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

IE has been frequently pointing to the pathetic state of affairs of universities in Tamil Nadu. There has been crass political interference. As in politics, caste considerations have become a dominant factor and merit the casualty. For some two decades now, institutionalised system of corruption that pervades Tamil Nadu has taken deep roots in higher education as well. Look at the course of Guindy Engineering College, among the three oldest engineering colleges: for decades it enjoyed a prestige that spread across the globe for churning out graduates of outstanding merit. Its standards, systems and output were on par with the IITs. When the Anna University was formed, it had outstanding educationists as VCs. Dr V C Kulandaiswamy served three terms followed by Dr M Anandakrishnan who had two terms. Both were internationally renowned academics who commanded respect for their rich and extensive contributions.

Since then we witnessed an arubathumoovar-like procession of vice chancellors with short tenures of just three years. Almost their first year is spent on understanding and getting into the nuts and bolts of administration. The second and third is meant to curry favour with the powers that be to get a second term or to get a similar posting in another university in the state. The inevitable money power creeps in.

The equally venerated Madras University has undergone a similar course. The university, which had at its helm renowned educationists like Dr A L Mudalilar, who had the longest tenure of 27 years and Dr Malcolm S Adiseshiah, who earlier served as the Deputy Director General of UNESCO with over 40 honorary doctorates across the globe to his credit, has been through a traumatic course when even the short three-year term was cut short for a few. There has been intense lobbying for membership of the search committee and bidding for the post of VC. We seem to be moving towards IPL auction-type system with aspirants making the highest offers for getting the post. The absence of concern for filling the post well before the expiry of the term of the incumbent VC, indicates the scope for canvassing with the powers that be. Can we otherwise explain the vacancy of the VCs’ posts for several top universities of Tamil Nadu including Madras University, Anna University and the Madurai Kamaraj University remaining vacant for this long?

Time was when the Secretary of Education or even the Minister of Education used to seek an appointment to meet VCs like Malcolm Adiseshiah. Recently we witnessed the VCs seeking darshan of Sasikala aka Chinnamma, charged with serious corruption practices that landed her in jail thereafter.

In this system even a meritorious educationist like Dr E Balaguruswami got hit. His tenure ended with just one term. Today you find around 100 ex-VCs floating around!

 The course of private universities is not much different: dominated by politicians, traders and businessmen, these have evolved as flourishing businesses. The vast stretches of land acquired through overt and covert means have appreciated in value though the other infrastructure and quality of staff and students are in a pathetic state. Just look at half the under-grads in engineering not getting through the exams in the first year! Several of these have been built on the illegal and pernicious system of capitation fees.

At the 150th year celebration of the Madras University the renowned educationist Dr Anandakrishnan was asked: ”when can an Indian university/academic/institution gain the reputation of a Caltech, Princeton, MIT or Cambridge?” His answer was poignant: “in a system where appointments of vice chancellors were decided by political leaders and when university vice chancellors are the sons/daughters and daughters-in-law of the promoters/proprietors and most of whom are politicians or small time businessmen, how can this happen?” He contrasted this with the reputation as an educationist built over decades needed to be appointed a president of any reputed western university.


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