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

During the regime of J Jayalalithaa (JJ) as chief minister, there was a sense of fear. Criticism of her autocratic decisions was muted. Her ruthlessness in foisting cases against dissenters and critics effectively silenced sections of society, including the intelligentsia, the media and leaders of the opposition to voice freely their opinions.  

JJ had scant regard for media and used the power of government’s advertising to condition these. Large sections of media, including The Hindu and Dinamalar, were shackled by the advertisement policy that squeezed their advertisement rates. Periodicals were kept out of the government’s advertising. Everything was claimed to be her deed. Even in her addresses the subjective, “I made this,” “I brought this” or “I implemented this” was dominant. The civil service, business leaders and sections of intelligentsia opted to fall in line and avoided criticism of even widespread corruption and anti-development policies.  

Look at the scene today: media seems so liberated! Every minister, senior or junior, MLAs and other party functionaries readily participate in media discussions and freely voice their opinions. The state, dominated by film personalities for over five decades, looks to Rajnikanth for salvation. Actor Kamal Haasan who suffered grievously by the spoke put on the release of his  magnum opus Viswaroopam with demands for unreasonable cuts in the film cleared by the Censor Board, is today hypercritical. Like the PMK leader Ramadoss and DMK leader MK Stalin, he comes out with daily doses of criticism of current political developments.  

The three way split of the AIADMK and a weak leadership encourage different sections of society to give vent to their concerns and agitate for the sectoral demands. This seems to progress in endless streams, from the demand for Jallikattu to opposing NEET, to driving ONGC out of the state… 

The last one is grossly anti-development. Agriculture can never ever provide the type of returns that can come out of oil or gas fields. Exploring these is possible only in limited areas endowed with these. The transformation of several countries and regions has been the result of  production of oil and gas. 

 

Can it be oil vs agriculture? 

Importantly for Tamil Nadu, with its highly fragmented land, agriculture has been accounting for a very small share in its gross domestic product - just around 8 per cent. With the severe shortage of water and with an average land holding at just 2 acres, the state should reconcile to maximising its endowments in the secondary and tertiary sectors of industry and services. There should be serious efforts to agglomerate landholdings permitting leasing land over 15 years and more without alienating ownership. This will facilitate application of science and technology to make agriculture remunerative. The talk of doubling agriculture incomes without such a major structural change has little meaning. 

Dr M S Swaminathan set up a research centre in Chennai and has been active in the state for close to three decades. He headed the state’s Planning Commission for a few years. He has a wide knowledge of agriculture across the nation and the globe. Surprisingly and disappointingly, this renowned scientist and several other knowledgeable persons have not been addressing the serious issue of unremunerative farming, refuse to acknowledge that the emperor is naked and fail to come out with viable solutions.  


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