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Mersal magnified R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Protest masters... L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… The star of Spencers is no more Convulsions in The Hindu Adharma of opposition politics When the President was rendered homeless… Fortune for Indian Airlines Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna A proud Madrasi When small is no larger beautiful.. When Ratan Tata visited SRM The Jan Dhan bonanza Telangana in top gear… Robber barons everywhere MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Engineering seats go abegging Intellectual of rare qualities This scant respect for Law No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Cutting the nose to spite the face A yen for wastage… How Air-India loses customs... Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Polls and promises No engine for this car TIAM turns a full cycle Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Don’t seem to feel the pulse… PC’s preference for professionals Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Strengthen the base... Fuel for thought The brown list of Venkitaramanan EEC at the National Media Centre A friendly business group Noble nonagenarians... GNS - 100: our first subscriber CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Another Indian music maestro at the UN ONGC at KG Basin The few handicaps... Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... The rise and fall of Annamalai University When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's When online building permits work…. Shipping woes of Chennai companies Tribute – M V Murugappan Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Make standards certification mandatory... A glass full of corruption Shale gas and its shallow future Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Vibrant Gujarat Building loyalty through the stomach Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Demise of a media baron... S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Why land prices zoom in TN? Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Poor quality of university VCs Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai CII projects higher growth… The Gulf aviation boom Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School A professional at the helm of IRDA... Maximising the micro pricing … The sea- saw battle continues... 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Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Small units prefers to remain small... Computation of GDP – conundrums continue For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Tatas moving out of urea production... A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… TELANGANA at last…BUT Cement prices continue to rise… The power-full Hindujas TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector He saved millions from starvation... Which side are you, Montek? The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Shanti and Sadhana through Music Where a state respects its litterateurs… No Maha Koottani in TN... Breaththrough in malaria control Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Gay abandon in pricing Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Five star activism stalls development activity Airlines in India: cost and space Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Secularism and anti-Hinduism When nations steal growth from one another… The Swadeshi Trump Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Music happens Modi storms Silicon Valley All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Mu Sigma – is no more Haul over the coal The why of tax incentives Tribute Auto components surge… Kinetic Karnataka Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. 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 Solar, solar everywhere … Moily’s bold thrust An enemy’s enemy is a friend Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Road development slows down Nuclear power at the nucleus Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked London, London Narayan Medical costs hit the roof... Put expensive assets created to use... Sweeter prospects for sugar Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Things happen by accident and not by design... Sweet news for TN sugar mills Banning booze... Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Tough task taking states together Making ‘my Amaravati’... Kudos to NDTV... Muffled voices for merit… The rise and rise of KCP Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Kulandai was a giant Parliament in paralysis... Roaring Ro-Ro facility IAS invades NDDB... Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy TGS- The king storyteller A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Sri Lanka votes for change Recognition to role of NBFCs.... SoA @ 80 Return to king coal for urea... Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Delhi is distant… Multi-faceted Venkat Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper!
 
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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