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

2003 April ä Industrial Economist Seminar on Foreign Trade

IE organised a one-day seminar on Foreign Trade on 29 March 2003. The sectors included project exports, auto components, leather, textiles and agriculture.

June 2003 ä Murugappa Group - Financial Services: tremendous opportunities

 The Rs 4200 crore Murugappa Group having special strength in several fields, identified financial services as thrust area and set up CIFCL 24 years ago. Over these years they have emerged strong in a range of financial services and in general insurance.

June 2003 ä Insurance Seminar: 

Industrial Economist and Madras Management Association jointly organised a one day seminar on Insurance – the happening sector. The role of intermediaries, developments in the banks and general insurance sectors were discussed.

October 2003 ä  Bull Fight: AMUL-MDFL – The white rebellion

Amrita Patel, Chairperson, NDDB, dreams of creating a new organisation through the Mother Dairy Foods Ltd (MDFL) - a wholly owned subsidiary of NDDB by joining hands with the state cooperative milk federations. Verghese Kurien feared that the federations will lose brand equity of the cooperative unions.

November 2003 ä Tribute: Murasoli Maran - A different breed...

Though thrown up from the stream of Dravidian party politics with its emphasis on regionalism and links to the film industry, Murasoli Maran differed from the rest.

Feb 2004 ä Kerala’s Economy – New initiatives. Nasty politics. Which will get the better?

Kerala has budgeted to spend Rs.74 crore on tourist promotion during 2004-05. Income from tourism (in 2001) was estimated at around Rs.4700 crore! The cost benefit is, indeed, spectacular.

May 2004 ä Empowering the Empire - The Ratan evolution

Ratan Tata decided to exit the businesses of soaps and toiletries, cosmetics, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, computer and telecom hardware, branded white goods, paints, oil exploration services, cement and textiles. 

July 2004 ä Ashok Leyland

Rs.200 crore fresh investment. We are looking at India specific solutions and we’ll continue make available vehicles at affordable prices,” says R Seshasayee, MD, AL.

October 2004 ä L&T-ECC an IE feature – L&T-ECC: Diamond Years

L&T-ECC’s journey through the last sixty years has witnessed sparkling growth. It is well-poised to move up the value chain.

December 2004 ä National Insurance Company – Wah! Wah! Wadhwa!

Two years ago, in August 2002, H S Wadhwa took charge, NIC set the goal to become No 1. It just did this by the end of September 2004!

 

On 1 January, 2003, IE received a letter from a reader. It pointed out that the BJP-led Union government and the Congress-led Delhi government, seeking to appropriate credit for the completion of the Delhi Metro Rail project.  DMRC blew money projecting political leaders on its advertisements. The Union Urban Development Ministry even issued two ads on the same day. Isn’t it unethical to splurge hard-earned taxpayers’ money on such flamboyance? the letter asked? The letter suggested that the Centre should ban photographs of political leaders in all its advertisements. 

A decade later, the Supreme Court passed an order on the same lines: banning photographs of political persons except the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Chief Ministers in government advertisements! 

The issue’s cover was a designer’s delight, thanks to a complete makeover IE had undertaken with the help of a remarkable design editor. The major highlight of the year was a day-long seminar jointly organised by the Madras Management Association and IE on “insurance, the happening sector.” 

Country’s first life stock

“India’s first life stock,” read the headlines to a report dated 15 March 2004, referring to the IPO by the country’s largest biotechnology company, Biocon India Ltd. Biocon became the first ever biotech company to be listed. Founded in 1978 by Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the company saw significant opportunities overseas. 

“Philosopher becomes King”, proclaimed the cover of the 30 May 2004 issue, commenting on the results of the general election which brought a coalition, led by the Congress, to power and paved the way for ‘rediscovering’ Dr Manmohan Singh by the party President Sonia Gandhi.

The 37th annual issue, dated 15 January 2005, paid homage to the thousands swept away by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. It also commended the individuals and organisations, which rose to the occasion and brought succour to thousands of victims along the coast. India not only stood on its own feet by politely turning down offers of assistance from abroad but it also generously offered support to other affected nations such as Sri Lanka and Maldives. 

 

A warning in 2005 on BCCI affairs 

The 30 April issue had an ever-green comment by the Editor on the state of affairs of cricket administration. It said: “the game had become the handmaiden of moneybags and powerful politicians:  Total lack of transparency and accountability by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were striking.”  The articles suggested that the malaise be treated with speed and care. “But the sad combination of politics and money power in cricket affairs will not make this easy.” The commentary could be reproduced verbatim in the current issue and still be as relevant. 

The   issue also had a tribute to T S Santhanam, ‘the transport titan’ who “for over seven decades strode the road transport sector as a colossus.”

 

Industry must serve agriculture 

The issue of January 2006, was devoted to a project IE had been vigorously campaigning for: to bring prominence to the primary sector by roping in leaders from different arena to try and replicate the eminence achieved by the service and manufacturing sectors. 

A plethora of leaders from varied disciplines assembled and witnessed a demonstration of scientific farming techniques at the Gemini Farms at Padappai, 50 km to the south of Chennai at the Gemini Farms of  S Balasubramanian.  The VIPs included M S Ahluwalia, FC Kohli, B Muthuraman, T C Venkat Subramanian, R Thyagarajan, 

Dr V Prakash, K S Money, and B Santhanam. Agriculture Consultancy Management Foundation (ACMF). The visitors showed a keen interest in some of the equipment used on the farm for making the fertilizers reach the roots and one for checking soil fertility. They later met at a star hotel for a three-hour discussion under the title, Agriculture – Advantage India. It led to the formation of Agriculture Consultancy Management Foundation (ACMF). 

The landmark visit of George W Bush to India and the protests against the same by Left parties that led to the decision to cancel his planned address in the Parliament was one of the two highlights of the 15 March issue. The second was the budget for 2006-07 presented by finance minister P Chidambaram that set 2010 as the target date for introducing a unified tax on goods and services, the precursor to the GST launched this financial year.  “Time to focus on development,” read the 30 May cover with a photograph of M Karunanidhi getting sworn in for the fifth time as chief minister. The issue, which also carried an article titled “The great Tamilian tamasha” by P K Doraiswamy, IAS. The former special chief secretary to the AP Government raised questions; “will the quality of governance matter in TN elections, or only promises of freebies matter? 

 

Celebrating Gujarat, why not?

2007 began with a bang: a special supplement devoted exclusively to Gujarat to mark the biennial Vibrant Gujarat global investors summit held in Ahmedabad.  “Celebrating Gujarat,” said the cover with a photo of Narendra Modi, who then presided over the destinies of that state. In an exclusive interview with the Editor, Modi said: “our port-led development and especially the special economic zones will place Gujarat in the forefront of economic development.” The issue was produced at the invitation and support of the Gujarat government; Chief Minister Modi released the special issue at the Vibrant Gujarat 2007 where 6000 copies were distributed.    

The regular issue dated 15 January, including supplement, explained the rationale behind the celebration of Gujarat. The Inklings noted: “Gujarat has so much to celebrate that it can have a year-long festivity to mark the milestones it has been reaching! The industry is in bloom, huge even by global standards. Infrastructure, ports, SEZs, and highways are getting concentrated attention and investment. Social sector and agriculture have been specifically targeted for improvement. You drive down in any direction, and there are visible signs of progress. To us why celebrate became why not celebrate.”

What better way to end this nostalgic travel down memory lane of the past five years than to quote the 2008 annual issue (March) where the Editor recorded with pride, the completion of four decades of this publication. The Editor wrote: “we have changed our focus from presenting economic news to in-depth research, analyses, and comments on developments in various facets of the economy through experts. From our next issue.”  

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