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Finance ministers who shaped India's economy

February 18, 2008

The Indian economy has been shaped by 22 finance ministers till date.

While Palaniappan Chidambaram holds the distinction of presenting the maximum number of Budgets -- six in all (two under the United Front government and four under the United Progressive Alliance regime), both, Manmohan Singh and Yashwant Sinha have presented five Budgets each.

Know more about the men who played a key role in reforming the economy of independent India.

R K Shanmukham Chetty

R K Shanmukham Chetty was the first finance minister of Independent India. On November 26, 1947, Chetty presented India's first budget after Independence. Liaquat Ali Khan -- who became the first prime minister of Pakistan -- had presented the budget in 1946-47 of the interim government before the final creation of India and Pakistan as two separate nations.

Chetty was an economist, an experienced administrator and an ace orator. However, his term as finance minister did not last long. In 1949, Chetty resigned due to differences with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He was succeeded by John Mathai.

John Mathai

John Mathai was India's first railway minister and later became the finance minister. He took office shortly after the presentation of India's first Budget, in 1948. He presented two Budgets, but resigned following the 1950 Budget in protest against the idea of setting up the Planning Commission. Mathai graduated in economics from Madras Christian College. He was followed by C Deshmukh as India's finance minister.

Image: The Indian Parliament. Insets: R K Shanmukham Chetty (left) and John Mathai (left).

Also read: Chidambaram is a self-confessed...?

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