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