Montek on the mount

Montek on the mount
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First Published: Wed, Jun 24 2009. 11 54 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jun 24 2009. 11 54 PM IST
The Prime Minister and the finance minister seem to have gone quiet in the days before the first budget of the new Manmohan Singh regime. And Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia seems to have been asked to step into the silent void.
There has been a flurry of statements from him in the past week. Ahluwalia has, at various times, spoken on how the delay in the monsoon will not affect the economy much; how the fiscal deficit will not move into double digits; how the fiscal deficit will not push up interest rates; how fuel prices should be linked to global prices; how the fall in wholesale prices is not a matter of concern; and how the finance minister will present a popular budget.
All this leaves us puzzled. Why is the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission speaking on issues that are beyond his brief? Has the Prime Minister asked him to do so? Why do most of these statements look like attempts to assuage fears rather than inspire confidence? Ahluwalia is a good man and a fine economist, but yet...
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First Published: Wed, Jun 24 2009. 11 54 PM IST