Can Chidambaram arrest the slide?
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Finance Minister P Chidambaram tabled the Economic Survey in Parliament and projected a 6.1-6.7 per cent growth rate for the country in 2013-14.
However, the real task for the Finance Minister will be to present the Budget tomorrow. The spate of corruption cases during the UPA rule has dented its image.
The Anna movement further brought the Manmohan Singh government to its knees.. The government is running out of time to tame the slide in its image among the aam aadmi.
With elections due next year, Chidambaram may announce a slew of measures to appease the common voter. But it will be at the cost of its reform agenda.
Chidambaram will have to do a balancing act in order to keep India Inc happy and pamper the voter. Chidambaram has presented many budgets before but this one assumes significance as it may be the last budget of the UPA II.
Though the government has come up with the 'gamechanger' direct cash transfer scheme to keep out the middlemen from the government schemes, the move may not yield political dividends. Experts are apprehensive that cash subsidy will follow the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act , where the real beneficiaries do not always get the benefits.
Desperate for a third successive term at the Centre, Chidambaram may end up playing Santa to appease the voters.