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