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

Fifty years ago, in 1965-66 Sachindra Choudhry as Finance Minister opted for a steep devaluation of the rupee. The economy was then in dire straits with a severe drought causing a steep fall in food production. Indira Gandhi was struggling to find her feet as the Prime Minister. Keen to explain the government’s policies and to get reactions from the media, she launched the Economic Editors’ Conference (EEC).

The EEC became an annual event inaugurated by the Finance Minister and addressed by a dozen ministers handling economic portfolios, assisted by senior civil servants of the respective departments. The EEC provided an important forum to discuss the impact of economic policies on the different regions. As one attending this from 1973 continuously for four decades, I have found value in this interaction. The forum provided the opportunity to project the impact of policies on different regions and also report on specific needs of regions far removed from Delhi. For instance, at the EEC in 1973, I pointed to the inadequacy of the mining capacity at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation that plunged NLC into continuous underperformance and losses. Mohan Kumaramangalam, the then minister of Steels & Mines, appreciated the query and assured quick redressal. The special sanction that followed for augmenting the mining machinery resulted in NLC emerging as a highly profitable PSU.

 For journalists outside Delhi, the EEC provided an invaluable opportunity to meet with policymakers and discuss policy issues.

 The NDA government has not convened the EEC since it assumed power in 2014 (even in the first NDA government, Jaswant Singh as Finance Minister missed out one).

 The media of Lutyens’ Delhi has not been fair and kind to Narendra Modi and this seems to have conditioned his reflex to keep the media at a distance. But should this also extend to his cabinet colleagues?

 In this light, the Press Information Bureau organised a two-day regional editors’ conference for the Southern States on 1 and 2 September. The Prime Minister has directed his cabinet colleagues to undertake the Tiranga Yatra to explain the highlights of the NDA -2 performance over the last two years. The I&B Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the conference in Chennai along with a photo exhibition to commemorate the country’s 70th independence day. He explained in detail the plans of his Ministry of Urban Affairs with a focus on infrastructure and housing. The Minister for Law and Justice and IT Ravishankar Prasad, known for his articulation, described in detail the Digital India initiative that promises India to leap-frog development.

Two other Union Ministers, Nitin Gadkari and Kiren Rijiju, who were listed to participate did not make it, but senior civil servants of their ministries made detailed presentations. Those on shipping and highways were rich with details on the impressive work done in the development of roads, ports and inland waterways and the focus on the northeast.  The continuous and steep drop in exports due to the global slowdown is a matter of concern. Minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman made a detailed presentation on the efforts made to focus on specific products and specific regions to expand exports. But, like the AIADMK ministers, she laboured on micro issues like areca and copra, missing out on larger issues affecting the Make in India effort.

The programme included a visit to the IIT-Madras Research Park. Dr Ashok Junjunwala made an evocative demonstration of a welcome breakthrough: a 125 kW solar power unit modified to use DC, which can be used to power homes at a low cost and with reduced dependence on grid power. This famous scientist has made invaluable contributions in the telecom and rural development spheres. The IIT-M Research Park that provides for close collaboration between scientists and researchers in the industry and the academy and students of IIT-M, has already produced some innovative products and several applications with great promise.

 

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