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PM keeps Finance portfolio with himself

New Delhi: As Pranab Mukherjee resigned to contest the Presidential poll, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today took charge of the Finance Ministry portfolio at a time when the country`s economy is going through a bad phase. Singh, a renowned economist, will be assisted by two Ministers of State — S S Palanimanickam and Namo Narain Meena.

A former RBI Governor, Singh was credited with bringing about economic reforms in the country when he was the Finance Minister in the Narasimha Rao government in 1991. Singh is taking charge of the ministry at a time when the country`s growth rate has slowed down, slipping to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent and current account deficit (CAD) touching a high of 4 per cent.

Besides, Rupee has reached a historic low of 57.97 against a dollar, providing another direct challenge for the Prime Minister. Singh already holds portfolios of Atomic Energy, Space, Planning, and Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. In another decision, Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was today given the additional charge of Small, Micro and Medium Industries after Virbhadra Singh resigned in the wake of corruption charges against him.

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