Thanks to Chidambaram, banking has gained a fillip in Sivaganga
After P Chidambaram overtook the finance ministry in July, his home constituency has seen developmental changes beyond banking
Lately the public relations (PR) managers of banks and financial institutions in Tamil Nadu have been on their toes and not without reason. P Chidambaram's return as the finance minister has had an echo in his constituency—Sivaganga. Over the weekend, not only was a branch of the Bank of Maharashtra opened at Rajagambeeram town in Sivaganga district, the new campus of the Rural Training Centre was also inaugurated by the Congress leader, along with the Chairmen of NABARD, Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank, joint sponsors of the initiative.
Sivaganga is back in financial news after a gap of about three years; wresting its distinction of the 'most favoured' hotspot of public sector banking from Murshidabad— the home district of Chidambaram's predecessor, Pranab Mukherjee.
The east to south focus will mean development beyond banking for the people of Sivaganga. Bank of Maharashtra chairman and managing director Rajendra Singh has promised to provide fans in all government schools “as part of our corporate social responsibility”. And that's not all. The Rural Training Centre, now functioning from its sprawling 10-acre campus, is just 9 km from Karaikudi town, the ancestral home of Chidambaram. The Centre is equipped with a computer lab, an auditorium, a hostel block and can accommodate 100 trainees. Short courses from 2 to 25 days in dairy management, poultry farming, mobile phone and air conditioner servicing and fashion technology are conducted here among a host of other things. N Damodharan, director of the Centre says, “Since its inception, 5768 rural entrepreneurs have been imparted with various skills. Seventy three percent of these trained persons have either secured jobs or started their own self employment ventures."
In his current tenure as a minister, Chidambaram proudly proclaims that “72 branches of banks have been opened in Sivaganga in the last 39 months”. With the suave politician back with a portfolio he loves, that number may shoot up in the months ahead. Tamil Nadu Congress Chief Gnanadesikan says, “By nurturing his constituency so well, Chidambaram is bound to cruise along merrily in the next election from Sivaganga.”
The finance minister will hope this prediction turns out to be true so that there is no photo finish, like the recount in 2009, which is now the subject of an election petition in the Madras High Court.