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