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Music, music everywhere… When feedstock change worked havoc... The rise, fall and rise of India Cements Remembering SV Major storms during the explosive years Hanuman jumps in auto, electronic technologies MY LOVE FOR AGRICULTURE Where a co-operative paid bonus; helped eradicate caste bias... The white trigger at Erode When cooperatives pushed out private dairies... Takeover tycoons... Kurien visits Erode... The slippery story of crude The sea change This foray into economic journalism... Rise and fall of PVN... Budgets through the years… Hand composing to desk top publishing… Mrs Gandhi storms back, MGR unshaken in his fortress Salem steel waiting for its sheen The rise and fall of the Madras Press Club How Chennai missed the bus? (rail!) When Eicher bites the Bullet... He took public sector to commanding heights... Power progress When comes such another! Green Jubilee for agricultural research When fertilizer production shifted to North and West... The unreal estate Travails and thrills... A culture of R&D... Birth of IE The years of consolidation, second bomb, and hope The green years Editorially reinforced and redesigned From the very beginning
 
Hanuman jumps in auto, electronic technologies

This quinquennium marked Indira Gandhi focusing on external relations: in quick succession, she organized several mega events that started from the Asian Games in 1982 followed by the Non-Aligned Meet (NAM) in March 1983 and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet (CHOGM) in November 1983. 

Fidel Castro stole the limelight by giving a bear hug to a blushing and embarrassed Indira Gandhi. Post-NAM her stature increased at the global plane. 

Nearer home, a grand initiative was taken to quench the thirst of Chennai metro. Indira Gandhi took the lead in persuading Maharashtra, Karnataka and the AP chief ministers, each to spare five tmc feet of Krishna water from their share to meet the drinking water needs of Chennai. Chief Minister MGR, who had cordial relations with Mrs. Gandhi and the neighbouring chief ministers, organised a grand function in which chief ministers of the southern states and those of Maharashtra, the Union Water Resources Minister and the Prime Minister participated. The country has not seen such cooperation since in inter-state cordiality. 

Maruti Udyog under V Krishnamurthy commenced production as targeted by end 1983. The country witnessed a quantum jump in automobile production technology.  There was a scramble for registration of Maruti cars with bookings grossing Rs 140 crore and more, each time registration opened up.  Under S Natarajan as Finance Director, the company made excellent use of these humongous deposits. For quite some time, financial engineering earned the company more profits than from product sales!  VK and his team that included Japanese experts, rapidly introduced the salient aspects of Japanese work culture. IE’s query on the readiness of the market absorbing 100,000 cars at a time when the market was buying hardly 40,000 vehicles, elicited a classic reply from VK: “Maruti cars will be low on maintenance. There will be a saving of Rs 1000 per month; in 48 months the Rs 48,000 saved would help go for a new car!”  Yes, the car was prized at its introduction at just Rs 47,000 

The years also witnessed Punjab on the boil. There was demand for Khalistan, and the state faced massive violence. Mrs. Gandhi suppressed this with an iron hand but paid the price with her life. Her security guards rained bullets on her. Delhi also witnessed mayhem with thousands of Sikhs assassinated in the aftermath of Mrs. Gandhi’s death. 

In quick time the baton passed to her son, Rajiv Gandhi. The ensuing elections returned the Congress with a huge mandate. Young Rajiv Gandhi started on grand auspices promising to take India to the 21st century on the technology platform. V P Singh as Finance Minister also demystified budget making by introducing a long-term fiscal policy. 

H K L Bhagat as I & B Minister helped the government launch into the TV era. For over 100 days, with clock-like precision, one TV transmitter was inaugurated in some part of the country or the other. 

The period also marked the profligacy in public expenditure. The opening up for television, electronics, automobiles etc., involved massive imports. The country resorted to massive borrowings, deficit financing and fiscal deficits that later resulted in the grave financial crisis of 1991. 

Sam Pitroda triggered the telecom revolution. For the first time, access to telephone even from the remotest corners of the country was ensured. The Technology Missions under Pitroda also helped achieve quantum jumps in the production of pulses and oilseeds. 

What was begun by Rajiv Gandhi with a bang ended in a whimper by accusations of scandals and corruption  Bofors consumed Rajiv’s image and ambitions. From 1985, for the next seven years, the country witnessed one new finance minister every year.  – SV

 

The five consecutive years (1983-1988) was challenging and overhanging. It bode farewell to a couple of charismatic political leaders and heralded the emergence of new leaders to fill the vacuum. It shows hopeful sights of industrial and technological growth.

 

That scurrilous journalist!

Some of the finer pieces of writing to appear in the IE, both in terms of social content and in terms of the quality of the language — have come from the typewriter of G N Acharya who died in April 1983 after fulfilling his three score and ten years. Acharya used to hammer out his comments on human behaviour from a small ground floor apartment at 100, Shivaji Park, Bombay from mid 1950s.

 

Indira Gandhi’s assassination

Religious fanaticism caused the felling of Indira Gandhi. On several counts Indira’s record as a leader was impressive. Just look at the India, when she took charge in early 1966: an economy that was battered by the battle with Pakistan a few months earlier. Massive imports of food grains, of 26 million tons in the three years, 1965-67. 

The mindless killing of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi followed by the carnage in Delhi and elsewhere struck the very roots of a secular India. One was aghast at the massacre of hundreds right at the heart of Delhi reminiscent of the partition riots of 1947. One was equally shocked over the total void of leadership in those crucial days. 

 

Lessons from Bhiwandi 

Bhiwandi in 1970 was a fast developing powerloom centre with a population of about 1.5 lakh and 40,000 powerlooms. The flourishing centre attracted a large number of migrant labourers most of them Muslims, from other states in the border. Soon Bhiwandi served as a major source for cheap basic cloth for the giant textile mills based in Bombay. By 1980 the number of powerlooms jumped to over 2.5 lakh and the population to over 6 lakh. Bhiwandi had about half of them as powerloom workers.

 

Tele Villain

After the introduction of TV, growth in demand for other media such as radio, newspaper suffered. TV eliminated radio and annihilated cinema. Television was becoming a potent mass medium and drained revenues of other media. Some assumed the impact of television could have on marketing.

 

At a million cheques 

An estimated eight lakh cheques are handled everyday by Indian banks with the growth rate in cheques of over 10 per cent, the number of cheques handled is fast approaching the rate of a million per day. This phenomenal growth 

has not been matched by streamlined procedures to handle these.

 

Containerisation – Concept Catching up 

The concept of containerisation for safer and speedier movement of cargo, developed during the Sixties. The   elegance and economy of containerised movement were quickly appreciated and in the subsequent years the concept spread far and wide. Today there are an estimated 4 million containers employed on international trade. Railways introduced the container for door-to-door carriage of goods. But the concept suffered through lack of effective linkage with a variety of other essentials like handling facilities, monitoring of movement and guaranteed delivery within a specified times.

 

The MGR phenomenon

MGR was a one-man party. Unlike Karunanidhi, he did not bother to introduce the tenets of democracy through regular elections to the cadres. He was content to concern himself with some limited objectives and tried to realise these. It was thus the party which gained its strength through hundreds of his fans’ associations continued to exist without any serious attempt at evolving into a strong and coherent organisation. The demise of MGR affected the people of Tamil Nadu gravely. Till date there are people living with the memories of his able administration. 

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