The Forbes 2019 list of 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women' has named Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, HCL Corporation CEO and Executive Director Roshni Nadar Malhotra and Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw among the world's 100 most powerful women.

Nirmala Sitharaman
Sitharaman is ranked 34th who is a newcomer on the Forbes most powerful women list.Reuters

The Forbes list has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde in the second spot and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, ranked third. Also on the list is Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (29).

"In 2019, women around the globe took action, claiming leadership positions in government, business, philanthropy and media. These trailblazers are not to be messed with," Forbes said.

First female to hold the portfolio full time

Sitharaman is ranked 34th who is a newcomer on the Forbes most powerful women list. India's first female finance minister, Sitharaman has also served as the country's defence minister. Sitharaman is the first female to hold the portfolio full time. Before this, former prime minister Indira Gandhi briefly took the additional charge of the ministry.

Sitharaman on income tax rates

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has hinted at the possibility of an overhaul of the tax rates and simplifying of the whole process in the next budget. Sitharaman said the government was looking at lowering and rationalising the personal income tax rates, as well as working on more sector-specific measures to boost the slowing economy, according to a Business Standard report. "(This is) one among the many things we are looking at," the minister, embattled by a deepening economic slowdown, said at a leadership event on Saturday. She was responding to a question on the personal income tax rate cuts and rationalisation.

Nirmala Sitharaman on taxation laws

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces major corporate tax reforms and steps to boost liquidity. PSBs, that are being adequately capitalised and record recovery underway, have sufficient liquidity to support credit growth, it said. Sitharaman while replying to a query on Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha on Monday said the government would make sure that the banks would not go to metropolitan cities but to 400 districts and hold outreach programs to address liquidity issue.

Nadar Malhotra is ranked 54th on the list. As CEO of HCL Corporation, she is responsible for all strategic decisions for the $8.9 billion technology company. Malhotra is also the chairperson of the company's CSR Committee and is a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, which is focused on education and has established some of India's top colleges and schools, Forbes said.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the founder of Biocon
Mazumdar-Shaw, ranked 65 on the list.

Mazumdar-Shaw, ranked 65 on the list, is India's richest self-made woman and founder of the country's largest biopharmaceutical firm Biocon in 1978.

Biocon has "successfully forayed into the lucrative US biosimilars market, catching the attention of investors" and it also became the first company to gain approval from the USFDA for two different biosimilars of drugs used in certain cancer treatments.

Mazumdar-Shaw has invested in research infrastructure and scientific talent with the aim of building a deep R&D-based biotech firm, not a copycat generics maker, Forbes said.

The Forbes list also includes Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda Gates (6), IBM CEO Ginni Rometty (9), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (18), New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (38), First Daughter and Advisor to President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump (42), singers Rihanna (61), Beyonce (66) and Taylor Swift (71), tennis star Serena Williams (81) and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg (100).

Referring to Pelosi's recent "Don't mess with me" remark to a reporter, Forbes said that could be the mantra for just about every one of the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women.

"The top-ranked woman for the ninth year in a row, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is crusading against anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe; Taylor Swift is battling industry stalwarts and private equity firms over musician song-ownership rights; and 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg- one of 23 newcomers to the list- is fighting inaction on climate change and galvanizing millions of young people around the globe."

(With agency inputs)