ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Defining Priorities

ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY Defining Priorities The task of constituting a cabinet, in any circumstances, would be a walk on eggshells. But it is an especially delicate exercise in the present circumstances, pulled as the Congress prime minister is in contrary directions. It would be unwise and unfair to offer comment or criticism. Such circumspection is, however, severely tested when presented with the contours of the newly constituted cabinet and some of the early pronouncements. The surprise appointment of P Chidambaram as finance minister and the release of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) are a clear enough indication of the continuation of the reforms and its deepening notwithstanding some grey areas. This was only to be expected. And the spreading of the benefits of reforms has been taken care of, apparently by an extension of the welfare role of the state. The problem is that the appearance of the new government gives little hope that the

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