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The balancing act Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet PC’s preference for professionals Why land prices zoom in TN? The Swadeshi Trump Readers' Mail Sweet news for TN sugar mills 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 London, London Narayan Shanti and Sadhana through Music Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks No engine for this car Quality silica from Neyveli Delhi is distant Discoms deserve better… L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… The star of Spencers is no more When the President was rendered homeless… Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Moily’s bold thrust Tribute – M V Murugappan Muffled voices for merit… CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Shale gas and its shallow future Kudos to NDTV... Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Wanted: a second airport for Chennai When online building permits work…. A yen for wastage… Funding the un-funded TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Computation of GDP – conundrums continue More tributes to GR Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... Russi Mody – a tribute Multi-faceted Venkat Solar, solar everywhere … Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Remembering Indira Sivasailam... West Bengal: mindless malignancy F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Alexa – Talking Wikipedia The why of tax incentives Strengthen the base... 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Cutting the nose to spite the face Music happens Shipping woes of Chennai companies The rise and fall of Annamalai University Nuclear power at the nucleus Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Where a state respects its litterateurs… Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Sri Lanka votes for change A glass full of corruption L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Protest masters... Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Revive development banks... He continues the focus on social amelioration The rise and rise of KCP Align crops to agro climate endowments… Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Contrarian cousins Auto components surge… Silver Years of Madras Musings The nuclear option Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Marketing expert Balagopal is no more When Ratan Tata visited SRM Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara GM Technology at last! 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S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal

For several years I have been suggesting experts on budget to work on a model budget and present it for discussion and consideration around December/January. For several years, noted jurist N A Palkhivala reviewed the salient features of a budget, post its presentation. His addresses drew large crowds and in quick time evolved as a regular talk show in several cities. With the advent of the news television, this circus shifted to the mass media as a form of entertainment and also attracted lot of sponsorships and revenues through advertisements.

I was, therefore, happy this subject receiving attention at the hands of SV Raju (SR), Editor, Freedom First, Honorary Secretary of the Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom and a past President of the Indian Liberal Group. Over a decade ago, he assembled 20 budget specialists including economists, senior retired civil servants and other public-spirited at Nashik. These laboured to produce a draft liberal budget and presented it to the policymakers.

Raju was Executive Secretary of the Swatantra Party for 14 years between 1959 and 1973 and worked closely with Rajaji and Minoo Masani (He authored a political biography of Masani). The Freedom First, now on its 64th year of publication, was a strong platform for liberal thought.

Raju found a kindred soul in Prof S Radhakrishan. He worked along with SR in the project for economic education. I remember the several meetings this project organised in Chennai presided by Raju. Self-effacing and humble, Raju never intruded the viewpoints of the speakers. Former Finance Secretary K P Geethakrishnan, who lent his expertise in the formulation of the liberal budgets, traced the early years of Raju at Coonoor, his shifting to Mumbai and getting deeply immersed in the liberal movement.

In my visits to Mumbai, I have been dropping in at Army Navy Building that housed the Freedom First office of Raju. The octogenarian, himself of frail health, was taking great care of his ailing wife. Raju was greatly concerned over the failure to cultivate a sense of bi-partisanship in the political arena. He suggested that the Speaker of the Parliament should not be from the ruling party or the major opposition. He suggested that these parties should, before the elections, agree on a person with sound training, wisdom and discipline (preferably a retired judge or jurist) to be elected Speaker. He used to ruefully remark that even Nehru did not encourage bipartisanship and referred to his contemptuous rejection of Swatantra Party’s support on the basis of its coming from “a right reactionary party of farmers and rich businessmen.”

Raju was the author of several books on democracy, liberalism, elections… His biographies on Masani and M R Pai and the several essays on the Swatantra Party are reference papers on liberal thought. His recent demise is a blow to liberal thought.

 

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