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P. Chidambaram

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Title: P. Chidambaram  
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Subject: Manmohan Singh, Sushilkumar Shinde, I. K. Gujral, Minister of Finance (India), C. D. Deshmukh
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P. Chidambaram

Palaniappan Chidambaram
Minister of Finance
In office
31 July 2012 – 17 May 2014
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Manmohan Singh
Succeeded by Arun Jaitley
In office
22 May 2004 – 30 November 2008
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Jaswant Singh
Succeeded by Manmohan Singh
In office
1 June 1996 – 21 April 1997
Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda
Preceded by Jaswant Singh
Succeeded by I. K. Gujral
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
1 May 1997 – 19 March 1998
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by I. K. Gujral
Succeeded by Yashwant Sinha
Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
In office
30 November 2009 – 31 July 2012
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Shivraj Patil
Succeeded by Sushilkumar Shinde
In office
26 December 1985 – 2 December 1989
Preceded by Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo
Succeeded by Margaret Alva
Personal details
Born (1945-09-16) 16 September 1945
Kandanur, Madras Presidency, British India
Political party Indian National Congress (Before 1996; 2004–present)
Other political
Tamil Maanila Congress (1996–2001)
Congress Jananayaka Peravai (2001–2004)
Spouse(s) Nalini Chidambaram
Children Karti
Alma mater University of Madras
Harvard University
Profession Lawyer
Religion Hinduism

Palaniappan Chidambaram (born 16 September 1945) is an Indian politician affiliated with the Indian National Congress and a former Union Minister of Finance of India. Chidambaram is a corporate lawyer and an important member of the last Congress-led government. He has been the Finance Minister since May 2004, except for a three and a half year stint - beginning November 2008 - as Home Minister, in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Chidambaram returned as Finance Minister in July 2012, succeeding Pranab Mukherjee, who demitted office to become the President of India.[1][2]

In the budget for 1996–97, Chidambaram brought discipline in government spending and launched an ambitious tax reform program to tackle an unwieldy fiscal deficit. In 2008, his move to waive farmer debt played a role in boosting aggregate demand in the Indian economy, thereby effectively insulating India from the impact of a recession.[3]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Political career 2
  • Family and personal life 3
  • Allegations 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Chidambaram was born to Kandanur L. Ct. L. Palaniappa Chettiar and Lakshmi Achi in Kanadukathan in the Sivaganga District, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. His maternal grandfather was Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, a wealthy merchant and banker from Chettinad.[4] Chidambaram did his schooling at the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School and received a pre-university degree from Loyola College, Chennai. After graduating with a BSc degree in statistics from the Presidency College, Chennai, he completed his Bachelor of Laws from the Madras Law College (now Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College) and his MBA from Harvard Business School in the class of 1968. He also holds a Master's degree from Loyola College in Chennai.[5] During this time his politics inclined to the left and in 1969 he joined N. Ram, later editor of The Hindu, and the women's activist Mythili Sivaraman in starting a journal called the Radical Review.[6]

Chidambaram has two brothers and one sister.[7] His father's business interests covered textiles, trading and plantations in India. He chose to concentrate on his legal practice and stayed away from the family business.

He enrolled as a lawyer in the Madras High Court, becoming a senior advocate in 1984. He had offices in Delhi and Chennai and practised in the Supreme Court and in various high courts of India.

Political career

Chidambaram was elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) of the Indian Parliament from the Sivaganga constituency of Tamil Nadu in general elections held in 1984. He was re-elected from the same constituency in the general elections of 2004 and 2009. He was a union leader for MRF and worked his way up in the Congress party. He was the Tamil Nadu Youth Congress president and then the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee unit.

He was inducted into the Union (Indian federal) Council of Ministers in the government headed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 21 September 1985 as a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Commerce and then in the Ministry of Personnel. His main actions during his tenure in this period was to control the price of tea and he has been criticised by the Government of Sri Lanka for destroying the Sri Lankan tea trade by fixing the prices of the commodity in India using state power. He was elevated to the rank of Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in January 1986. In October of the same year, he was appointed to the Ministry of Home Affairs as Minister of State for Internal Security. He continued to hold both offices until general elections were called in 1989. The Indian National Congress government was defeated in the general elections of 1989.

In June 1991, Chidambaram was inducted as a Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce, a post he held till July 1992. He was later re-appointed Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce in February 1995 and held the post until April 1996. He made some radical changes in India's export-import (EXIM) policy, while at the Ministry of Commerce.

In 1996, Chidambaram quit the Congress party and joined a breakaway faction of the Tamil Nadu state unit of the Congress party called the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC). In the general elections held in 1996, TMC along with a few national and regional level opposition parties, formed a coalition government. The coalition government came as a big break for Chidambaram, who was given the key cabinet portfolio of Finance. His 1997 budget is still remembered as the dream budget for the Indian Economy. The coalition government was a short-lived one (it fell in 1998), but he was reappointed to the same portfolio in the Government formed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2004.

In 1998, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took the reins of the Government for the first time and it was not until May 2004 that Chidambaram would be back in Government. Chidambaram became Minister of Finance again in the Congress party - Communist Party United Progressive Alliance government on 24 May 2004. During the intervening period Chidambaram made some experiments in his political career, leaving the TMC in 2001 and forming his own party, the Congress Jananayaka Peravai, largely focused on the regional politics of Tamil Nadu. The party failed to take off into mainstream Tamil Nadu or national politics. Just before the elections of 2004, he merged his party with the mainstream Congress party and when the Congress won the election, he was inducted into the Council of Ministers under the new Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as cabinet Minister of Finance.[8]

On 30 November 2008, he was appointed the Union Home Minister following the resignation of Shivraj Patil who had come under intense pressure to tender his resignation following a series of terror attacks in India, including the Mumbai attacks on 26 November 2008. The public response to this move was generally favourable given Chidambaram's reputation for competence and efficiency. He gained widespread acknowledgement for his reformist moves in the Ministry of Home Affairs. He is credited with single-handedly containing the violence in the north east region of India and oversaw the biggest armed surrender by rebel groups..

He has been credited with taking the bold decision of prioritising elections above corporate demands to deploy security for T20-20 matches of IPL.[9]

In 2009, Chidambaram was re-elected from the Sivaganga Lok Sabha constituency in the Congress and retained the Home ministry.[10] He was one of the representatives of the Central Government when a tri-party agreement was signed with the Gorkha Hill Council and the Government of West Bengal, an agreement which was a result of Mamata Banerjee's effort to end a decade long unrest in the hills of Darjeeling.[11]

The Indian National Congress appointed P. Chidambaram as one of 13 Senior Spokespersons on 15 September 2014.[12]

Family and personal life

Chidambaram comes from an extremely rich merchant family which was involved in many charitable activities. His mother, Lakshmi Achi, was the daughter of Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, a wealthy banker and merchant, who owned an estate of 90 villages in Tamil Nadu and was granted the title of Raja by the British Raj. Annamalai Chettiar was the founder of Annamalai University and United India Insurance Company Limited. His brother Ramaswami Chettiar was the founder of Indian Bank and the co-founder of another major banks.[13][14][15][16][17]

He is married to Nalini Chidambaram, daughter of Justice (Retd.) P.S. Kailasam, Supreme Court, and Mrs. Soundra Kailasam, a renowned Tamil Poet and author, who is a Senior Advocate, practising in the Madras High Court and in the Supreme Court. He has a son, Karti P. Chidambaram, who graduated with a BBA degree from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Masters in Law from University of Cambridge, UK. Karti, a Congress Party's AICC member, is active in Tamil Nadu state politics. Karti is married to Dr. Srinidi Rangarajan, a well-known Bharathanatiyam dancer and medical doctor, working with the Apollo Group of Hospitals in Chennai. Karti and Srinidhi have a daughter, Aditi Nalini Chidambaram.


Chidambaram was criticised for his ministry's failure to prevent the 13 July 2011 Mumbai bombings, despite massive investments in security following the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Three years after the 2008 attacks, security preparations were proven to be inadequate with channel breakdown and failures in modernising, procuring, and installing security equipment.[18] Chidambaram defended the agencies under his ministry against the charge of intelligence failure with the response:

On 7 April 2009, India's home minister P. Chidambaram was assaulted by Sikh journalist Jarnail Singh during a press conference in Delhi on the issue of a "clean chit" to Jagdish Tytler. Singh, who writes for the Hindi daily newspaper Dainik Jagaran was dissatisfied with Chidamabaram's answer to a question on the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) "clean chit" regarding Jagdish Tytler's involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. It was the first shoe throwing incident in India.[21][22]

The biggest criticism against Chidambaram concerns his failure to prevent the 2G spectrum scam, though both the trial court and Supreme Court found the allegation of Chidambaram's personal involvement to have no prima facie basis. The shortfall in the money collected with respect to the amount the law mandated to be collected is estimated at more than Rs 1766.45 billion. It is the largest corruption scam in the history of independent India, and Chidambaram was the Finance Minister during the period involved. It was regarded as the biggest reason for the poor showing of the Indian National Congress in the 2014 general elections, taking just 44 seats.


  1. ^ "Home minister Shivraj Patil quits, Chidambaram to take over". The Times of India. 30 November 2008. 
  2. ^ "Chidambaram new finance minister, Shinde gets home". Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Neogy, Abhijit. "Parliament Committee". Network 18. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Chidambaram, Wife Own Assets Worth Over Rs 20 Crore. (23 April 2009). Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  5. ^ Meg Bert̩ (MBA '00) РDecember 2005 РAlumni Bulletin РHarvard Business School. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  6. ^ Kohli, Namita (11 October 2013). "With fire in her belly". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "CJP merges with Congress". The Hindu. 26 November 2004. 
  9. ^ A victory for the terrorist?. The Hindu. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Chidambaram declared winner after 21 rounds of counting". The Hindu. 17 May 2009. 
  11. ^ "Historic pact paves way for peace in Darjeeling hills". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  12. ^ "13 spokespersons chosen by Congress". Zee Media Bureau. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  13. ^ M.Ct.M Group Education and Business Activities. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  14. ^ Tamil Nadu / Sivaganga News : IOB founder’s birth centenary celebrated. The Hindu (4 August 2008). Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  15. ^ Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  16. ^ Welcome to Annamalai University. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  17. ^ Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar | Nagarathar Sangam of North America. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  18. ^ Bahree, Megha (16 July 2011). "Mumbai Response Points to Security Gaps". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  19. ^ "Mumbai blasts: Chidambaram denies intelligence failure". India Today. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  20. ^ "13/7 Mumbai blasts: Chidambaram rejects charges of intelligence failure". Yahoo! News. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  21. ^ The Times of India
  22. ^ "Journalist hurls shoes at". Indian Express. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 

External links

Lok Sabha
Preceded by
R. V. Swaminathan
Member of Parliament
for Sivaganga

Succeeded by
E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan
Preceded by
E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan
Member of Parliament
for Sivaganga

Succeeded by
P.R. Senthilnathan
Political offices
Preceded by
Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo
Minister of State for Personnel,
Public Grievances and Pensions

Succeeded by
Margaret Alva
Preceded by
Jaswant Singh
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Inder Kumar Gujral
Preceded by
Inder Kumar Gujral
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Yashwant Sinha
Preceded by
Jaswant Singh
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Manmohan Singh
Preceded by
Shivraj Patil
Minister of Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Sushilkumar Shinde
Preceded by
Manmohan Singh
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Arun Jaitley
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