‘Do freebies/subsidies help or hinder growth?’: TN Finance Minister PTR explains in an exclusive session with ACJ students on October 27, 2021

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Dr. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan (PTR) discussed everything from the role of government in a civilised society to the differences between freebies and subsidies, in an exclusive session with the students of the Asian College of Journalism on October 27.

Every society in the world provides something free of payment, be it drinking water, education or basic healthcare, to its citizens, PTR pointed out. He explained how nations around the world — developed and emerging — also use subsidies to protect the weakest sections of society.

There is very little correlation between a country’s gross domestic product and poverty, PTR said, highlighting how many people in developed countries also rely on food stamps provided by their governments to get by.

The investment banker-turned-politician compared Tamil Nadu with Gujarat and pointed out how the southern state, known for its freebies, is fundamentally more developed despite having a lower per capita income.

He also talked about the need to plug leakages in the beneficiary schemes and to prevent the system from being gamed.