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