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