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CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Plummeting profits of PSBs Shale gas and its shallow future Another Indian music maestro at the UN Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Nuclear power at the nucleus A welcome initiative by the judiciary Should we change the official year? Five star activism stalls development activity TGS- The king storyteller L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Delhi is distant A think tank for Chennai Make standards certification mandatory... Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! No engine for this car TELANGANA at last…BUT When nations steal growth from one another… Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector EEC at the National Media Centre A proud Madrasi Put expensive assets created to use... Rahman at CIC Editor's Notes A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Tribute – UCAL Selvan… TIAM turns a full cycle An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Solar, solar everywhere … Contrarian cousins Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Kudos to NDTV... Breaththrough in malaria control Moily’s bold thrust IPL - no surprise this scam Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Kulandai was a giant Wise Presidents An inexplicable neglect IPL type auction for VCs? Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW GM Technology at last! Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? More heat than light IAS invades NDDB... Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Tax agriculture Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Waning interest in public discussions… An enemy’s enemy is a friend B H Kothari - a tribute Align crops to agro climate endowments… Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Road development slows down Paytm karo... …and of a popular trade leader Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai 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 Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... 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More Shakthi to Das’ elbow More tributes to GR Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL West Bengal: mindless malignancy Kinetic Karnataka Music happens Shanti and Sadhana through Music When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Solar thermal shines… Polls and promises Medical costs hit the roof... Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... Mu Sigma – is no more Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Shipping woes of Chennai companies Lalu’s envy, India’s pride When Ratan Tata visited SRM EVM is tamper-proof A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Modi and the lady Strengthen the base... Welcome focus on core competence The rise and fall of Annamalai University Muffled voices for merit… Airlines in India: cost and space More Shakti to resource mobilisation... When online building permits work…. 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Fortune for Indian Airlines The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Where a state respects its litterateurs… Gay abandon in pricing Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Cutting the nose to spite the face He saved millions from starvation... Excel Generators provide the vital back-up The sea- saw battle continues... Revive development banks... Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Tatas moving out of urea production... Making ‘my Amaravati’... Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... CII projects higher growth… SoA @ 80 Intellectual of rare qualities Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Delhi Chalo... Where is Rajaji? Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami The star of Spencers is no more Multi-faceted Venkat Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks The why of tax incentives Preserving for the future PC’s preference for professionals Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan The brown list of Venkitaramanan F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Tribute Secularism and anti-Hinduism Pharma – overdose of copying The nuclear option Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health When small is no larger beautiful.. Auto components surge… Parliament in paralysis... ONGC at KG Basin Building loyalty through the stomach TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC...
 
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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