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

“Roof tops should not be measured in sq.ft or sq.m. but as KW or MW of solar power they can produce. At Saint Gobain Glass India (SGGI), we have rooftops worth 10 MW. If 10-25 neighbouring companies bigger than us join in the solar power effort, we can install 200-250 MW of power.”

This is from B Santhanam, President-SGGI and Chairman-CII (SR).

Speaking at the dedication of the 25 KW solar power facility at Economist House, Santhanam suggested a four-point agenda: to harness solar power; to manufacture the panels in large scale within the country; imparting skills for this green industry and effectively utilising the massive free electricity extended to agriculture for switching to solar pump sets.

An IIT-IIM alumnus actively involved with IIT-M Research Park, B Santhanam is known to walk his talk.  A decade ago when rainwater harvesting (RWH) was mooted by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to tide over the severe water crisis, BS swung into action and installed extensive facilities to harvest large quantum of rain water falling over the acres of roof tops at his sprawling SGGI facility at Sriperumbudur. The company did not get the quantum of water promised from the nearby Chembarambakkam Lake and thus knew the value of water. The quick installation of RWH facilities including the creation of a large pond helped the company meet a third of its water requirements from this single step.

Santhanam further expanded the concept. The availability of water and large land area acquired to meet expansion, lent for agriculture. As a trustee of the Agriculture Consultancy Management Foundation (ACMF), promoted by IE to improve agriculture productivity, he invited ACMF to develop SGGI land for vegetable cultivation, which has a ready outlet in the company’s canteen. In quick time, farming operations got stabilised to good effect. Corn, brinjal and other vegetables were raised. In this process, he also trained a number of his managers and staff in agriculture practices.  

The logic was simple: agriculture is a short-term operation and does not require permanent structures. The moment industry needs the land for manufacturing, it can be released in quick time.

I do hope as Chairman - CII, Santhanam will persuade thousands of CII members in the southern region to measure the roof tops in terms of KW/MW.

 

Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai-Aur Ek Choli

In 1993, the then reigning diva, Madhuri Dixit, danced in Kalnayak to the sizzling lyric Choli ke peeche kya hai (What is behind the jacket). It aroused a sense of outrage amongst the purists while the neo-class felt that the song was innocuous; it concluded with the answer Dil (Heart). Like her Ek, dho, theen, char in Tezaab, this was a run-away hit.

 More than others, leading English newspapers the jacket idea. Leader Times of India (TOI) popularised the cover jacket advertisement. Other papers, also hungry for advertisements, followed suit. The Hindu now led by several ex-TOI managers, has also adapted this like fish to water. Last year, for a full month, The Hindu invited prospective advertisers and offered them liberal terms for volume advertising. The campaign seems to have been effective if you notice the flourish of such jacket covers in the subsequent months.

The practice seems to have turned a full circle. For decades, TOI and The Hindu featured only classified advertisements on Page 1. Then came the realisation that a newspaper should give prominence to news. Thus dailies turned to featuring topical news, global, national and regional on Page1. That was as it should be. With TOI’s Sameer Jain  re-defining the purpose of a newspaper as business and advertisements, there has been a swift change: advertisements became the be all and end all of the media world. The cover jacket became an important component of the print medium. One soon came across yet another innovation by TOI:  during the 2010 festive season of its Mumbai edition, TOI came with three jacket ads! On 28 April 2013 TOI Chennai edition came with two jacket ads. At this rate one may expect TOI to come out with a series of cover jackets and perhaps some space for news too. One can expect The Hindu and the other dailies will follow the leader.

So, Choli ke peeche aur ek choli.

 

Can ET become FT?

Presenting the Shriram-Sanlam awards for excellence in financial journalism, Finance Minister P Chidambaram(PC) said that he considered Financial Times of London as the best business newspaper. He pointed to the expert knowledge, analysis and a strong complement of writers, correspondents and columnists FT has  drawn globally. “Our business papers should strive to reach the standard set up by Financial Times,” he suggested.

The recipient of the Life Time Achievement Award Swaminathan Aiyar pointed to the handicaps suffered by Indian media: their heavy dependence on the advertisers that conditions objectivity and also widen the coverage, he said.

Aiyar, known for his sharp comments and global perspectives, has worked with Times of India, Eastern Economist, Financial Express and is now a Consulting Editor of Economic Times. With his experience spanning close to five decades, he is familiar with the increase in the clout of advertisers. His boss Sameer Jain, more than others, demonstrated the dispensability of the editor. Remember his showing the door for Dilip Padgaonkar when the latter attempted to assert the rights of the editor? He has also seen the same Padgaonkar returning to the paper as a Consultant Editor /Columnist on terms suggested by the boss.

 

Inlaws and outlaws

With the power of the advertisers, today one does not come across many critical stories of corporate shenanigans. Aiyar pertinently pointed out that the Ranbaxy story emanated in the US media and not in India.

I remember a similar yearning: at a Madras Management Association (MMA) meeting, Dr  S P Thyagarajan, then Vice Chancellor  Madras University,  made a brilliant presentation on the record of the university. Renowned educationist Dr. M Anandakrishnan, former Vice Chancellor of Anna University who presided over the meeting, was asked: when can an Indian university - academic institution gain the reputation of a Harvard or a MIT? His answer was poignant: in a system where appointments of vice chancellors were directed by political leaders and when university vice chancellors are the sons,daughters and daughters-in-law of the promoters/proprietors and most of whom are politicians or small time businessmen, how can this happen?

 

MSP, the Association Man...

For over four decades M S Parthasarathy (MSP) was the voice of small scale enterprises. Establishing close rapport with policy makers, MSP forcefully represented the needs of the small sector, that was for long much touted for its priority status. With the benign patronage and lead of R Venkataraman in the 1950s and 1960s Tamil Nadu emerged the leader in the development of the small scale industry.  MSP was essentially an association man.  He revelled in his advocacy of the sector through hectic lobbying. He headed the Industrial Estate Manufactures Association, Guindy, the Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association at the state level and the Federation of Association of Small Industries of India at the national level. His services were sought and liberally utilised by the state and national level policy makers. When his term as president ended at FASII, he formed new associations like the Small Industries Business Entrepreneurs Association and the National Confederation of Small Industries. He continued his links with policy makers.

On the liberalised era much of the sheen of the small industry enjoying priority status had vanished. Banks and financial institutions quietly withdrew the priority status in terms of lower rate of interest and other subsidies. For its part the small sector also failed to graduate into the medium sector; it opted to multiply the number of units and retain its status as small-scale unit to enjoy the exemption limits. These again lost their value when the country opted for a market economy doing away with reservation for the small sector.

MSP would be remembered for the passion and the fervour, with which he promoted the cause of the small sector. Today the situation has changed so drastically that industry associations seem to have lost much of their importance.

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