The Troubleshooter

Sanjit Das for TIME

India's Finance Minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram

Subbaiah Sellam lifts the nightshirt he's sewing, showing off the gold thread embellishments along the collar. "It's for the bank manager," explains the 56-year-old tailor in Nattarasankottai, a drowsy farming village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Another customer for his spare, hole-in-the-wall shop is not the only benefit that the newest bank branch in town has brought Sellam. He has also taken out a loan to send his son to engineering school. "I've recommended the bank to a lot of people," he says.

Sellam owes his new dose of...

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