Successful professionals like Punita Sinha can’t give up their work just because their spouses are ministers
In the week since Jayant Sinha was shifted from the finance ministry to aviation, many reasons have been given for this ‘demotion’, ranging from being a lesson to his outspoken father to a conflict of interest with his investment-banker wife being on the board of several companies and even being present at a tea party he hosted for top bankers and ministry officials. While only a few apart from prime minister Modi will know the reason for the shift, it must be kept in mind Sinha was appointed to the job despite his father’s remarks, the most famous (or forgettable?) being I’m-not-suffering-from-Namonia.
As for Jayant Sinha’s wife, or any minister’s spouse, are they supposed to give up their professional lives the day their spouses take office? A Wharton finance-PhD and a successful investment banker will always be in demand—she was on seven boards before Sinha became a minister—but more so since Sebi rules mandate a certain number of women directors on every board; how many female professionals are better qualified? There is then the famous Mauritius-route that Mrs Sinha is supposed to have persuaded her father-in-law not to block 15 years ago when he was FM—the fact that the treaty was not changed till, ironically, when Jayant Sinha was in the finance ministry, also exposes the falseness of the charge. Spousal rights, anyone?