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Where a state respects its litterateurs… Should we change the official year? Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad A professional at the helm of IRDA... Tough task taking states together Mu Sigma – is no more Kulandai was a giant The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Waning interest in public discussions… When nations steal growth from one another… Another Indian music maestro at the UN ONGC at KG Basin EEC at the National Media Centre West Bengal: mindless malignancy Preserving for the future More tributes to GR Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Valli, they are more marginalised Fortune for Indian Airlines No Maha Koottani in TN... Making ‘my Amaravati’... Banning booze... When small is no larger beautiful.. Multi-faceted Venkat Small units prefers to remain small... Make standards certification mandatory... PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Maximising the micro pricing … A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Tatas moving out of urea production... Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel The Gulf aviation boom Convulsions in The Hindu Telangana in top gear… Paytm karo... Polls and promises Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Building loyalty through the stomach CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Medical costs hit the roof... Return to king coal for urea... Strengthen the base... Shanti and Sadhana through Music Contrarian cousins Intellectual of rare qualities Robber barons everywhere A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… 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 Gay abandon in pricing IPL - no surprise this scam The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Fuel for thought Marketing expert Balagopal is no more When Ratan Tata visited SRM Modi storms Silicon Valley Align crops to agro climate endowments… No engine for this car Kinetic Karnataka Boy, can you beat these? Solar, solar everywhere … Discoms deserve better… China invests in India Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Solar thermal shines… Russi Mody – a tribute Funding the un-funded S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? 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Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai SoA @ 80 Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Editor's Notes Nuclear power at the nucleus Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! How Air-India loses customs... TGS- The king storyteller Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Quality education through the PPP mode R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital The brown list of Venkitaramanan Secularism and anti-Hinduism Cement prices continue to rise… When the President was rendered homeless… Build close rapport with business leaders Vibrant Gujarat CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Towards speedy justice For whom the bell tolls? The few handicaps... TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... GM Technology at last! More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Computation of GDP – conundrums continue IAS invades NDDB... A yen for wastage… Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School The power-full Hindujas Quality silica from Neyveli Engineering seats go abegging Parliament in paralysis... The star of Spencers is no more Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW The sea- saw battle continues... Modi and the lady PC’s preference for professionals Come elections, come advertisements... A more liberated TN… S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways An enemy’s enemy is a friend More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Auto components surge… CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra IPL type auction for VCs? A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Delhi is distant… Muffled voices for merit… Things happen by accident and not by design... Mersal magnified L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… WTO Meet: resolved to meet again All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS This scant respect for Law Why land prices zoom in TN? Gas is the way forward Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL He saved millions from starvation... Silver Years of Madras Musings Protest masters... Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Five star activism stalls development activity The rise and rise of KCP Revving up the manufacturing sector Shale gas and its shallow future No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Delhi Chalo... More heat than light Delhi is distant Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Sweeter prospects for sugar
 
Delhi is distant

Fifty years ago, in 1965-66 Sachindra Choudhry as Finance Minister opted for a steep devaluation of the rupee. The economy was then in dire straits with a severe drought causing a steep fall in food production. Indira Gandhi was struggling to find her feet as the Prime Minister. Keen to explain the government’s policies and to get reactions from the media, she launched the Economic Editors’ Conference (EEC).

The EEC became an annual event inaugurated by the Finance Minister and addressed by a dozen ministers handling economic portfolios, assisted by senior civil servants of the respective departments. The EEC provided an important forum to discuss the impact of economic policies on the different regions. As one attending this from 1973 continuously for four decades, I have found value in this interaction. The forum provided the opportunity to project the impact of policies on different regions and also report on specific needs of regions far removed from Delhi. For instance, at the EEC in 1973, I pointed to the inadequacy of the mining capacity at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation that plunged NLC into continuous underperformance and losses. Mohan Kumaramangalam, the then minister of Steels & Mines, appreciated the query and assured quick redressal. The special sanction that followed for augmenting the mining machinery resulted in NLC emerging as a highly profitable PSU.

 For journalists outside Delhi, the EEC provided an invaluable opportunity to meet with policymakers and discuss policy issues.

 The NDA government has not convened the EEC since it assumed power in 2014 (even in the first NDA government, Jaswant Singh as Finance Minister missed out one).

 The media of Lutyens’ Delhi has not been fair and kind to Narendra Modi and this seems to have conditioned his reflex to keep the media at a distance. But should this also extend to his cabinet colleagues?

 In this light, the Press Information Bureau organised a two-day regional editors’ conference for the Southern States on 1 and 2 September. The Prime Minister has directed his cabinet colleagues to undertake the Tiranga Yatra to explain the highlights of the NDA -2 performance over the last two years. The I&B Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the conference in Chennai along with a photo exhibition to commemorate the country’s 70th independence day. He explained in detail the plans of his Ministry of Urban Affairs with a focus on infrastructure and housing. The Minister for Law and Justice and IT Ravishankar Prasad, known for his articulation, described in detail the Digital India initiative that promises India to leap-frog development.

Two other Union Ministers, Nitin Gadkari and Kiren Rijiju, who were listed to participate did not make it, but senior civil servants of their ministries made detailed presentations. Those on shipping and highways were rich with details on the impressive work done in the development of roads, ports and inland waterways and the focus on the northeast.  The continuous and steep drop in exports due to the global slowdown is a matter of concern. Minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman made a detailed presentation on the efforts made to focus on specific products and specific regions to expand exports. But, like the AIADMK ministers, she laboured on micro issues like areca and copra, missing out on larger issues affecting the Make in India effort.

The programme included a visit to the IIT-Madras Research Park. Dr Ashok Junjunwala made an evocative demonstration of a welcome breakthrough: a 125 kW solar power unit modified to use DC, which can be used to power homes at a low cost and with reduced dependence on grid power. This famous scientist has made invaluable contributions in the telecom and rural development spheres. The IIT-M Research Park that provides for close collaboration between scientists and researchers in the industry and the academy and students of IIT-M, has already produced some innovative products and several applications with great promise.

 

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