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

CONCERT, part of the Consumer Association of India, in association with the American Consulate, organised a two-day national seminar on Consumer Product Safety. CAI’s R Desikan and his team presented a number of specialists from the government and industry, as also experts from the US and UK on the subject that has not received the attention it deserved.

Even in the country where today the consumer is truly the king, the United States, the movement attracted attention only post 1960: US was then enjoying the post war boom. The automobile industry was performing in top gear. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were on the top of global corporates. Ralph Nader was making a critical analysis of road accidents that were taking a heavy toll of human lives. He took the automobile manufactures to court, charging them that their vehicles were unsafe at any speed. And he succeeded! That was the birth of the organised consumer movement.

In India, with scarcity of goods and services, for decades it was considered a privilege to be sold a product. Knowledge of engineering and standards were confined to reputed corporates. Thus, the standards were set largely by representatives of the industry. Understandably, these standards were minimal. Cement manufacturers, for instance, set the standard to the minimum. When in the early 1980s the government permitted import of cement, there was a scramble for Korean cement of high quality delivered in tamper-proof paper bags. Very slowly Indian manufac-

turers reconciled to labelling 33, 43 and 53 grade cement and for years there was no adequate information on relating cement strength to the need. The same extended to other commodities like steel, where manufacturers graded these without adequately explaining the rationale for opting higher grades at, of course, higher prices irrespective of the need.

For decades, manufacturers of refrigerators and air-conditioners delayed introduction of CFC-free coolants that were mandatary over four decades ago in Europe, US and other countries. Again, they provided little information on power consumption, safety and other aspects. Even today, standards of electrical goods are kept to the minimum with little guarantee on stipulated performance.

IE had pleaded for mandatory standards for a large number of products, over three decades ago. I am therefore happy that the seminar demanded bringing much larger number of products under mandatory standards.

 

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