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Chidambaram voted Asia's best FM

Banker has applauded PC for pursuing reforms and reining in fiscal deficit.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2006 05:07 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has been named the Finance Minister of the year 2005 for Asia by Banker magazine for pursuing reforms and reining in fiscal deficit.

The Financial Times group magazine applauded Chidambaram for his determined pursuit of reforms, but said it was not just that which earned him the award.

The ruling coalition, an unwieldy alliance between the Congress Party and a constellation of communist and Left-leaning parties, keeps his reformist designs firmly in check, Banker said.

Privatisation and labour reforms have already been thwarted, limits on FDI are popular, the magazine said, adding that in many ways, Chidambaram is acknowledged not so much for fresh reform momentum but more for holding on to past progress.

"But that understates the Minister's ongoing efforts to liberalise investment laws, cut bureaucracy and improve the business environment," the magazine said.

"As if his campaign for reform was not a full-time pre-occupation, his plate is already full reining in the country's ominous fiscal deficit, which is likely to end the fiscal year on target at 4.5 per cent of GDP," the magazine said in its January issue.

Given the coalition government's left-leaning outlook, limiting scope for any cuts to social welfare spending, Chidambaram is to be applauded for tightening controls on spending under the circumstances, promising to close the deficit in five years, the magazine said.

Banker said Chidambaram is an unashamed champion of the private sector and foreign direct investment but he is up against strong resistance.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 18:08 IST