FM gets new Budget team on board

New Delhi, Oct 30 | Updated: Oct 31 2006, 06:10am hrs
Finance minister P Chidambaram has a new Budget team in place, with Sanjiv Misra taking charge as the governments new expenditure secretary. A 1972-batch IAS officer from the Gujarat cadre, Misra is also the disinvestment secretary. The disinvestment department is a part of the finance ministry.

Misra will formally take charge from incumbent Adarsh Kishore on Tuesday. Kishore, who was finance secretary holding the charge of expenditure, heads to Washington DC to represent India at the International Monetary Fund as an executive director.

Economic affairs secretary Ashok Kumar Jha, the senior-most among the secretaries in North Block, has been made finance secretary and will hold Budget meetings.

Misra, revenue secretary KM Chandrasekhar, financial sector secretary Vinod Rai and chief economic adviser Ashok Lahiri are the other key members of the core team.

The Budget for 2007-08 is crucial since it will be the first year of the 11th Five-Year Plan. The Budget exercise is slated to begin in December. A tussle is already on between the finance ministry and the Planning Commission on the size of gross budgetary support for Plan in 2007-08.

Misra has a tough balancing act to do in meeting the legitimate demands of ministries, given the huge social commitments made by the UPA government and keeping the fisc under control.