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A rich pool of talent not utilised….

I have been pointing to the neglect and unconcern of the Tamil society and its Dravidian governments in power since 1967  in recognising and utilising the services of its brilliant brains at the national and state levels. Look at the contrast provided by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal. The state governments, their respective societies and businesses have been active in spotting and utilising talent. S M Krishna as chief minister invited Infosys’ Narayana Murthy as advisor for prestigious projects like the Bangalore International Airport. Nandan Nilakeni was invited to head the UIDAI. The Kerala administration ensured significant representation, especially of its bureaucracy, in policy-making in Delhi. Tatas provided the expertise of its senior leaders for policy making in Delhi:  S Ramadorai is actively involved as an advisor to the Prime Minister and heads the massive skills development initiative. Chandra Babu Naidu, opting to extend support to the NDA government from outside, made best use of his influence to get for Telugus prestigious posts of Governor of Reserve Bank, chief executive of Maruti Suzuki…

R Seshasayee and V Sumantran, with their brilliant record,  can help in the holistic development of the transport sector. If only the state takes the initiative, it can project these at the national level; but the insular nature of administration in the state keeps policy makers at Delhi away from the state. The adversarial stand taken by Jayalalithaa has resulted in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reluctant to visit the state. Not just the prime minister; but also most Central ministers and senior bureaucrats have not been visiting Tamil Nadu as access to policy makers here is so difficult. Unlike Narendra Modi, Sheila Dixit or Nitish Kumar, chief ministers of Tamil Nadu have been reluctant to participate in major conferences organised by industry associations and by the Union government. This needs change. If the chief minister cannot find time to lend her presence, she can create a strong think tank of bureaucrats and intellectuals from outside government to act on her behalf.


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