PM formally assumes charge of finance ministry (Lead)

December 1st, 2008 - 11:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday formally took charge of the finance portfolio by chairing a meeting with all the secretaries of the ministry, and asking them to ensure that every possible measure is taken to ensure that India’s growth momentum is maintained at a time of global financial crisis.In the reshuffle in the cabinet Sunday, in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was shifted to the home ministry, and the prime minister decided to keep with himself the finance portfolio, a territory he was familiar with, having headed it from 1991 to 1996.

Addressing his first press conference here after assuming charge as home minister, Chidambaram maintained that Manmohan Singh was the best person to handle the finance portfolio.

“Our prime minister was a governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission and a finance minister,” Chidambaram said.

“We need the coordination of these three (offices) and he has held all three positions earlier,” he said, referring to Manmohan Singh’s previous stints at the helm of Mint Road in Mumbai and the Yojana Bhavan and South Block in the national capital.

Speaking about the state of the Indian economy, Chidambaram maintained that “inflation will moderate and the economic growth will be satisfactory”.

He said India will witness a slowdown this fiscal because of the global meltdown, but added that the economy was nowhere near recession. He said the projection of 7-8 percent growth was also quite satisfactory in the present circumstances.

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