IE was launched as the economic journal from the south on 15 March 1968. It was meant to be a niche product and has stayed so. Thanks to the focus on economic development, spearheaded by an active and stable political leadership and executed by a brilliant civil service, the southern region recorded spectacular growth. Aided by sizeable investments in a number of public sector undertakings, there was dispersed development across the region. The long coastline, a decent highway network and the focus on education were other plus points.
IE pioneered economic journalism in the south and fulfilled a felt need. At the time we launched, Capital (Kolkata), Commerce (Mumbai) and Eastern Economist (Delhi), owned by industrial houses, were well-established journals that catered to the three top metros. IE was conceived to focus on the fast emerging industrial scene of the south.
We were widely welcomed by business literates. Specialists in different sectors readily extended their expertise. Leading business houses extended advertising support. Doyens Chitra S Narayanaswamy, K Eswaran, S Viswanathan, etc. and economists like Dr. P S Lokanathan and senior journalists like P A Seshan (Leo), P R Srinivas, K Srinivasan, G N Acharya and renowned cartoonists Thanu and Gopulu, extended whole-hearted support.
A young team that included P S Ramamurti and S Narayanan helped establish a unique concept: information-rich special supplements on corporates, sectors and events. Special issues on the dedication of Madras Refineries, the Indian Oil Lube Blending Plant, CIPET and the inauguration of work at the Salem, Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagar Steel plants were some of the earlier ones that were rich in content and production. Several of these received handsome orders for reprints. Sakthi Finance ordered for 255,000 copies of a comprehensive report on the group and used it for mobilising deposits. Ashok Leyland ordered 85,000 copies and circulated it among its shareholders and clients.
In 1973, IE was first invited to attend the Annual Economic Editors’ Conference inaugurated by the Union Finance Minister and addressed by ministers and senior civil servants handling economics portfolios. Through these 43 years, IE has the unique record of attending all these conferences and interacting with policymakers.
IE is part of Economist Communications Ltd which was incorporated as a public limited company in 1994. We have on our board, R Thyagarajan (Shriram Group), S V Mony (former Chairman-General Insurance Corporation), P Vaidyanathan (Chairman, Integrated Enterprises), and A Suryanarayana Rao (Managing Trustee, Jawahar Group of Institutions). Earlier K R Ramamani and Dr M Anandakrishnan had been our directors.
IE has covered in detail all the states and UTs, except Jammu & Kashmir and the five northeastern states. On special invitations from the chief ministers, IE produced special issues on Andhra Pradesh (with interviews of Dr Channa Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu), Gujarat (Narendra Modi), Karnataka (Veerappa Moily), Odisha (Biju Patnaik) and Punjab (Parkash Singh Badal). The latest one was on Tamil Nadu: we produced a 140-page large special issue on Tamil Nadu and this was distributed at the Global Investors Meet in September 2015.
IE set up the Forum Beyond Books in several colleges to help undergrad students expand their knowledge horizons on current affairs. In these, it presented special lectures, quiz programmes and provided student members access to the IE database for preparing their reports and project works.
IE promoted the Agriculture Consultancy Management Foundation (ACMF), a not-for-profit trust, to work on improving productivity by taking recourse to science, technology and management. F C Kohli, the co-founder of TCS, is the chairman of this trust that includes sixteen other prominent leaders as trustees/advisers.
IE organised public talks on current and emerging issues. These were delivered by eminent men that included: President R Venkataraman, Governor C Subramaniam, Milkman Dr Verghese Kurien, Minister Rangarajan Kumaramangalam, UN’s Dr Maurice Strong, Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Economist M S Ahluwalia, Governor P S Ramamohan Rao, RBI Governor Dr C Rangarajan, Scientist Dr M S Swaminathan, to name a few.
For the golden jubilee year IE plans a series of special lectures and seminars continuing its mission to expand awareness on economic issues. In the evolution of the Indian media over the past five decades when size mattered increasingly, IE, though small, has endeavoured to be effective.
We thank our readers and advertisers for their whole-hearted support.