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