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

The logic of sticking to knitting seems to be impacting large public sector corporations. When such a project was set up in a green field site far removed from major cities, there was the need to provide a vast range of facilities and social infrastructure. For example, when the Rourkela Steel Plant was set up in the 1950s in Odisha, the area lacked basic amenities like housing, roads, power, schools, hospitals, markets, etc. Substantial portion of the initial capital had to be spent on creating these facilities. Over the years the administration had to cope with managing a vast range of activities that had been taking its attention away from the core activity of producing steel. It plunged several public sector corporations into losses. It also resulted in bloating the workforce to levels that became unmanageable.

Tata Steel at one time had a workforce of over 70,000. A large portion of these were engaged in activities that had little to do with the production of steel. eg: managing the township, providing water supply, electricity, maintenance of roads, running schools, hospitals, sports, museum, etc. A bold decision was taken to relieve the company of most of these non-core activities. Aided by the boom in the steel sector post-2000, the company effectively hived off many of these activities to separate institutions and offered liberal VRS packages. In quick time it reduced total workforce by half. Several other corporations followed suit and succeeded in improving productivity per employee and focused on their core activities.

This has become necessary in the context of stiff competition from across the globe. There is pressure to improve incremental capital output ratio and ensure higher productivity per unit of capital employed. This has been achieved by a few sectors like the automobile and auto component industry by taking recourse to a higher degree of automation, vendor development and improving supply chain management.

 

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