When it comes to provision of basic amenities India performs badly by any account. Roads, electricity, water, schools, primary health, nutrition programmes, other amenities most basic to people today are poorly provided in most parts of India. Facilities that exist too are badly maintained and are often dysfunctional. While this is true by and large some states have performed exceptionally well. The famed example is Kerala whose education and health programmes have been remarkable. Another equally remarkable performer has been Tamil Nadu. The state has huge budgetary commitments for the social sector and most of these schemes also tend to work well. Most importantly there is a commitment to reach basic amenities to everyone rather than just serving the elite. In my research I have tried to uncover reasons behind TN’s remarkable commitment to provide a wide array of basic amenities universally to its people, and to examine why these work relatively well in a context where government programmes often perform poorly.