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