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

The NDA II government has been taking strong action against political bigwigs, bureaucrats and business leaders on charges of corruption. The conviction of the former Coal Secretary, H C Gupta to a two year jail term by a special court for corruption in allotting a coal block to a private company has, understandably, been protested by the IAS Association. 

An ex-civil servant pointed to the risk of senior bureaucrats not taking decisions on crucial issues on fears of such punishment even for errors of judgment on honest appraisals. I remember the time when ministers and senior civil servants took bold decisions with the objective of economic development. In the 1950s and 1960s R Venkataraman, as Minister of Industry, Tamil Nadu, encouraged the state industrial development corporations to obtain licences and to offer these to  prospective entrepreneurs. 

Several of the civil servants even took bold to differ with the minister. I cite an instance of K P Geethakrishnan as TN Industry Secretary and K Venkatesan as Finance Secretary resisting the direction of Chief Minister MGR to clear the proposal to set up the bagasse- based Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Ltd. They pointed to the risk involved in the state committing over Rs 250 crore on a single project based on unproven technology. MGR had to transfer these out of their posts to get the project cleared!

Dozens of projects cleared in the joint sector by the state development corporations failed causing considerable losses. But neither the civil servants nor the political leadership were blamed for these. Of course, times were different: the level of honesty of the politicians and the bureaucrats across the board was pretty high and integrity beyond reproach. 

The coal allocation case is different. Persons totally unconnected with the coal sector jumped into the fray, eg. Minister S Jagatrakshakan applied for such a licence for a company registered in Puducherry. We also had earlier the instance of the property developer, Unitech, successfully bidding for a telecom licence and later selling it at a huge profit to Nortel. There is the responsibility on the part of senior bureaucrats to exercise due caution on such speculative bidders. In the case of the coal scam, such diligent scrutiny seems to be missing and bureaucracy at the top seems to have failed in the whole exercise resulting in a scam of gargantuan proportions.



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