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

A decade ago, McKinsey report mentioned that a third of fruits and vegetables produced in India are wasted through lack of attention to handling these. The report stated that this wastage is equivalent to the total consumption of such products in the UK. Involved with the Agriculture Consultancy Ma-

nagement Foundation (ACMF) promoted by IE to improve productivity of agriculture, I have watched with dismay that such wastages continue to abound in the farms; in transporting the produce from farm gates to the wholesaler; from the mandis to the retailer and finally to the consumer. Cold chains, much bandied about, are a far cry in a country where power shortages are rampant, pervasive and frequent. There is also the consequent high tariff for power, which makes cold storages so much more expensive and unaffordable by the average farmer. One solution is the quick adoption of techniques followed in developed countries. China has done this effectively, inviting large multinationals to extend technology for achieving quantum jumps in productivity of crops like potato; more importantly, in establishing a highly sophisticated system of handling the produce.

The liberalisation of retail trade is expected to attend to this. But the familiar paralysis of governance in Delhi has not enthused large retail chains to set up shop in India with any sense of urgency. Several regional leaders including Arvind Kejriwal are against liberalisation of retail trade. Hopefully, a new government at the Centre by mid 2014 would have sufficient power to focus on such vital issues.

Even while I express concern over this issue, I noticed more callous wastage in that haven for efficiency, the USA. I visited an apple orchard near Boston. There are several of these large private orchards spread over vast areas. They raise a large variety of apples. Adopting scientific practices, they produce in profuse quantities. Of course, they suffer from the problem of high cost of labour to manage these. Mechanisation, which is pervasive in most other aspects of US industry and  agriculture, has not been possible for plucking such fruits.

Private orchards resort to making money through tourism offering the opportunity for visitors spend time at the orchards and pluck the fruits.  For an entrance fee of $ 14, the visitor is provided a bag. He/she can pluck and fill these with apples and pears.  Tractor-trailer rides with hay seats take the visitors (for an additional fee) through different parts of the orchards raising several varieties of the fruits. Instructions are also given on the method of plucking the fruits.

All this is exciting. But, sadly, I noticed humongous wastage by amateurish plucking. On a rough estimate, I found more than half the produce was wasted.

There are well-organised orchards in India where attention is paid to reducing such wastage. Reliance Industries offers an excellent example. In Jamnagar, along side its two world-class refineries, the company has set up a sprawling mango orchard. Thousands of mango trees are raised on scientific basis under the direction of expert scientists and managers. The trees are pruned to a height of less than 10 feet in beautiful canopy shape. A lot of research inputs are made to extend the season as also expand variety and improve quality. The normal wastages seen in traditional orchards of tall trees suffering bird and squirrel bites are avoided. In quick time, the company established a flourishing export market for mangoes.

The lesson is clear: as in other aspects of the economy, agriculture needs science, technology and management. That is possible only by agglomeration of thousands of small land holdings. Punjab and Rajasthan have amended land acts permitting lease of land for 15 years and more. It’s time other states follow this.

 

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