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school and university days in India's capital, although he is a decade younger than the minister. Rajan went on to the University of Chicago and was later chief economist for the International Monetary Fund.
"We don't take a stand on individuals," Jaitley said. "I can only assure you that ... we will be a responsible government taking responsible decisions."
One of Jaitley's first tasks will be to deliver a revised budget that deals with the fiscal fallout of India's slowdown and addresses a deficit that Chidambaram capped by putting off spending.
The ringing endorsement, not only of voters for Modi's pro-growth agenda but also of investors who have piled into Indian stocks, bonds and the rupee, should buy Jaitley time to put the country's public finances in order.
"There is going to be some kind of fiscal slippage in the short term, but it would be positive for the medium term if Jaitley is appointed finance minister," said Himanshu Malik, a strategist at HSBC in Hong Kong.
Arvind Panagariya, an economics professor at New York's Columbia University, who is tipped to get an advisory role in the government, has said the 2014-15 fiscal deficit could be revised up to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product from the 4.1 percent envisaged by Chidambaram.
Backsliding on the deficit is a blinking orange light for sovereign ratings agencies, with Fitch saying that India's debt and deficits were higher than other countries that share its BBB, or investment grade, rating.
But reviving stalled investment and economic growth are the bigger priorities. "The most salient of these issues from a sovereign credit perspective is the need to re-boost the sustainable growth rate," Fitch commented. "This will require an re-acceleration of the investment cycle."