Managing an economy as big as ours is in all sense identical to being a concertmaster. Just like a master music conductor who fine-tunes the pitch, tempo, rhythm to create that “very perfect” harmony, Palaniappan Chidambaram, a master financial strategist, has been playing a key role in synchronising India’s aspirations with the realities of today’s market driven world.

Chidambaram was born in a business family on 16th September, 1945, in Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu. A scion of the influential MA Chidambaram group, he was a bright student from the start- after completing BA LLB from Madras University, he pursued MBA at Harvard Business School. But unlike many of his peers who chose to stay back in US, Chidambaram returned to his homeland and started his practice as a topnotch lawyer.

Along with Dr Manmohan Singh (then Finance Minister) and Montek Singh Alhuwalia, Chidambaram formed the ‘dream team” that resurrected economy after the dark days in early nineties.

India’s transition from a Soviet-style centralised economy into today’s liberalised; free market era has largely been credited to this troika of India’s finest brains.

His most notable contribution during this era was the new EXIM Policy that radically changed the dynamics of our import driven economy.

However, Chidambaram truly faced the arc lights when as a Tamil Manila Congress MP he was chosen to be the Finance Minister in the United Front government. His first Budget presented in July 1996 was largely considered a disappointment, mainly because his image as champion reformer from the “dream team” made people expect too much from him. But one notable policy change was the introduction of minimum alternative tax, which stands the same way till today.

As the Finance Minister in the UPA government Chidambaram has been consciously trying to move away from his well advertised image of being a darling of the business class.

His recent actions have been aimed at pleasing the “Aam Admi” ---the plank on which Congress rode to power even if it meant displeasing India Inc, albeit temporarily.

The appreciation of rupee against the dollar and the hike in interest rates were given a tactical nod so as to keep inflation down. After all for the Aam Admi, it’s the price of “onions” that matters the most.

The man, who delicately balances our finances, ensuring that we get to savour all that our booming economy has to offer; undoubtedly deserves credit for keeping India`s economy on the expressway to world dominance.
   urs lovingly,


Can you ever imagine a country without engineers, scientists, doctors and other professionals? That is exactly what is happening in India. Most of the talented students are running after dollar driven outsourcing work or call centerr work. Indian engineers from mechanical, Electrical, Electronics, Civil, Instrumentation, Chemical and Biomedical engineering leave their field after graduation and work for BPO companies like TCS, Wipro etc. If this is not brain drain then what is?

In the mean time India is facing acute shortage of talents in the fields of science, engineering and technology. On the other hand the US and UK engineers work on their own technical field and they shift the dirty but talent-needed IT work to countries like India.

Indian students had little reason to learn computer coding before there was a software industry to employ them. But such an industry could not take root without computer engineers to man it. The dream of a job in Silicon Valley, however, was enough to lure many of India’s bright young things into coding, and that was enough to hatch an indigenous software industry where none existed before.

In general, we would do well to remember that India’s experience is different from that of other poor countries. It makes as much sense to generalize from India’s experience to that of another third world country as it would to generalize from the American experience to that of Luxemburg. For better or worse, India is unique, and therefore should not be seen as a model for the rest of the world.

urs lovingly,


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Monica Belluci