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

Protest protests

In a highly populated country like India, with a high degree of political consciousness, it has been possible to mobilise support for each and every cause.

Look at the experience of Tamil Nadu over the last year. The prolonged protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant; groups of Muslims marching into the American Consulate in Chennai, protesting against a film by a little-known American; the agitation against screening of the film Viswaroopam; farmers’ protests against laying of the Kochi-Bengaluru gas pipeline in Tirupur; the clash between Pattali Makkal Katchi and Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi on inter-caste marriages; opposition to the divestment of shares of Neyveli Lignite Corporation; the several protests against rights being denied to Sri Lankan Tamils by the Rajapakse government and protests against the visit of Sinhalese to Tamil Nadu. The list is only illustrative.  A recent report mentioned Tamil Nadu topping the list for such agitations thanks to the ability of the leaders to mobilise people, on specific issues.

Activists may justify such protests as an expression of democratic dissent. However, they cause widespread damage to the peace and tranquility of civil society. In several cases, like the Kudankulam agitation, they have huge economic implications. The production loss suffered by the nuclear power plant is valued at Rs 14.4 crore per day.

The three-year delay in commissioning the project exceeds the total cost of the project. The felicity with which parties opposed to the government join hands to voice protests make it difficult for the government to enforce law. There is need for a higher degree of tolerance and appreciation of the other point of view.


Policy change to step up investments

Every time I meet B Muthuraman (BM), Vice Chairman, Tata Steel, I get a sharp perspective on the global steel scene. An incurable optimist, BM also used to be quite upbeat on the prospects for India rapidly expanding its steel capacity. He passionately spearheaded Tata Steel’s expansion of  capacity almost four times in a short period and was part of the company’s illustrious team to help it emerge a global producer. He expanded his horizons when he served as President of CII during 2011-12.

I was, therefore, sad to note his  not being enthusiastic over the current state of affairs. He pointed to delays in getting clearances from the various fronts for new projects. The Odisha project of Tata Steel on which he has been working for close to a decade, is a case in point. Phase I of the 6 MT capacity plant is expected to be commissioned only in 2014.

The experience of the South Korean steel giant Posco Steel for its 12 MT capacity steel plant is worse. Opposition from the local population on land acquisition  has stalled this project with potential investment of over Rs 50,000 crore. This despite strong support from the state government.         There is finally news on the completion of the land acquisition process. For Odisha, a state very rich in minerals, such a project can promise jobs and handsome revenues. Yet, unfortunately, several precious years were lost on just the preliminaries. Posco steel offered to set up another 6 MT steel plant at Gadag district in Karnataka as a follow-up to the Global Investors Meet 2010 organised to solicit large FDI. The company deposited Rs 60 crore towards land acquisition. Three years later, Posco Steel was unable to acquire the needed land.

There was also the paralysis  in administration caused by the mining scam of Karnataka. While the administration was enthusiastic about the prospects for a handsome FDI flow through such large projects, the political leadership has not been able to tackle opposition from the locals. Posco with its bitter experience in Odisha, did not feel equal to facing another prolonged battle. The company has withdrawn its plan to set up its second steel plant in India.

The UPA II government, which has been announcing relaxations in its FDI, has failed miserably in tackling issues at the ground level. Several thousand crores of rupees of promised investments are not being made or are idle through severe policy deficiencies relating to issues like land acquisition and allocation of mines. Tata Steel abandoned a Rs 3000 crore titanium project in southern Tamil Nadu after a ten-year ordeal. Several such examples further depress the enthusiasm of investors to invest in large projects. They will increasingly prefer to look for acquisitions or mergers, which may not add much to investment flows.

I am particularly worried over the impact of such withdrawal of projects by multinationals like Posco and the Tatas in the southern states, which have long been considered progressive and investor-friendly. Over a year ago, S Mahalingam, the then CFO of TCS, mentioned the distinct waning of interest on the part of IT industry to invest in the state due to the very high cost of land. The great enthusiasm with which the southern states welcomed the SEZs has also vanished.

The governments at the Centre and the states would do well to resolve the issues of land acquisition, relief and rehabilitation in quick time.

 



Revamp agriculture before promising food security...

There have been wide criticism on the Food Security Ordinance, which appears to be a major platform for the Congress party for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. FSB requires 80 MT of foodgrains per annum and an outlay of around Rs 120,000 crore. In the light of the slow growth in food production, averaging less than three per cent per annum, procuring and distributing this huge volume of foodgrains will pose a serious challenge. Some 50 years after the setting up of the Food Corporation of India, the public distribution system has not been efficiently managed across the country. There is a problem of identification of the beneficiaries. Tamil Nadu chose the easy option of making the scheme universal: the state offers 20 kg of rice free of cost to all eligible ration-card holders in the state. Again, there are other states that offer rice or wheat at low prices. In this background, the offer of rice at Rs 3 per kg and wheat at Rs 2 per kg is not unique. Voters thus, may not find the new scheme any better.

There is the additional problem of procuring, storing and delivering this large volume, which is much higher  than at the present levels.

With the procurement drive sucking in bulk of the marketable surplus of farmers, there is also the danger of shortages in the open markets leading to higher prices. Even while Tamil Nadu’s experience provides a warning: rice is freely offered by the state, involving a huge annual subsidy of over Rs 4000 crore; but the open market price of rice of finer varieties have shot up in excess of Rs 50 per kg.

Sadly, the obvious solution, of  a massive step up in production, is not receiving the needed attention. With productivity levels so low, there is enormous scope for stepping up production. All it needs is a focus on the application of science, technology and management, along with efforts to agglomerate the small land holdings. The Punjab and Rajasthan governments’ approach of permitting lease of land for over 15 years, without alienating ownership needs to be replicated.

IE reiterates its suggestion of doubling the target of food production to 500 MT by 2020.


Need to focus on manufacturing

“25 per cent of world’s total export is made up of hi-tech capital goods. But India’s share in this is negligible,” said T C A Ranganathan, CMD, Export Import Bank of India.

Delivering a special address at the 177th Annual General Meeting of Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ranganathan stressed the importance of India emerging strong as a manufacturer of high quality engineering products. He suggested that industry should utilise the present slow down of the global economy to weed out inefficiencies and gear up manufacturing capacity.

I met the Exim Bank Chairman at his sprawling office at the World Trade Centre, Mumbai. For several years in the past, IE has been organising special seminars on trade issues in cooperation with Exim Bank. In these, several companies assisted by Exim Bank presented case studies on Exim Bank’s expertise and assistance.

These have been of value to the entrepreneurs of the region, especially from the medium and small scale sector. Ranganathan’s special knowledge on emerging economies in Africa and Asia will be of special interest.


 

Can’t compete? Copy.

I have been pointing to the impact both, desirable and otherwise, of Times of India (TOI) on the 136-year old The Hindu. The welcome features include a much better coverage of local issues, particularly those relating to the civic problems of Chennai metro. The recent series of articles in The Hindu under the title Who Cares, pointing to the neglect and encroachments of footpaths, is a welcome effort.

 The sustained campaign of TOI on the bizarre manner of operating auto-rickshaws in Chennai was another welcome effort. For years, auto-rickshaw drivers have been a law unto themselves, fleecing customers and defying law by refusing to charge by the meter. How coolly they had dispensed with the meters! From the usurious capitation fees charged by most private engineering and medical colleges to the plethora of civic issues, TOI has been reporting extensively on issues that impacted severely on the hapless citizens. Happily, the pressure from this peer and leader has influenced the The Hindu, which still accounts for a major share of English newspaper readership in the state.

In another area also one could see the copycat syndrome: of The Hindu massively expanding coverage of film news on the lines of TOI. Of course, TOI has no qualms in presenting a daily fare in its Chennai Times supplement, a portion of which, presumably,  is also paid news.

Press Council Chairman, Markandey Katju, should be looking askance at the full-page analysis in The  Hindu of the Hindi film Raanjhanaa subjecting it to a semantic thesis by several experts spread over a page. I would agree with Katju on the lopsided devotion of space even while a number of burning developmental  issues like a gas pipeline for the south suffers neglect.

I can well understand the impact of TOI - several top managers, including the editor and CEO - are ex-TOI executives.

Former Editor-in-Chief N Ram conceived a sort of ombudsman for the paper: initially ex-employees of The Hindu who had served the paper for decades,were appointed as the Readers’ Editor. The third incumbent, A S Panneerselvam, has better credentials as one from outside. As an active journalist, he seems to perform a greater role as a regular columnist liberally commenting on national and international news relating to media.

Author :
Reported On :
Sector :
Shoulder :
RELATED NEWS
ABOUT IE
IE, the business magazine from south was launched in 1968 and pioneered business journalism in south. Through the 45 years IE has been focusing on well-presented and well-researched articles. When giants in the industry stumbled to keep pace with the digital revolution, IE stayed affixed embracing technology.
Read more
 
PRIVACY POLICY
Economist Communications Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.
Read more
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
You agree that your use of this Website and the purchase of the magazine will be governed by these terms and conditions.
Read more
 
CONTACT US
S-15, Industrial Estate,
Guindy,
Chennai - 600 032.
PHONE: +91 44 22501236
EMAIL: indecom1968@gmail.com