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Delhi returns to BJP Nuclear power at the nucleus Another Indian music maestro at the UN Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Preserving for the future Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Adharma of opposition politics China invests in India London, London Narayan More tributes to GR Small units prefers to remain small... Pharma – overdose of copying Muffled voices for merit… S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Robber barons everywhere ONGC at KG Basin Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad PC’s preference for professionals Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS The nuclear option Editor's Notes L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Building loyalty through the stomach CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Revving up the manufacturing sector Engineering seats go abegging Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Permanent secretariat for TN GIM When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Mu Sigma – is no more For whom the bell tolls? Funding the un-funded The rise and fall of Annamalai University No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Tribute – M V Murugappan More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Tribute Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Cutting the nose to spite the face Boy, can you beat these? The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Where is Rajaji? TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Fuel for thought An inexplicable neglect Should we change the official year? The rise and rise of KCP Shipping woes of Chennai companies No engine for this car A professional at the helm of IRDA... 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Modi storms Silicon Valley Delhi is distant… He continues the focus on social amelioration Gay abandon in pricing Build close rapport with business leaders Strengthen the base... Protest masters... Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... How Air-India loses customs... Solar, solar everywhere … Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Modi and the lady TELANGANA at last…BUT Medical costs hit the roof... Tough task taking states together Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Quality education through the PPP mode More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Haul over the coal Welcome focus on core competence Roaring Ro-Ro facility L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles The balancing act Airlines in India: cost and space Banning booze... TGS- The king storyteller Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Cement prices continue to rise… Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Music happens Making ‘my Amaravati’... Align crops to agro climate endowments… Why this malaise in medical education? IPL type auction for VCs? Welcome GST CII projects higher growth… IPL - no surprise this scam Telangana in top gear… When online building permits work…. A yen for wastage… Parliament in paralysis... A glass full of corruption Why land prices zoom in TN? Moily’s bold thrust Kudos to NDTV... A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra When the President was rendered homeless… Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami The Jan Dhan bonanza Kulandai was a giant Which side are you, Montek? When small is no larger beautiful.. For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Contrarian cousins Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... When nations steal growth from one another… Revive development banks... Intellectual of rare qualities Quality silica from Neyveli Shale gas and its shallow future …and of a popular trade leader CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Of course, Gujarat is vibrant A welcome initiative by the judiciary Where a state respects its litterateurs… Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Fortune for Indian Airlines A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Come elections, come advertisements... A proud Madrasi The Swadeshi Trump Recognition to role of NBFCs.... West Bengal: mindless malignancy Sweeter prospects for sugar Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital TIAM turns a full cycle Make standards certification mandatory... Sri Lanka votes for change When Ratan Tata visited SRM Wise Presidents The Gulf aviation boom Silver Years of Madras Musings Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model He saved millions from starvation... Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Return to king coal for urea... Readers' Mail Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ The few handicaps... Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... 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 Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai No Maha Koottani in TN... A think tank for Chennai The power-full Hindujas Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet GM Technology at last! Rahman at CIC EEC at the National Media Centre Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks B H Kothari - a tribute Shanti and Sadhana through Music The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Vibrant Gujarat S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Sweet news for TN sugar mills More heat than light Marketing expert Balagopal is no more CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Demise of a media baron... A friendly business group Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Kinetic Karnataka Multi-faceted Venkat
 
CII projects higher growth…

SUCCESSIVE DROUGHTS of the last two years had contributed to zero agriculture growth.  A vast range of commercial crops, including sugarcane and cotton, recorded decline, causing widespread misery in several parts of rural India.

In this background the prediction of an average monsoon is welcome. This kindles hopes on a significant improvement in agriculture growth. This has two favourable tidings: first a higher rate of economic growth, with agriculture sector accounting for 14 per cent of GDP, the jump in the agricultural sector could contribute to more than one per cent growth of GDP. CII predicts economic growth can be around 8.2 per cent!

The second is its impact on the rural economy. Better incomes would trigger higher spending on goods and services and will help increased production of consumer goods and other services.

Naushad Forbes, who had taken charge as President-CII, pointed to several green shoots: much higher demand for automobiles and tractors, step up in investments on highway development, railways and other infrastructure sectors and an improvement in investor sentiment. He also referred to the Centre facilitating states to undertake reforms in crucial areas like land and labour. Forbes pointed to Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajas-

than undertaking labour reforms to ease doing business. He also referred to Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu focusing on land reforms intended to facilitate acquisition for business purposes.

CII has listed a few sectors with high potential for growth, like textiles and garments, which constitute a significant share of exports, electronic hardware, cement, iron and steel, engineering, defence and aerospace.

 

No ‘Connect’ with electronics hardware

Despite years of references to the potential of electronic hardware manufacture, there has been little action on the ground. Tamil Nadu began well with export on the annual ‘Connect’ event. In the early 2000s, there was an explosive growth in the IT, communications and telecom hardware industries in Sriperumbudur and elsewhere. Remember Nokia – Foxconn setting up world class facilities and Nokia emerging the largest manufacturer of cell phones? In quick time, this thrust was lost. Confusion over tax policy and poor industrial relations led to the failure to build on this excellent start. Several electronics units in that complex closed down.

F C Kohli, who headed TCS and triggered the IT boom, has been an ardent advocate of electronic hardware. For over two decades Kohli has been suggesting the nurture of electronic hardware education in around fifty institutes of higher learning and backing these electronic hardware engineers with high volume production of a vast range of electronic hardware and components.

 

Make in India efforts hurt

 

Such an approach also needs tweaking tax policies. I refer to the failure of doing this hurting the Make in India effort by citing the experience of the Dell Computers (DC). This computer giant has set up a unit in Sriperumbudur and produces around 3000 PCs and laptops per day. With several state governments promising free laptops for students, combined with the tremendous growth in demand for these from other sectors, one can imagine the potential for volume production. But, on a visit to this facility, I noticed a few interesting factors: the first is the modest volume of production, of around 3000 per day or around a million a year. Second, the unit provides employment to local women with a higher secondary pass who are quite nimble and efficient.

The matter of concern relates to the very poor, indigenous content: except the CD manual, the sponge and carton used for packing, other items are all imported. Foxconn imports these from Taiwan in CKD packs. Reducing the excise duty from 10 per cent to 2 per cent can trigger manufacture of several components by local units.

Another equally sad experience related to the free mixies and fans offered by Tamil Nadu not resulting in any big orders for Indian manufacturing units. For their low prices, these are imported from China, of indifferent quality.

Forbes and his team at CII should address this issue by encouraging Indian manufacturers to go for high volume production as does China.

 

High capacity, low utilisation, high prices

 

In the Indian context, even in sectors where volumes have been high, the traditional pre-liberalisation habit of cartelisation persists. We have been pointing to such practice in the cement industry: despite a handsome expansion of capacity which is under-utilised, cement prices have been manipulated by cartelisation. We have been pointing to the huge difference in cement prices by such unethical, oligopolistic cartels.

 

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