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

RAILWAY Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated a slew of railway projects for the Southern Railway. This included two additional lines, now making it six, on the congested Moore Market - Basin Bridge route. Chennai Central handles 200 trains a day, incoming and outgoing combined, apart from the heavy suburban traffic. Thus, this addition should provide a welcome relief. 

The function was attended by the transport minister of Tamil Nadu, MPs, and other local political leaders. Later, while addressing the CII, Prabhu outlined an impressive Rs. 850,000 crore plan for railway development. Prabhu invited concrete plans for railway development in the state and committed to building a strategic multi-model transport plan for cities.  

For the first time in decades, the Centre has a highly involved chartered accountant as railway minister. For 25 years from 1989, a minor coalition partner held the railway portfolio. They have been concerned mostly with trains originating from and a project or two for ,their states.  Remember Lalu Yadav Prasad and Mamata Banerjee avoiding fiscal corrections in terms of rational freight and fare rates, grievously affecting the financial health of this mega undertaking?

While I was impressed with the efforts taken by Prabhu and his team, I should point to Southern Railway receiving poor allocations in the Railways’ massive development plans. The mega projects in the west and north take a huge chunk of the Rs. 850,000 crore development plan: the high-speed Shinkansen-type train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai involves a cost of Rs 100,000 crore; the elevated suburban rail system for the Central and Western Railways of Mumbai Metro would cost Rs. 55,000 crore; the dedicated freight corridors between Delhi and Mumbai and Delhi and Howrah involve an expenditure of Rs. 100,000 crore.  There is no such mega investment for the south. 


TN’s all-knowing, autocratic, inaccessible leadership...

The blame for such neglect should fall on the political and business leadership of Tamil Nadu. In the rules by the DMK and the AIADMK, the state suffered:

• Karunanidhi was fairly old when he took charge in 2006 and did not have the energy to deal with emerging issues. Jayalalithaa was all-knowing, autocratic and inaccessible.

• Both parties failed in developing a second-line leadership. Do we recall the model of Kamaraj, throwing up competent, qualified and dedicated leaders like C Subramaniam, R Venkataraman and M Bhaktavatsalam?

• Both parties concentrated on giving out freebies from the state’s revenues and neglected development. The growth recorded by the state was due to its good infrastructure, including three major ports, good-quality road networks, a strong civil service, and a vast pool of educated people. 

• Chief Ministers like Annadurai, MGR, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa rarely travelled abroad and were not too familiar with the spectacular economic transformation brought about by technology; nor did they encourage their cabinet colleagues and civil servants to keep abreast of such developments. 

• Worst of all, through these 50 years, the leadership institutionalised corruption. This has made it easy for neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and even distant Gujarat and Haryana, to attract Tamil Nadu business leaders to set up shop in their states. Cognizant’s Lakshmi Narayanan narrated the remarkable speed with which a project application for Telengana was cleared through e-filing: “when in the traditional routine, a project chief visited Hyderabad for follow-up, the concerned official told him that there was no need for it; when the visitor insisted, the official opened the net, showed him the progress made in respect of the application on the screen, told him that the clearance will be made in two days. And it did!” 

In contrast, in Tamil Nadu, except for a few prestigious multinational companies, clearances for registration, acquisition of land, power, water connection and a host of other permits take time and money. 

The new chief minister K Palanisamy would do well to realise that the long years of garnering votes by charismatic leaders has ended; that the scope of offering freebies is saturated; and that buying votes through cash has lost its shelf life.  From now on, efficient quality governance, transparent and free from corruption alone, will matter. 


Costly confrontation....

Under Jayalalithaa, the state had been on a course of confrontation with the Centre. She developed an instinctive resistance to any and every development scheme of the Centre, eg. the elevated highway project connecting the Chennai and Ennore Ports, the gas pipeline project connecting Kochi with Bengaluru, introduction of GST, the coal bed methane and other hydrocarbon projects...  All these have caused enormous losses in terms of missed opportunities. There are welcome signs that the state is finally changing course. The chief minister would do well to build more cordial relations; neighbour Chandrababu Naidu exemplifies the benefits of such an approach. 


Un-involved business leaders

A large part of the blame  should also be shared by the industry associations, business leaders and think tanks (where are they?). In the meeting with the Railway Minister, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of CII (SR) and Chairman of Tamil Nadu CII were content to buttonhole Prabhu and did not point to the neglect of the state on railway development. 

In matters relating to hard-core economic issues, neither the associations nor the business leaders raised their voice. They should be familiar with the humongous benefits derived by Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi in using natural gas as fuel and feedstock. Gujarat is estimated to account for over 60 per cent of gas consumed by the country to such effect! Large capacity fertiliser plants, power plants, pharma and chemical units, glass and ceramic tiles units, public transportation, piped domestic consumption in Gujarat are all based on gas. 

In 2010, the Parliament announced the construction of the national gas grid, entrusting GAIL the job to connect Dabhol in Maharashtra and Kochi in Kerala to make gas available to Karnataka, Kerala and western parts of Tamil Nadu. Reliance was given the task to lay the pipeline to bring gas from Kakinada to other parts of Tamil Nadu.  The works were to be completed by 2012. Five years later, it is yet to materialise. The industry, which would be a major beneficiary of this rich resource, has been deafeningly silent. 

I look forward to seeing the associations queuing up to invite the new chief minister for their meetings. For a change, they should get over simply offering the CM bouquets and give their views on issues of development that cry for attention. 

Reported On :
Sector :
Shoulder :
IE, the business magazine from south was launched in 1968 and pioneered business journalism in south. Through the 45 years IE has been focusing on well-presented and well-researched articles. When giants in the industry stumbled to keep pace with the digital revolution, IE stayed affixed embracing technology.
Read more
Economist Communications Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.
Read more
You agree that your use of this Website and the purchase of the magazine will be governed by these terms and conditions.
Read more
S-15, Industrial Estate,
Chennai - 600 032.
PHONE: +91 44 22501236