Manmohan Singh is PM | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Manmohan Singh is PM

PTI | ByReuters, New Delhi
May 22, 2004 06:03 PM IST

Manmohan Singh and his new coalition Govt is being sworn in at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

sssssssssssManmohan Singh and his new coalition Government is being sworn in at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.

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Singh, a 71-year-old economist, kicked off country's economic reform drive more than a decade ago.

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He was designated Prime Minister this week after Sonia Gandhi, who had led her Congress party to a shock election win, declined to take the job.

The Congress party has had to put together a coalition government for the first time.

It had to resolve a row, which erupted with powerful allies like RJD over the distribution of ministerial positions.

At least 18 regional, parties have pledged their support to a Congress-led coalition.

Markets have focused on Singh's choice for finance minister. Singh, who held the post himself in the early 1990s, had been favourite until Gandhi's withdrawal catapulted him to the top job.

Media reports said Singh might keep charge of the Finance Ministry until presentation of the annual budget, due by July.

Other contenders for the portfolio are Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram, who have both done the job in the past and are respected in the market.

Other key posts include the Home and the External Affairs ministry.

Mukherjee has been offered the Home ministry by Congress and Natwar Singh, a one-time ambassador to Pakistan, is likely to get External Affairs.

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