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