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