The composition of proposed economic advisory panel and the appointment of State Development Policy Council (SDPC) have raised many eyebrows questioning their expertise, background and political affiliations. It is an attempt to equate with the Centre’s economic think tank Niti Ayog and is trying to prove state’s dominance over the Central government in matters pertains to the state.
The decisions to import Covid vaccines, questioning Centre’s legislations and others are nothing but the revival of the buried demand for state autonomy which had been put in cold storage by DMK founder Annadurai.
On 6th June , CM MK Stalin announced the appointment J Jeyaranjan as the vice chairman of the SDPC, prof. R Sreenivasan as full time member besides 8 part time members. Tamil Nadu State Development Council was constituted by M Karunanidhi in 1971 to function as an advisory council, making recommendations with respect to developmental plans for the state.
In 2020, the State Planning Commission was reconstituted to become the SDPC. The Council’s full-time member Rama Srinivasan is a professor and head of Madras University’s Econometrics department, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He is also the University’s Dean of Research Department. He was a member of the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission between 2006 and 2011.
Professor M Vijayabaskar from the Madras Institute of Development Studies has served as consultant with the International Labour Organization, United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). Padma Shri and Kalaimamani awards recipient professor Narthaki Nataraj is a Thanjavur style classical dancer and Bharatanatyam exponent. With her entry, Narthaki becomes the first trans- woman on the council.
Professor Sultan Ahmed Ismail is a soil biologist and ecologist who was the former Director and Advisor of the Eco Science Research Foundation. Retd IAS officer Deenabandu is known for contribution during his service are housing for Eelam refugees, expansion of Chennai Corporation limits, underground sewage for all municipalities, to name a few.
Mallika Srinivasan, also a Padma Shri recipient, is the Chairman and Managing Director of Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE Limited). Dr Jo Amalorpavanathan, an eminent vascular surgeon who served and retired from government services was the Convener of the Tamil Nadu State Cadaver Transplantation Program for about eight years.
Siddha practitioner K Sivaraman has over 28 years of experience in the field and is notable for his role in increasing the awareness of the health benefits millet gains. Padma Shri and Kalaimamani awards recipient professor Narthaki Nataraj is a Thanjavur style classical dancer and Bharatanatyam exponent. With her entry, Narthaki becomes the first Trans woman on the council.
It is a reward for Jeyaranjan , who is known for his anti-Modi , anti-BJP rhetorics in TV in debates, is among the prominent voices in the Dravidian school of ideologies in developmental economics. He is a strong supporter of welfare schemes brought by the DMK government over the years. Jeyaranjan , who has doctorate from the Madras Institute of Development Studies, was a senior researcher in Institute of Development Alternatives. He has authored several papers.
He in a video admitted ( in April 29) that he never worked in any consultative firm where they would make projections. I was in research and do not have any experience in that. Of late there were political compulsions, where I have to speak. I did not tell them when they invited to talk in the met that “I am misfit. I never worked in macroeconomics and never made any projections. I worked only in combining qualitative and quantitative data for the past 35 years. I can only speak about the past backed by data.
Political commentator Bala Gauthaman said nothing wrong in Jayaranjan becoming vice chairman of SDPC as the CM Stalin can’t talk without referring to a bit of paper ( forget his misspelling words, gaffes etc). He can’t appoint a well-qualified man for the post. Jeyarajan openly say he can’t make projections for the future growth of the state. How will he recommend ideas for the future? ”. His quality research paper is the proof of his caliber and expertise. It is nothing mutual admirers club. A thief likes to have the same type man for this gang.
The government has appointed advocate Hasan Mohamed Jinnah as the State Public Prosecutor. And most of the advocates appointed to represent state in various courts are Christians. CM’s cell is packed with Christians and crypto Christians. During his father Karunanidhi’s regime, he helped minorities to grow with concessions and other benefits. But now Stalin is a dummy piece. Naxals , Islamic extremists are going to run the government and Stalin at the front.
DMK is going to be a rubber stamp government for them. It will pose a grave danger for the nation. These appoints are clear indicator that it is going to be a anti-national, anti social elements’ rule with the stamp of DMK ”.
Sources in Madras University confided to your correspondent that the full time member of SDPC Ram Srinivasan’s background ,experience and credentials are questionable. They said “ He was a member of AIADMK affiliated Professors Forum of Madras University and was nominated as a Registrar in 2017 as an AIADMK nominee. In 2021 he was elected to the University syndicate as a member of PFMU. AIADMK Minister and others campaigned for him. Education Dept and the Minister gave directions to all senate members to vote for PFMU candidates”.
Questioning his promotion as professors, the sources said, it is illegal. Elaborating further, they said, during his tenure as Registrar, who is the order issuing authority, he attended the interview for promotion from Associate Professor to professor. Using the AIADMK govt and party’s influence he was elevated and received the promotion order issued by himself as the Registrar.
The panel of experts were finalized by him for his own interview”. Srinivasan, according to them, never guided any student for Ph.D during his service in the university but was promoted as Professor though Ph.D guidance is mandatory for promotion, as per UGC norms. During his tenure, the university landed in deep financial crisis and being an economist!
He has not taken steps to rescue the university from the financial mess. As Registrar he always biased against MUTA and ensured no DMK supporters get role in any committee of the University. He has not released the pension and post-retirement benefits of retired staff of the university while he was willing to obey illegal order of PFMU” .
They said Srinivasan who was appointed as Lecturer in Economic dept. and became reader (Econometric dept) in 2009. There was an audit objection as he did not have requisite qualifications and experience and there was salary cut ( Rs 12 to 15 lakhs) . A case is pending in this regard in court. What is surprising how he got the full time member of SDPC in the DMK government in spite of his open AIADMK affiliation? Whether he is going to be loyal to the previous rulers, or the DMK or the people of the state? He is going to draw tax payers money as remuneration”, the sources explained. It is the case of other members of council also barring a few.
In the meanwhile, in the assembly it was announced that it would constitute an “Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to the chief minister” with leading economic experts from all over the world as its members. Reading his address Governor Banwarilal Purohit said the EAC would consist of Nobel laureate Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( wife of Abhijit Bannerji), USA, former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan, former chief economic advisor to the central government Dr Arvind Subramanian, development economist Jean Dreze and former Union finance secretary Dr S Narayan.
SDPC vice Chairman Jeyaranjan was furious on hearing the announcement as his role was downplayed. In this connection his views on the members of the advisory council will be worth reading. “ Don’t think that Raghuram rajan is a revolutionary man. It may be Raghuram Rajan, Bannerji, Aravind Subramanian and others, there is a short cut route.
We are all studied economics in undergraduate, Post graduate and did Ph.D which took 10 to 12 years. Another route, is study B.Tech in NIT or IIT , and get MBA and do a crash course in America with a duration of six or twelve months. After that he is the world renowned economist. He is the advisor for Government of India, RBI governor (he uses abusive word to demean them) Raghuram Rajan, Aravind Subrmaniam,who are from TN, are known for this” said in a video in Tamil that was viral in social media.
Sr. Journalist Nambi Narayanan questioned what was the need for an EAC for CM, after appointing SDPC with experts (!) like Jeyaranjan, Srinivasan, Mallika Srinivasan, Narthaki Natarajan, Siddha practitioner G Sivaraman and all? It is unheard of and no CM in the country has ever appointed an EAC ? Such privilege was not for Finance Minister and for the SDPC. Prime Minister Modi was the first to have such council instead of the economic advisors which was in vogue.
All the member’s in the SDPC are almost left ideologists. They will say no to globalization and will always support NGO who will oppose all developmental activities. The CM’s EAC members are for liberalization of economy and against subsidies, tolls, freebies. In which path the government will go? It is a big question stands before us. “.
Secretariat sources said, “so far budget preparation work has not started. They SDPC is unhappy over the new appointment of EAC. Both are having quite opposite thinking. Stalin, who is a political novice and lacks nitty- gritty of governance, wants to implement their recommendations. It is a drain on exchequer. He tries to equate with PM that he too have Niti Ayog like outfit in his state. The use of Ondriya Arasu ( Union government), opposing central legislations, demand for withdrawal of NEET, CAA, NEW, farm laws ,writing letters to 9 CMs to oppose Minor port bill are clear indication that he want divert attention from his failures and renew autonomy for the state. He opted out of joining the meet organized by Pawar and refused to toe the line of Mamta, Aravind Khejeriwal in antagonizing the Modi government. He wants to have his own way”. The state has an overall deficit of over Rs. Six lakh crores. No industrialist wants to invest. It is to hoodwink them, Stalin appointed the SDPC and EAC”.
Journalist SriRam said, people like Raghuram rajan, Aravind Subrmaniam,Ester Duflo, Jean Dreze are not well versed with ground reality of the State, its peculiar nature. How would they study and offer solutions? They are highly paid professionals for their job. It is a total waste. Had the CM or the FM had necessary experience, expertise and knowledge, this would not be needed. It is only to cover up is weakness in governing, he went for this option” During successive Dravidian governments at the helm, the state had witnessed rampant corruption in all sectors and none could make it workable unless these are get ridden off fully.
Political commentator Sriram Seshadri said, by opting foreign advisors help shows that the Dravidian education could not produce anyone worth to their stature? It is a shame. The Dravidian stock with anti-Brahmin and anti-north thoughts, have now appointed Raghuram Rajan,Aravind Subramanian and Narain. Earlier DMK used the services of Bihari Brahmin Prasanth Kishore. It is a pity that they could not have a person who is thorough with TN scenario. In the panel, the members have diverse opinion and views. How they will synchronize their thoughts cohesively. Industrialists had bitter experience with the DMK while in power and in opposition. They are not ready to invest further. We should keep in mind the words of Jeyaranjan who says none of the member SDPC knew anything about the economics. There is a lot of contradictory stand among the members of both SDPC and EAC”.
Ramesh Sethuraman, industrial consultant, said to cover up the poor financial position, they are doing all gimmicks. When Raghu Ram Rajan and Aravind Subramanian were advisors, the country witnessed economic crisis. SS Sriram, Economic advisor said” of the Five members, three are Brahmins. Is it a social justice? Are they accepting the fact that Dravidians have not risen to that level?”
The government has no faith in its Finance Minister. He is yet to begin the budget preparation. In all likelihood, the recommendations of the panel would be copied in ditto in the budget as proposals” .
Finance Minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan said a study would be made into the appointment of non-Tamils in various government posts during the previous regime forgetting his CM appointed a Economic panel bypassing him with non -Tamil experts.
Bharat’s first Finance Minister R K Shanmugam Chetty was from Tamil Nadu. It had produced best financial brains like T.T.Krishnamachary, C Subramaniam, R Venkataraman, Nirmala Seetharaman and others including our corruption fame P Chidambaram.