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

The Hindu family dissensions again hit the headlines. Malini Parthasarathy resigned as the Editor of the paper within days of the launch of the Mumbai edition made with a lot of fanfare. This was ahead of the change expected at the board meeting scheduled a couple of weeks later.

For over 130 years Kasturi & Sons, publishers of The Hindu had a smooth, comfortable and profitable run. Controlled by the family elders of the Kasturiranga Iyengar dynasty, the business dominated the media scene, especially in the south, with little competition. Several of the scions also excelled in accessing technology and management expertise. A generation ago with their interests limited to music, racing and travel, G Kasturi, along with his elder brother G Narasimhan were fully focussed on managing the paper. They helped the company switching rapidly to information and communication technology. In quick succession the paper introduced facsimile editions, electronic typesetting and sophisticated printing facilities, both in Chennai metro and at de-centralised printing outfits in several cities.

The near monopoly position enjoyed by the paper as the premier print medium in English in the south was challenged by other print houses, notably The Times of India. The Hindu tried to meet this by engaging in a price war and also changing many of its rigid stances in regard to advertisements and discounts. It adopted many of the profitable practices of TOI eg.cover jacket ads.

Simultaneously, the business house also experienced the fissures widely seen in the batons passing to the younger generation. In a first major coup, the leadership of G Kasturi was challenged by the combined strength of the children of Narasimhan, Parthasarathy and Rangarajan; his term was ended and N Ram assumed leadership with N Murali as the Managing Director and his other brother N Ravi as Editor with liberal positions for other cousins, 12- all directors of the board.

The next break came when Ram could not play ball and hand chairmanship to Murali and the latter moved out as the MD. Siddharth Varadarajan from outside the family was appointed Editor with a couple of senior executive positions going for recruits from outside, notably TOI. In this arrangement, all the executive positions held by the family members were stripped, entitling them only for the perks and fees as directors.

The next change came with family members demanding executive positions back. The re-grouping of the directors rendered Ram’s position weak. Varadarajan and the COO were shunted out and Malini Parthasarathy took charge as editor.   McKinsey that earlier suggested major structural reforms, including launching a Tamil edition, also provided one of its senior partners, Rajeev Lochan to take charge as Managing Director. For the first time a couple of non-executive directors from outside the family –

S Mahalingam (formerly TCS) and Vinita Bali (Britannia) joined the board.

Malini’s term was not smooth. The new editor had her own predilections and prejudices. Several journalists finding her style of leadership not agreeable quit under VRS. There was also the rumbling over a huge expenditure incurred on the Mumbai edition promoted by her. At the home base, the print publication of Sportstar stopped and the Tamil edition continues to struggle to meet competition from the well-established Daily Thanthi and Dinamalar.

    In the recent re-groupings Malini’s groupwas in the minority. Ahead of the board meeting, she tendered her resignation. There was curiosity over the deliberations at the board meeting post-Malini’s resignation. The only thing that leaked: raising the price of a meal by over 200 per cent to Rs 10 a day (it was Rs 3 earlier). For decades, The Hindu canteen was considered the most attractive spot at Kasturi Buildings. Employees in the general shift liberally dropped in late hours to avail the cheap food. In the night shift of around 40, average attendance used to be a couple of hundreds! One wonders if The Hindu would be equal to criticising  the oil pricing jerks of the NDA II government. One may expect the Readers’ Editor, the paper’s gloriously-called Ombudsman, ponder over this in his Monday column.

Rajeev Lochan is bound to have more plans to cut costs and increase revenues. TOI and other media majors offer a lot to emulate. A five day week can be the next option.

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