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Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai An enemy’s enemy is a friend A more liberated TN… More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways The Jan Dhan bonanza For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Russi Mody – a tribute Waning interest in public discussions… Quality education through the PPP mode A yen for wastage… Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL The Gulf aviation boom Fortune for Indian Airlines The brown list of Venkitaramanan A welcome initiative by the judiciary Plummeting profits of PSBs EEC at the National Media Centre CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Noble nonagenarians... Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Which side are you, Montek? Another Indian music maestro at the UN Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! How Air-India loses customs... Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Fuel for thought A proud Madrasi Intellectual of rare qualities This scant respect for Law Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! A rich pool of talent not utilised…. A glass full of corruption TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Tatas moving out of urea production... Welcome focus on core competence Wise Presidents Nuclear power at the nucleus Poor quality of university VCs Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Where is Rajaji? Sri Lanka votes for change China invests in India More Shakti to resource mobilisation... The balancing act A professional at the helm of IRDA... No Maha Koottani in TN... Delhi is distant… Making ‘my Amaravati’... Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Strengthen the base... Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS He continues the focus on social amelioration New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Modi storms Silicon Valley The rise and rise of KCP Breaththrough in malaria control Solar thermal shines… Cement prices continue to rise… WTO Meet: resolved to meet again PC’s preference for professionals A think tank for Chennai Robber barons everywhere No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Alexa – Talking Wikipedia A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… CII projects higher growth… ONGC at KG Basin Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Make standards certification mandatory... B H Kothari - a tribute Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... The star of Spencers is no more West Bengal: mindless malignancy Maximising the micro pricing … A friendly business group Kudos to NDTV... Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... The few handicaps... Return to king coal for urea... When the President was rendered homeless… Engineering seats go abegging Readers' Mail Revving up the manufacturing sector Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles TGS- The king storyteller When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Gay abandon in pricing Shipping woes of Chennai companies Boy, can you beat these? Protest masters... The power-full Hindujas For whom the bell tolls? Tribute – UCAL Selvan… All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Streamlining mandatory third party cover Gas is the way forward Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Airlines in India: cost and space The nuclear option Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Multi-faceted Venkat Kinetic Karnataka Modi and the lady Haul over the coal More heat than light Banning booze... The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Roaring Ro-Ro facility When online building permits work…. Tatas moving out of urea production... S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! Pharma – overdose of copying Welcome GST Contrarian cousins Funding the un-funded Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Should we change the official year? Build close rapport with business leaders London, London Narayan Editor's Says Delhi Chalo... Parliament in paralysis... Tough task taking states together Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Tribute – M V Murugappan Preserving for the future Secularism and anti-Hinduism Discoms deserve better… TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... The sea- saw battle continues... Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Sweet news for TN sugar mills Shale gas and its shallow future Telangana in top gear… IPL type auction for VCs? The Swadeshi Trump Why this malaise in medical education? IAS invades NDDB... R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Why land prices zoom in TN? Things happen by accident and not by design... Mu Sigma – is no more Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Polls and promises Wanted: a second airport for Chennai F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing GM Technology at last! Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Five star activism stalls development activity IPL - no surprise this scam When nations steal growth from one another… Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... Where a state respects its litterateurs… Medical costs hit the roof... Road development slows down TIAM turns a full cycle There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Vibrant Gujarat Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Rahman at CIC A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science The why of tax incentives Sweeter prospects for sugar Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Put expensive assets created to use... Excel Generators provide the vital back-up The rise and fall of Annamalai University Valli, they are more marginalised Moily’s bold thrust Convulsions in The Hindu Towards speedy justice He saved millions from starvation... When small is no larger beautiful.. Solar, solar everywhere … Editor's Notes Shanti and Sadhana through Music Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Muffled voices for merit… No engine for this car …and of a popular trade leader Small units prefers to remain small... Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Tribute Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Fortune 500 review Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... When Ratan Tata visited SRM Silver Years of Madras Musings Demise of a media baron... Building loyalty through the stomach Kulandai was a giant Cutting the nose to spite the face More tributes to GR EVM is tamper-proof Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Revive development banks... Delhi returns to BJP SoA @ 80 Delhi is distant Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Tax agriculture S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal TELANGANA at last…BUT An inexplicable neglect L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Recognition to role of NBFCs.... Paytm karo... Quality silica from Neyveli Come elections, come advertisements... Mersal magnified Align crops to agro climate endowments… Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Auto components surge… Music happens Lalu’s envy, India’s pride GNS - 100: our first subscriber PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Adharma of opposition politics CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present?
 
Welcome focus on core competence

The logic of sticking to knitting seems to be impacting large public sector corporations. When such a project was set up in a green field site far removed from major cities, there was the need to provide a vast range of facilities and social infrastructure. For example, when the Rourkela Steel Plant was set up in the 1950s in Odisha, the area lacked basic amenities like housing, roads, power, schools, hospitals, markets, etc. Substantial portion of the initial capital had to be spent on creating these facilities. Over the years the administration had to cope with managing a vast range of activities that had been taking its attention away from the core activity of producing steel. It plunged several public sector corporations into losses. It also resulted in bloating the workforce to levels that became unmanageable.

Tata Steel at one time had a workforce of over 70,000. A large portion of these were engaged in activities that had little to do with the production of steel. eg: managing the township, providing water supply, electricity, maintenance of roads, running schools, hospitals, sports, museum, etc. A bold decision was taken to relieve the company of most of these non-core activities. Aided by the boom in the steel sector post-2000, the company effectively hived off many of these activities to separate institutions and offered liberal VRS packages. In quick time it reduced total workforce by half. Several other corporations followed suit and succeeded in improving productivity per employee and focused on their core activities.

This has become necessary in the context of stiff competition from across the globe. There is pressure to improve incremental capital output ratio and ensure higher productivity per unit of capital employed. This has been achieved by a few sectors like the automobile and auto component industry by taking recourse to a higher degree of automation, vendor development and improving supply chain management.

 

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