Walking a wedge between ministerial colleagues on the one hand and foreign investors on the other, finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday took a nuanced position on India's economy in separate meetings.
While he painted a grim picture of the fiscal situation to cabinet colleagues in a meeting of the full council of ministers, he emphasised on sound growth prospects and reform measures to a clutch of foreign institutional investors (FIIs).
He told the ministers that government expenditure needs to be controlled while continuing with the reform process to boost the economy and attract investments.
To FIIs, he assured of more measures to put things in order to get the economy back on the high-growth path.
"The finance minister made it clear to his colleagues that tough decisions would have to be taken to attract investment which was crucial for revival of growth and he also met the foreign investors to update them about the state of the economy and the measures that were being taken," a person familiar with the developments said on Friday.
Representatives from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Blackrock, Goldman Sachs and private equity fund T Rowe Price were among those who attended the meeting on Thursday.
In the current year, FIIs have been net buyers and have invested over $18 billion in India until now despite economic uncertainties.
They perked up after the UPA government allowed foreign direct investment in retail.
The minister underlined the need to reduce fiscal deficit and implement the reform measures to avoid a downgrading of India's sovereign credit rating to junk status.