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A graduate from MIT, former banker, Tamil Nadu’s finance minister needs Centre to provide state its due

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A graduate from MIT, former banker, Tamil Nadu’s finance minister wants Centre to give state its due

A POLITICAL scion with engineering and administration levels from high institutes at house and within the US. A high banker who lived and married overseas, and returned to turn into a well-liked MLA. An ardent devotee of Goddess Meenakshi in a celebration that swears by atheism.
Palanivel Thiagarajan, or PTR, as he’s higher recognized, is a examine in contrasts. However, for as soon as in his lengthy and eventful profession, the 55-year-old’s life has taken an anticipated flip. New Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Ok Stalin has picked this extremely certified MLA — with an engineering diploma from NIT Trichy, greater research within the State University of New York, and an MBA in Finance from the Sloan School of Management at MIT — to be his Finance Minister.
It’s a becoming development for PTR, whose grandfather P T Rajan was the chief minister of Madras Presidency within the Nineteen Thirties, and whose father P T R Palanivel Rajan served as a DMK minister. He takes over as Finance Minister after profitable for the second time from Madurai Central, by 34,176 votes.
In these previous 5 years, PTR earned his stripes as a pacesetter. Always accessible for his constituents, he would put out a report card of his work each six months. “If he is given time to deliver, he will deliver. Stalin knows that,” says a senior DMK chief additionally sworn in as minister.
Having left India in 1987 for the US, PTR returned solely 20 years later, ending his research, becoming a member of work there, and marrying an American classmate. Four years later, in 2011, PTR moved to Singapore for a high-profile banker’s job. When he returned in 2015, he stated it was for good. A 12 months later, he received the Assembly elections from Madurai Central.
Now settled in Chennai along with his spouse Margaret Rajan, school-going sons Palani Thiaga Rajan and Vel Thiaga Rajan, and 5 canine, PTR instructed The Indian Express after the swearing-in that they have been his life. However, he stated, he all the time needed to work for the individuals.
One of the highest points on his agenda can be settling Tamil Nadu’s GST dues with the Centre. PTR, who has been severely crucial of the Modi authorities’s monetary insurance policies, stated, “Just like a man is as good as his word, a government must keep its commitments and obligations. It (the GST dues) is a black and white, legal commitment of the Indian government to the states. There is nothing to be discussed.”
PTR additionally alleged the undermining of states beneath the Modi authorities. “Tamil Nadu is a well-to-do state. You cannot sit in Delhi and make decisions for people… Devolution is the basis of governance, not just from the Centre to the state but from the state to local bodies as well. In fact, one of the things we admire most about Kerala is the extent of devolution they have implemented.”
With Tamil Nadu differing over different Central insurance policies as effectively, PTR added, “It is clear that we cannot resolve problems in our country with a single solution due to the scale of its diversity and complexity. Why should Delhi tell us when we open our barber shops (during the lockdown)?… We have a structural problem, GST is only the financial aspect of it.”
A drain on Tamil Nadu’s assets is its freebie tradition, with events showering sops earlier than the elections. In the latest Assembly elections, the DMK promised rising maternity depart from six months to a 12 months, free passes for ladies in metropolis buses, and Rs 4,000 money help for all ration card holders (the latter two have been carried out Friday). PTR argued, “I don’t start with the assumption that all freebies are bad. I would even consider doubling up or delivering certain freebies on a daily basis… Should I not give free food to schoolchildren? Should I not give laptops to students?”
He himself made three guarantees to his voters, PTR stated — “an integrated drinking water scheme, ensuring supply to every individual; an integrated sewage system; and the renovation of Madurai Meenakshi temple”.
The connection to the Meenakshi temple goes deep. In 1963, it was his grandfather who had executed the Kumbabhishekam (a part of the consecration ceremony, executed as soon as each 12 years) of the temple, and he hopes to do it on the renovated temple.
PTR sees no contradiction between his religion and the DMK’s atheist stand, saying the Kalaignar (the late M Karunanidhi) knew about his devotion to the Goddess. “After my father passed away in 2006, I took a vow to visit the temple every week or every month. Wherever I have been, I have kept that promise for the last 15 years, missing only once or twice, and this last year due to Covid-19 restrictions. I even asked for the Madurai Central constituency because of the temple. The Kalaignar knew that.”
In reality, PTR’s household additionally has an affiliation with the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, which has been caught up in a row, along with his grandfather who headed the Justice Party donating a deity of Lord Ayyappa to it after an enormous fireplace within the Nineteen Fifties. “After the fire, the Pandalam King (the temple caretaker) and the chief priest met an astrologer. He suggested they approach my grandfather,” PTR stated