P. Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram Biography For Students

Full Name: Palaniappan Chidambaram
Born: 16 September 1945; Kandanur, Tamil Nadu, India
Political Party: Indian National Congress
Family: Nalini Chidambaram (Wife); Karti Chidambaram (Son)
P. Chidambaram – Palaniappan Chidambaram (born 16 September 1945) is an Indian politician affiliated with the Indian National Congress and a former Union Minister of Finance of India. Chidambaram is a corporate lawyer and an important member of the last Congress-led government. He has been the Finance Minister since May 2004, except for a three and a half year stint – beginning November 2008 – as Home Minister, in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Chidambaram returned as Finance Minister in July 2012, succeeding Pranab Mukherjee, who demitted office to become the President of India.

In the budget for 1996–97, Chidambaram brought discipline in government spending and launched an ambitious tax reform program to tackle an unwieldy fiscal deficit. In 2008, his move to waive off farmer debt has played a role in boosting aggregate demand in the Indian economy, thereby effectively insulating India from the impact of recession. He is a known supporter of the Gandhi dynasty. In particular, he has supported Rahul Gandhi, because of whom, people allege, Congress suffered a humiliating defeat in the general elections of 2014.

Early Life & Education

Chidambaram was born to Kandanur L. Ct. L. Palaniappa Chettiar and Lakshmi Achi in Kanadukathan in the Sivaganga District, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. His maternal grandfather was Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, a wealthy merchant and banker from Chettinad. Chidambaram did his schooling at the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School and received a pre-university degree from Loyola College, Chennai. After graduating with a BSc degree in statistics from the Presidency College, Chennai, he completed his Bachelor of Laws from the Madras Law College (now Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College) and his MBA from Harvard Business School in the class of 1968. He also holds a Master’s degree from Loyola College in Chennai. During this time his politics inclined to the left and in 1969 he joined N. Ram, later editor of The Hindu, and the women’s activist Mythili Sivaraman in starting a journal called the Radical Review.

Chidambaram has two brothers and one sister. His father’s business interests covered textiles, trading and plantations in India. He chose to concentrate on his legal practice and stayed away from the family business.

He enrolled as a lawyer in the Madras High Court. He became a senior advocate in 1984. He had offices in Delhi and Chennai and practiced in the Supreme Court and in various high courts of India.

Books authored by P. Chidambaram:

  • Fearless in Opposition: Power and Accountability (Publisher: Rupa Publications India; ISBN 978-8129145291)
  • Standing Guard: A Year in Opposition (Publisher: Rupa Publications India; ISBN 978-8129139627)
  • A View from the Outside: Why Good Economics Works for Everyone (Publisher: Penguin India; ISBN 978-0670081165)


  • Chidambaram was criticized for his ministry’s failure to prevent the 12 July 2011 Mumbai bombings, despite massive investments in security following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner in 2011 that data entry operators at Sivaganga had transferred 3,400 votes polled by Kannappan from 11 polling stations in Chidambaram’s favour.
  • On 7 April 2009, Chidambaram was assaulted by Sikh journalist Jarnail Singh during a press conference in Delhi on the issue of a “clean chit” to Jagdish Tytler. It was the first shoe throwing incident in India.
  • Subramanian Swamy alleged that in 2006 a company controlled by Karti Chidambaram, the son of Minister of Finance P. Chidambaram, received a five-percent share of Aircel to get part of ₹40 billion paid by Maxis Communications for the 74-percent share of Aircel.

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