TVs, measures aimed at reining in the world's third-largest current account deficit that is approaching $90 billion.
Some proposals have smacked of desperation. One minister last week suggested curbing diesel consumption by the railways, a bigger economic lifeline than in most countries, and the armed forces to cut import costs, an idea that got no traction.
There were reports on a business daily on Saturday that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) wants Hindu temples to deposit their hoards of idle jewellery for conversion into bullion to meet demand for gold in the world's biggest consumer of the precious metal. The idea is that such a measure would reduce import demand for gold.
The last time Chidambaram was finance minister, in 2004-2008, growth was motoring at a near-double-digit clip: he used to call himself a "lucky finance minister" because of the neat timing. But fortune has hardly been on his side since returning to the job last year.
Aides say he has come under huge stress in recent weeks, but in public he has kept his cool, not surprising for the Harvard-educated lawyer who sharply told an interviewer earlier this year: "When did self-confidence become a vice?"
Financial markets have long had just as much faith in the smooth-talking politician as he has in himself. They remember his pro-business 'dream budget' of 1997 that brought taxes down, and when he returned to the finance ministry last year investors were thrilled, anticipating a new push for economic reform to end years of policy drift and an economic slowdown.
A short burst of reforms, including the opening up of retailing and aviation to foreign investors, followed. Chidambaram also succeeded in bringing down the fiscal deficit to 4.9 percent of GDP in fiscal 2012/13 from 5.8 percent, helping avert a sovereign credit rating downgrade.
However, the reform drive soon lost momentum, in part because of the main opposition party's recalcitrance in parliament.
But resistance within the Congress was as much to blame.
Two senior ministers leaned on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this year to reverse a decision allowing 100 percent foreign direct investment in domestic pharmaceutical companies, a finance ministry