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Report: India names new finance minister

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Report: India names new finance minister

Nirmala Sitharaman will be India's finance minister in the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the Financial Times.

Sitharaman served as defense minister, junior finance minister and commerce minister during Modi's first term.

Sitharaman reportedly replaces Arun Jaitley, who has declined to rejoin the cabinet due to health issues.

Modi's new government faces the challenge of rejuvenating India's slowing economy, which grew at an annual rate of 5.8% in the first quarter, down from 6.6% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

India's GDP growth slowed to a five-year low of 6.8% in the financial year ending March 30, from 7.2% in the previous period, the FT reported.

Modi secured a second five-year term after his ruling nationalist party dominated India's recent general election and strengthened its grip on the lower house of Parliament.

The Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, up from 282 seats in the 2014 election.

Modi's new cabinet includes S. Jaishankar as external affairs minister. Jaishankar is the country's former ambassador to the U.S. and China, the FT reported.