(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
P. Chidambaram’s budget announcements might not have pleased everyone, but the finance minister has done reasonable work in the recent months to improve market sentiment and shed the ruling coalition’s “business as usual” image.
On Monday, he became the first cabinet minister in India to appear on Google Hangout, taking questions from young students, analysts and industry experts on topics from the budget, rising prices and the economy in general.
Chidambaram, seen by some as the Congress party’s next candidate for prime minister, has taken the right step towards shedding the reticent, sometimes secretive image of the party’s top brass. Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul have long been criticised for their media shy, quiet image.
Chidambaram as finance minister must address businesses and the media regularly. But with 65 percent of India’s population less than 35 years old, connecting with masses using platforms like social media is key in today’s age, and a good step for someone who already has a good record of communication.