tweeted Shaw.

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Reacting sharply to her, Sitharaman posted a series of tweets, defending her decision.

"Kiranji, a few things. This press conference was dedicated to Cabinet decisions. I began by saying that I was there in my capacity as Chair of the GoM which has dealt with the matter. @drharshvardhan is out of country for an international meet," the finance minister posted.

She added: "Cabinet Minister/s join @PrakashJavdekar, the I&B Minister, when required. Health Secretary was also with me, explaining details. These are protocols, as you know, which govt press conferences follow."

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Shaw also criticised the finance minister for the lack of fiscal measures to support growth.

"As Finance Minister — you might've observed — I've been working on and regularly speaking about measures we have been taking on matters of the economy," reacted Sitharaman.

After the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Sitharaman said vaping or e-cigarettes appear cool but a lot of health concerns had been raised against them.

"The decision has been taken keeping in mind health of the youth," she said, citing recommendations of premier medical institutes.