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Tribute – UCAL Selvan… Medical costs hit the roof... A professional at the helm of IRDA... A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Road development slows down Gas is the way forward CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Sweet news for TN sugar mills New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… A rich pool of talent not utilised…. A welcome initiative by the judiciary ONGC at KG Basin No Maha Koottani in TN... Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Streamlining mandatory third party cover This scant respect for Law How Air-India loses customs... The few handicaps... Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Editor's Says MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways EVM is tamper-proof Tatas moving out of urea production... Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... More heat than light Boy, can you beat these? Strengthen the base... 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Adharma of opposition politics Tribute Discoms deserve better… Shipping woes of Chennai companies Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ A more liberated TN… No engine for this car Shanti and Sadhana through Music Kinetic Karnataka S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Revving up the manufacturing sector West Bengal: mindless malignancy A yen for wastage… The Jan Dhan bonanza 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 Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Things happen by accident and not by design... Which side are you, Montek? 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Delhi is distant Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Polls and promises An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Delhi Chalo... Breaththrough in malaria control Why this malaise in medical education? Modi storms Silicon Valley Quality silica from Neyveli When small is no larger beautiful.. Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Russi Mody – a tribute Silver Years of Madras Musings Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Alexa – Talking Wikipedia A proud Madrasi Making ‘my Amaravati’... The balancing act The power-full Hindujas Intellectual of rare qualities Quality education through the PPP mode When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's He saved millions from starvation... Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! London, London Narayan Fortune for Indian Airlines Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai Parliament in paralysis... IPL - no surprise this scam …and of a popular trade leader Align crops to agro climate endowments… S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Engineering seats go abegging Secularism and anti-Hinduism The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more SoA @ 80 Auto components surge… Music happens The star of Spencers is no more Funding the un-funded L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! 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The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Poor quality of university VCs The rise and rise of KCP Plummeting profits of PSBs Preserving for the future Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Cutting the nose to spite the face Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Wise Presidents Editor's Notes Welcome GST Lalu’s envy, India’s pride All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Fuel for thought Rahman at CIC Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Fortune 500 review TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector IPL type auction for VCs? Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Should we change the official year? Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Tribute – M V Murugappan EEC at the National Media Centre GNS - 100: our first subscriber The sea- saw battle continues... No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Revive development banks... Shale gas and its shallow future Remembering Indira Sivasailam... The why of tax incentives Small units prefers to remain small... Cement prices continue to rise… Building loyalty through the stomach Put expensive assets created to use... Where is Rajaji? Welcome focus on core competence Contrarian cousins Tax agriculture For whom the bell tolls? The nuclear option For whom the MIDS bell tolls? IAS invades NDDB... Build close rapport with business leaders
 
The brown list of Venkitaramanan

Such a facility has also been utilised by powerful corporates and wealthy educational institutions exploiting the loopholes in the legal system and delaying decisions as long as possible. Of course, these could afford the services of legal luminaries at exorbitant fees.

I remember such luminaries helped large corporates like ITC to defer tax liability over long periods in the 1980s. One of the issues was the excise duty levied on goods produced. ITC and large vehicle manufacturers like Tata Motors used to transfer stocks to warehouses in different states paying excise duty on factory gate manufacturing costs that were kept low. The costs were marked up from the warehouses to distributors and dealers ends causing sizeable losses in excise revenue. These added up to around Rs 800 crore plus for ITC alone. Large number of other manufacturers of goods followed this practice by resorting to litigation. Legal luminaries like N A Palkivala provided needed relief to the corporates. The plea of the tax collectors had no effect and the economy went downhill reaching the nadir in 1991. 

The brilliant civil servant S Venkitaramanan thought of dealing with these in an unconventional way. As finance secretary, he sat over the files of the Tatas who had to get the government’s clearance for importing a mothballed steel plant from Europe. This had to be done within a deadline and the file wouldn’t move. Venkitaramanan succeeded in persuading the company to cough up a portion of the disputed bulging tax claims! When he was asked at the Economic Editors’ Conference whether it was a sort of a black listing of such firms, in his characteristic humour he responded: “you can call it the brown list.” 

Like what Jerome K Jerome said, the method may be crude but it was effective.



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