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