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