Sivaganga: Freebies and subsidies cannot be the only parameters for measuring development, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said, stressing that power availability, farm productivity and road network should be the benchmark for its evaluation.
"While it is necessary that very poor people should get subsidies and freebies, these alone will not help measure development of an area. One should see how much electricity one is getting, how much a farm harvests is, how much roads have been laid. That should be the basis for development," he said.
The Union minister cited the example of laying of 315 National Highways, linking Tiruchirapalli to Karaikudi and Ramanathapuram and from there to Tirumaiyyam, Manamaduraiand Madurai. "Things like that constitute development," he said. He was speaking after inaugurating two branches of Corporation Bank at nearby A Velangudi and Kalayarkovil.
Chidambaran said total business of Corporation bank was Rs 2.84 lakh crore and lauded it for being very economical in operating the branches. Chidambaram said he is convinced there is enough money in circulation when people request opening bank branches. "If a bank branch is being opened in a place, it means development has come to that area. There is need for both development and concessions to the people."
He said nationalised banks planned to open 7,000 to 8,000 branches this year, with 200 of them being that of Corporation Bank alone. Even then the ratio of number of banks to number of the villages would be only 1:5 or six, he said.
Indirectly criticising communal elements, he said it would not be appropriate to instigate one community against the other in any country and pointed out that India is a country where people of different religions live and has been so for hundreds of years.
"Pitting one community against the other will not suit India. Communal harmony and unity is important for India. If the communal harmony breaks, then it will take a long time to patch up the communities," he said.
Chidambaram, who later flagged off Chennai-Manamadurai Silambu bi-weekly express, along with Minister of State for Commerce and Industry EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, hoped the train would be a daily service in two or three years.