MUMBAI/NEW DELHI/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday named Nirmala Sitharaman, previously the country's defence minister, as the next finance minister, while the chief of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will become home minister.
BJP President Amit Shah masterminded the party's landslide victory in the April-May general election.
YOGESH NAGAONKAR, FOUNDER & CEO, ROWAN CAPITAL ADVISORS, MUMBAI
"It is a big surprise and very unexpected news. The initial expectation of the market from her would be to see how she addresses liquidity concerns. We need to have good liquidity in the market to achieve growth. How the PSU bank crisis will be addressed will also be watched."
"Frankly, the portfolio should have been given to Piyush Goyal, who is a CA by qualification, and he would have been the first choice of the market. But, I think Nirmala has been doing well previously, so it should be alright."
OMKESHWAR SINGH, HEAD RANK MF, SAMCO SECURITIES, MUMBAI
"It is a surprise as the market was expecting either Piyush Goyal or Amit Shah (to be the Finance Minister). It will take some time and we will need to see how she performs. The major challenges will be the GST Council and how she will manage that and also economic growth. For a short term, it will be an uncertainty as her appointment was not expected."
SACHIN TAPARIA, FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN, LOCALCIRCLES
"As far as startups go, having Mrs Sitharaman as the finance minister is a good thing as it was under her tenure as the commerce minister that Startup India was launched."
"There are a number of direct tax and GST-related issues that are negatively impacting startups and we look forward to working with her."
AJAY BODKE, CEO-PMS, PRABHUDAS LILLADHER, MUMBAI
"Nirmala Sitharaman is eminently qualified to steer India's economy, which is facing multiple headwinds of slowing consumption impulses, moribund private capex cycle and anaemic exports."
"With limited fiscal manoeuvrability, it remains to be seen how she can inject a strong dose of fiscal stimulus to revive animal spirits. She will need to strike a delicate balance between the re-distributive policies advocated by Mr Modi towards the poor & downtrodden and yet ensure the government's firm commitment to adhere to medium-term fiscal consolidation."
N.R.BHANUMURTHY, ECONOMIST AT NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC FINANCE AND POLICY
"The choice of Nirmala Sitharaman as the finance minister will improve optimism on the economy as with her finance and trade background she could quickly adapt to deal with the economic challenges. The new finance minister will have to take steps to revive consumer demand and investments to boost economic growth as the economy is likely to grow below 7% for second consecutive year."
JAGANNADHAM THUNUGUNTLA, RESEARCH HEAD, CENTRUM WEALTH, MUMBAI
"The ambiguity of portfolio allocation is now removed, so this is good for the market in a sense. We will get to see Nirmala's proposals and approach in the budget, which is due in about a month."
"Emergence of clarity is what was important, and now the narrative in markets will be about the economic policies that will be adopted to revive and stimulate the slowing economy."
"To stimulate the economy, the Modi government must have thought it will be good to give the portfolio to someone who understood and handled commerce."
BEKXY KURIAKOSE, HEAD OF FIXED INCOME, PRINCIPAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, MUMBAI
"It is too soon to say. I have a neutral view. We will have to wait for her to speak to get her thoughts and ideas on reforms for the markets and the economy, but it will be in line with what the BJP-led government would overall target anyway."
SANDIP SABHARWAL, DOMESTIC FUND MANAGER, MUMBAI
"Nirmala Sitharaman is a relatively unknown entity despite holding a key portfolio in the previous government. Expectations as such will be low. From the markets' perspective, it's neutral at this stage."
(Reporting by Swati Bhat and Savio Shetty in Mumbai, Manoj Kumar in New Delhi, and Chris Thomas, Chandini Monnappa and Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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