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For India's new finance minister, there is no time to waste

Published on Sep 10, 2012 7:55 AM

NEW DELHI (REUTERS)- Mr P. Chidambaram has a simple message for investors disillusioned by India's policy drift: it is no longer 'business as usual' in the corridors of North Block, the sandstone colonial building that houses the finance ministry in New Delhi.

For months, critics have accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government of being asleep at the wheel. Frustrated investors accuse it of both over-confidence and complacency in the face of an economic slowdown that has shattered the country's reputation as 'Incredible India'.

In the 41 days since his appointment as finance minister - for a third time - Mr Chidambaram has shaken up the ministry and impressed analysts. He has sought to signal that Asia's third-largest economy finally has someone willing to take tough decisions.

Several officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said there had been considerable change in the finance ministry, where Mr Chidambaram was working to shake off the dithering seeping down from policy-makers. In a series of interviews, they described him as a no-nonsense man who is constantly questioning, hands-on, meticulous and intolerant of people who could not manage their time.

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