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