Reform advocate is India's new finance minister

Associated Press Published: July 31, 2012
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NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reshuffled his Cabinet, installing a pro-reform finance minister to replace Pranab Mukherjee, who recently became the country's president.

New Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram was shifted Tuesday from the Home Ministry. He faces the formidable task of tackling declining economic growth and the failure to achieve proposed reforms in retail and insurance.

The country's growth sank to 5.3 percent, a nine-year low, in the quarter ending in March.

Chidambaram also served as finance minister from 2004 to 2008 before becoming home minister. Although an advocate of reform, it is unclear how much he can accomplish given the fractious nature of India's coalition politics.

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who has been grappling with the country's recent massive power outages, will be the new home minister.