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

During the regime of J Jayalalithaa (JJ) as chief minister, there was a sense of fear. Criticism of her autocratic decisions was muted. Her ruthlessness in foisting cases against dissenters and critics effectively silenced sections of society, including the intelligentsia, the media and leaders of the opposition to voice freely their opinions.  

JJ had scant regard for media and used the power of government’s advertising to condition these. Large sections of media, including The Hindu and Dinamalar, were shackled by the advertisement policy that squeezed their advertisement rates. Periodicals were kept out of the government’s advertising. Everything was claimed to be her deed. Even in her addresses the subjective, “I made this,” “I brought this” or “I implemented this” was dominant. The civil service, business leaders and sections of intelligentsia opted to fall in line and avoided criticism of even widespread corruption and anti-development policies.  

Look at the scene today: media seems so liberated! Every minister, senior or junior, MLAs and other party functionaries readily participate in media discussions and freely voice their opinions. The state, dominated by film personalities for over five decades, looks to Rajnikanth for salvation. Actor Kamal Haasan who suffered grievously by the spoke put on the release of his  magnum opus Viswaroopam with demands for unreasonable cuts in the film cleared by the Censor Board, is today hypercritical. Like the PMK leader Ramadoss and DMK leader MK Stalin, he comes out with daily doses of criticism of current political developments.  

The three way split of the AIADMK and a weak leadership encourage different sections of society to give vent to their concerns and agitate for the sectoral demands. This seems to progress in endless streams, from the demand for Jallikattu to opposing NEET, to driving ONGC out of the state… 

The last one is grossly anti-development. Agriculture can never ever provide the type of returns that can come out of oil or gas fields. Exploring these is possible only in limited areas endowed with these. The transformation of several countries and regions has been the result of  production of oil and gas. 

 

Can it be oil vs agriculture? 

Importantly for Tamil Nadu, with its highly fragmented land, agriculture has been accounting for a very small share in its gross domestic product - just around 8 per cent. With the severe shortage of water and with an average land holding at just 2 acres, the state should reconcile to maximising its endowments in the secondary and tertiary sectors of industry and services. There should be serious efforts to agglomerate landholdings permitting leasing land over 15 years and more without alienating ownership. This will facilitate application of science and technology to make agriculture remunerative. The talk of doubling agriculture incomes without such a major structural change has little meaning. 

Dr M S Swaminathan set up a research centre in Chennai and has been active in the state for close to three decades. He headed the state’s Planning Commission for a few years. He has a wide knowledge of agriculture across the nation and the globe. Surprisingly and disappointingly, this renowned scientist and several other knowledgeable persons have not been addressing the serious issue of unremunerative farming, refuse to acknowledge that the emperor is naked and fail to come out with viable solutions.  


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