From vaccine diplomacy to voice for State’s rights: PTR grabs nation’s attention

Palanivel Thiagarajan

Chennai: Tamilnadu’s Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan is making waves not just in the state, but also in the national and global arena, thanks to his connections and concern.

While the former is expected to bring vaccines to the State from the US, the latter has made him bat for Tamilnadu’s rights at the recent meet of GST Council.

Son of DMK veteran PTR Palanivel Rajan, Palanivel Thiagarajan occupied top positions at Lehman Brothers and Standard Chartered Bank before he entered active politics.

Recently, he reached out to US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson (Sr) to help ensure that at least 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the excess reserves in the US are shipped to India at the earliest.

In an appeal to Jackson on the direction of Chief Minister M K Stalin, Palanivel Thiagarajan held a Zoom call meeting and urged Jackson to request US President Joe Biden to expeditiously release an allotment of AstraZeneca vaccines for India (including a portion earmarked to Tamilnadu) from the 80 million vaccines that the US has offered to donate to foreign countries.

After the meeting, Jesse Jackson Sr., conveyed a personal message to the Chief Minister: “Help is on the way. We stand by you. Keep hope alive. We will do our best to ensure that the state of Tamilnadu gets its due share of covid vaccines soon.”

And, on Friday, PTR in his maiden speech at the 43rd GST Council meeting chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, gave a detailed account on the shortcomings in the Council and the financial policies of the Central government that have been affecting the Tamilnadu government.

He reiterated the demand of Tamilnadu government for levying zero-rating GST for essential Corona medicines at least for a temporary period since this would ensure the cost of the medicines without the suppliers having to absorb any reversal of input tax credit.

Rajan called upon the GST Council “to consider making arrangements for fully compensating the state for the gap arising in 2021-22 between the protected revenue and the actual expected revenue either by means of ‘bridge funding by the government or by open market debt arrangement”.

Palanivel Thiagarajan’s acts have fetched him huge fan following on social media, with many hailing him as the champion of State’s rights.

 

NT Bureau