Early into his new innings at the finance ministry, P Chidambaram moved to address fears of both households and foreign investors by taking aim at stubbornly high prices and the complexities of India's tax regime.
Promising to work with the central bank to fight inflation, Chidambaram said he'd use foodgrain stocks to tame prices and resort to imports when needed.
He said high interest rates were acting as a burden "on every class of borrower". High inflation has forced the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates elevated.
Chidambaram said "clarity in tax laws, a stable tax regime, a non-adversarial tax administration and an independent judiciary" would provide assurance to investors. A retrospective law aimed at Vodafone introduced by predecessor Pranab Mukherjee had rattled many of those investors earlier this year.
"The country needs some good news and the finance minister's statement would be a major business sentiment-boosting measure," said CII president Adi Godrej.
But Centre for Policy Research's Bibek Debroy told HT. "Raids on businessmen may increase as they did in his last tenure. But beyond that, it's all hot air, vague."