Chidambaram takes over as Finance Minister
NEW DELHI: After a gap of about four years, P Chidambaram on Wednesday returned as head of India’s Finance Ministry amid urgency to give a boost to the sagging economy.
Known for taking tough and bold decisions, Chidambaram, in a minor cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, was moved from Home to Finance Ministry.
Earlier in the day, Chidambaram went to the Home Ministry for a short while and thereafter took charge of the new portfolio. He is also believed to have met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the morning.
Chidambaram is returning to the crucial portfolio at a time when the country’s economic growth has slipped to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent during 2011-12 and there was an urgent need to restore confidence of foreign and domestic investors.
He had left the Finance Ministry to succeed Shivraj Patil as Home Minister, days after the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been holding charge of the Finance Ministry after Pranab Mukherjee quit on June 26 to contest Presidential elections.
A Harvard educated lawyer, Chidambaram became the face of India’s economic reforms when he took over as Finance Minister in the United Front government in 1996 under H D Deve Gowda.
He presented a budget that vastly slashed tax rates and contained a number of sops for the corporate sector and was hailed as a “dream budget”. The budget, however, could not have its full run due to the fall of the then government.
Besides Chidambaram, Arvind Mayaram took charge as secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in the Finance Ministry replacing R Gopalan.
Mayaram, who was working as special secretary and financial advisor in the Ministry of Rural Development, was a joint secretary in the Finance Ministry when Chidambaram was the Minister three-and-a half years ago. -PTI