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

“Roof tops should not be measured in sq.ft or sq.m. but as KW or MW of solar power they can produce. At Saint Gobain Glass India (SGGI), we have rooftops worth 10 MW. If 10-25 neighbouring companies bigger than us join in the solar power effort, we can install 200-250 MW of power.”

This is from B Santhanam, President-SGGI and Chairman-CII (SR).

Speaking at the dedication of the 25 KW solar power facility at Economist House, Santhanam suggested a four-point agenda: to harness solar power; to manufacture the panels in large scale within the country; imparting skills for this green industry and effectively utilising the massive free electricity extended to agriculture for switching to solar pump sets.

An IIT-IIM alumnus actively involved with IIT-M Research Park, B Santhanam is known to walk his talk.  A decade ago when rainwater harvesting (RWH) was mooted by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to tide over the severe water crisis, BS swung into action and installed extensive facilities to harvest large quantum of rain water falling over the acres of roof tops at his sprawling SGGI facility at Sriperumbudur. The company did not get the quantum of water promised from the nearby Chembarambakkam Lake and thus knew the value of water. The quick installation of RWH facilities including the creation of a large pond helped the company meet a third of its water requirements from this single step.

Santhanam further expanded the concept. The availability of water and large land area acquired to meet expansion, lent for agriculture. As a trustee of the Agriculture Consultancy Management Foundation (ACMF), promoted by IE to improve agriculture productivity, he invited ACMF to develop SGGI land for vegetable cultivation, which has a ready outlet in the company’s canteen. In quick time, farming operations got stabilised to good effect. Corn, brinjal and other vegetables were raised. In this process, he also trained a number of his managers and staff in agriculture practices.  

The logic was simple: agriculture is a short-term operation and does not require permanent structures. The moment industry needs the land for manufacturing, it can be released in quick time.

I do hope as Chairman - CII, Santhanam will persuade thousands of CII members in the southern region to measure the roof tops in terms of KW/MW.

 

Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai-Aur Ek Choli

In 1993, the then reigning diva, Madhuri Dixit, danced in Kalnayak to the sizzling lyric Choli ke peeche kya hai (What is behind the jacket). It aroused a sense of outrage amongst the purists while the neo-class felt that the song was innocuous; it concluded with the answer Dil (Heart). Like her Ek, dho, theen, char in Tezaab, this was a run-away hit.

 More than others, leading English newspapers the jacket idea. Leader Times of India (TOI) popularised the cover jacket advertisement. Other papers, also hungry for advertisements, followed suit. The Hindu now led by several ex-TOI managers, has also adapted this like fish to water. Last year, for a full month, The Hindu invited prospective advertisers and offered them liberal terms for volume advertising. The campaign seems to have been effective if you notice the flourish of such jacket covers in the subsequent months.

The practice seems to have turned a full circle. For decades, TOI and The Hindu featured only classified advertisements on Page 1. Then came the realisation that a newspaper should give prominence to news. Thus dailies turned to featuring topical news, global, national and regional on Page1. That was as it should be. With TOI’s Sameer Jain  re-defining the purpose of a newspaper as business and advertisements, there has been a swift change: advertisements became the be all and end all of the media world. The cover jacket became an important component of the print medium. One soon came across yet another innovation by TOI:  during the 2010 festive season of its Mumbai edition, TOI came with three jacket ads! On 28 April 2013 TOI Chennai edition came with two jacket ads. At this rate one may expect TOI to come out with a series of cover jackets and perhaps some space for news too. One can expect The Hindu and the other dailies will follow the leader.

So, Choli ke peeche aur ek choli.

 

Can ET become FT?

Presenting the Shriram-Sanlam awards for excellence in financial journalism, Finance Minister P Chidambaram(PC) said that he considered Financial Times of London as the best business newspaper. He pointed to the expert knowledge, analysis and a strong complement of writers, correspondents and columnists FT has  drawn globally. “Our business papers should strive to reach the standard set up by Financial Times,” he suggested.

The recipient of the Life Time Achievement Award Swaminathan Aiyar pointed to the handicaps suffered by Indian media: their heavy dependence on the advertisers that conditions objectivity and also widen the coverage, he said.

Aiyar, known for his sharp comments and global perspectives, has worked with Times of India, Eastern Economist, Financial Express and is now a Consulting Editor of Economic Times. With his experience spanning close to five decades, he is familiar with the increase in the clout of advertisers. His boss Sameer Jain, more than others, demonstrated the dispensability of the editor. Remember his showing the door for Dilip Padgaonkar when the latter attempted to assert the rights of the editor? He has also seen the same Padgaonkar returning to the paper as a Consultant Editor /Columnist on terms suggested by the boss.

 

Inlaws and outlaws

With the power of the advertisers, today one does not come across many critical stories of corporate shenanigans. Aiyar pertinently pointed out that the Ranbaxy story emanated in the US media and not in India.

I remember a similar yearning: at a Madras Management Association (MMA) meeting, Dr  S P Thyagarajan, then Vice Chancellor  Madras University,  made a brilliant presentation on the record of the university. Renowned educationist Dr. M Anandakrishnan, former Vice Chancellor of Anna University who presided over the meeting, was asked: when can an Indian university - academic institution gain the reputation of a Harvard or a MIT? His answer was poignant: in a system where appointments of vice chancellors were directed by political leaders and when university vice chancellors are the sons,daughters and daughters-in-law of the promoters/proprietors and most of whom are politicians or small time businessmen, how can this happen?

 

MSP, the Association Man...

For over four decades M S Parthasarathy (MSP) was the voice of small scale enterprises. Establishing close rapport with policy makers, MSP forcefully represented the needs of the small sector, that was for long much touted for its priority status. With the benign patronage and lead of R Venkataraman in the 1950s and 1960s Tamil Nadu emerged the leader in the development of the small scale industry.  MSP was essentially an association man.  He revelled in his advocacy of the sector through hectic lobbying. He headed the Industrial Estate Manufactures Association, Guindy, the Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association at the state level and the Federation of Association of Small Industries of India at the national level. His services were sought and liberally utilised by the state and national level policy makers. When his term as president ended at FASII, he formed new associations like the Small Industries Business Entrepreneurs Association and the National Confederation of Small Industries. He continued his links with policy makers.

On the liberalised era much of the sheen of the small industry enjoying priority status had vanished. Banks and financial institutions quietly withdrew the priority status in terms of lower rate of interest and other subsidies. For its part the small sector also failed to graduate into the medium sector; it opted to multiply the number of units and retain its status as small-scale unit to enjoy the exemption limits. These again lost their value when the country opted for a market economy doing away with reservation for the small sector.

MSP would be remembered for the passion and the fervour, with which he promoted the cause of the small sector. Today the situation has changed so drastically that industry associations seem to have lost much of their importance.

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