New Delhi: With Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee demitting office to contest the Presidential election, there are indications that the key ministry would be handled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself.
Reports say the Prime Minister may run the Finance Ministry with the assistance of the two Ministers of State (MoS) Namo Narain Meena and SS Palanimanickam. A team of experts will also help the Prime Minister, reports add.
Highly placed sources in the government indicate that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is not keen on giving the finance portfolio to an “outsider”.
Kaushik Basu, the Prime Minister`s own economic adviser, wants Manmohan Singh to take charge of the Finance Ministry after Mukherjee demits office.
"Prime Minister is a very trained economist... He was there in the 1991 reforms ... (although) it is a political decision... Who comes and goes... But one thing is for sure that he is extremely capable," Basu had told a TV channel.
Singh, however, is keeping cards close to his chest on Pranab’s successor so far.
"I have been churning it in my mind. Quite honestly I have a number of issues which I have to resolve. It will not be proper for me to announce while I am outside the country. When the decision is taken, you will get to know about it," he had told journalist.
The possibility of Singh holding additional charge of Finance arises more particularly in view of the difficult situation country’s economy is passing through.
Singh had earlier kept the charge of Finance Ministry for a short span during the UPA-I when P Chidambaram was moved to Home in the wake of Mumbai terror strikes in November 2008.