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Building Institutions for Egalitarian Development: The Dravidian Development Model of Tamil Nadu, India

by Honorable Minister of Finance, Tamil Nadu, Dr Palanivel Thiagarajan

Date: 11 February 2023 (Saturday)
Time: 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Venue: Auditorium, Asia-Europe Institute, Universiti Malaya
Moderator: Distinguished Professor Dato’ Dr. Rajah Rasiah, Executive Director of Asia-Europe Institute, Universiti Malaya


The Dravidian model of economic development which was formalised recently has its roots in the thoughts of the founding fathers of the Dravidian movement offers a compelling case for a development strategy powered by populist mobilization around the Dravidian cultural identity. The tenets of the model include equal rights, equal opportunities, social equality, and mobility with a focus on enabling the creation of effective institutions. In contrast to the emphasis on just income growth, and the reduction of poverty mirrored by the Washington consensus approach, as well as others who also focus on reducing income inequality, this model flags caste and gender, which is socially targeted at linking growth with socially inclusive policies. By enabling the vulnerable members of society to provide them equal access to opportunities in the modern economy, Tamil Nadu has established a dynamic growth process. The two budgets of Dr Palanivel Thiagarajan reinforce the salient pillars of the Dravidian model. Dr Palanivel Thiagarajan’s development initiative is a rare occasion where a serving finance minister is addressing increasing debt from borrowings to pay for interest payments, growing revenue, and fiscal deficits without compromising the welfare of the people. Unlike the crisis-prone financial models adopted by countries following the Washington Consensus approach, this approach calls for balancing financial discipline with social justice and cultural identity. Also, the inclusive model’s emphasis on social harmony has attracted increasing focus on health and education through affirmative action policies.

Short Biography


Palanivel Thiagarajan Honorary Minister Dr Palanivel Thiagarajan is a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly from the Madurai Central constituency and a cabinet minister in the Tamil Nadu state government of India heading the finance and human resource development portfolio. He obtained his masters in operations research and his PhD in Applied Computers from the State University of New York, and a MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


Distinguished Professor Dato’ Dr. Rajah RasiahDistinguished Professor Dato’ Dr. Rajah Rasiah obtained his doctorate in economics from Cambridge University in 1992, and served as a fellow at Harvard University in 2014. He is currently the Executive Director of Asia-Europe Institute at the Universiti Malaya. He also holds professorial fellow positions at the Centre for Rising Powers in Cambridge University, UNU-MERIT, and Technology Management and Development Centre in Oxford University. Among his prestigious awards include the Cambridge Journal of Economics Award by the Cambridge Political Economy Trust in 1992, the Robert McNamara Award by the World Bank in 1993, the Celso Furtado Prize for advancing the frontiers of Social Science thought (Economics) from the World Academy of Sciences in 2014, and the Merdeka Prize under the category of scholastic achievement in 2018 from the Merdeka Prize Committee. He was awarded the Distinguished Professor of Economics Position by the Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia in 2017.



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Last Update: 08/02/2023