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

I am happy to find Shaktikanta Das, Union Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry, who belongs to the Tamil Nadu cadre of IAS, in the limelight. Especially after the announcement of demonetisation, he has been articulating the nuances of this revolutionary measure so effectively. He seems to be part of the handful of policymakers behind this plan. He appears to command the trust of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister and has been the principal spokesperson on the progress of the scheme and the several course corrections. 

During his tenure in Tamil Nadu as Industry Secretary, I remember the dynamism and thrust of Das in bringing several large new projects into the state. I make particular mention of the Ford Mahindra project in 1996 that heralded the auto boom in the state. He was working hard at developing the Ennore Port by facilitating the setting up of several industrial units. 

Hailing from Odisha, this upright officer was put on the bench, a fate suffered by several other civil servants. But his transfer to the Centre helped bring out the best in him. 

I  remember such problems encountered by several of his predecessors in Tamil Nadu. K P Geethakrishnan resisted the clearance for one of the large state sector projects, the TNPL, on the grounds of an unproven technology. He was transferred as the Industry Secretary and appointed the CMD of the smallest of the corporations, TANSIDCO, and later appointed as Chairman, SIPCOT. His luck in getting shifted to Delhi saw him record steep growth in his career as Secretary – Environment, later Finance Secretary and thence Executive Director, IMF. 

I see good prospects for Das reaching Washington through this route. 

Das revealed yet another facet of his articulation: at the inaugural session of the Economic Editors’ Conference, a journalist from Chennai was struggling to articulate his query in English. Das intervened and asked him to raise it in Tamil, which the former did. Das responded in Tamil and also translated the Q&A for the benefit of all! Bravo.

If S K Das displayed his linguistic prowess in Tamil so well, Minister of State for Industry & Commerce, Nirmala Sitharaman,  did one better: she answered queries from correspondents in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English with equal felicity and command!

I raised two questions on the ministry’s performance: the first was in response to her claim on facilitating exports. I cited the instance of a flourishing engineering goods exporter of Tamil Nadu who complained of demand for fat speed-money by port managers to move his containers to the ship. He pointed to incurring an expenditure of Rs 3 lakh per month on this score. The penalty for not coughing up the bribe was detention of the container and demand to open and explain every part inside, entailing massive delays and risk of his losing custom for failure to deliver in time.

The second instance cited related to the AIADMK government’s scheme to offer fans, mixies and grinders to its citizens. If one expected the expenditure of over Rs 2000 crore per annum to benefit industrial units in Ambattur or Coimbatore, one was in for a shock: the entire consignment has been imported from China! 

There was silence for a couple of minutes. The minister then admitted she was speechless!  Rare for this highly articulate minister.

Sitharaman promised to look into the first of the queries and rectify the malaise. Of the second, she said it is a more complicated trade issue.

Author :
Reported On :
Sector :
Shoulder :
IE, the business magazine from south was launched in 1968 and pioneered business journalism in south. Through the 45 years IE has been focusing on well-presented and well-researched articles. When giants in the industry stumbled to keep pace with the digital revolution, IE stayed affixed embracing technology.
Read more
Economist Communications Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.
Read more
You agree that your use of this Website and the purchase of the magazine will be governed by these terms and conditions.
Read more
S-15, Industrial Estate,
Chennai - 600 032.
PHONE: +91 44 22501236