Introduction .........................................................2 The Genesis .........................................................2 The SICCI Buildings .............................................2 The Milestones of the SICCI ....................................2 The Strategic Roles of the SICCI...............................2 The Invaluable Contributions of SICCI ....................2 The Synergistic Association with FICCI ....................2 The Presidents of the SICCI.....................................2 Conclusion ...........................................................2
FOREWORD I deem it a privilege to serve as the President of The Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry and release the Commemorative Volume of a unique institution which has completed 100 glorious years of service - the quality and significance of whose work will be remembered long into the future. Itâ€™s not often that an organization or an enterprise gets to celebrate its hundred years of existence. And therefore in the case of SICCI, it marks a memorable period in the history of the organization, and registers the fact that this establishment has grown and prospered with the development of India, and the development of the southern region, in specific, over the years. The contribution of SICCI to the country since Independence is without question, unparalleled and what is more important is that the chamber has held together, in harmony with its members, throughout this period of time. Every given year in the history of the SICCI has its own unique set of events, accomplishments, beginnings and endings. The pages of SICCI Centenary commemorative Volume attempts to cover many of the happenings in its glorious past, including the celebration of SICCI Centenary. Our intention from the outset has been that this volume should be something more than a permanent record of the chamber. We intend it to be, in its own right, an informative illustrated biography speaking volumes of the sacrifice and dedication of the leaders who through SICCI, toiled unceasingly to bring about a holistic industrial and economic change in the southern region, whose fruits we enjoy today. It is fitting that we should keep alive the memory of those pioneers in the centenary of the SICCI, through this volume. More that that, the SICCI continues to honour the memory of those who served the chamber by promoting the economic viability, cultural richness, environmental sensitivity and the social needs of the southern region, today and in the days to come.
INTRODUCTION The completion of one hundred years of any institution is a significant event and in the case of SICCI, the centenary in the year 2010 is quite prestigious, marking an important milestone in the history of this great establishment. The SICCI which had been founded by Indians, run by Indians and for the benefit of Indians, is one of the oldest of its kind in India, and is perhaps the oldest Indian Chamber in the Southern Region. It was established in 1910 by enlightened Indians when the British ruled India. The Chamber has since made significant contributions towards the growth & development of the Indian economy in the pre- and post independence periods.
CHENNAI CITY (MADRAS) â€“ HISTORICAL The history of the Chamber is interlinked with the city of Chennai, and thereafter with South India. Therefore, it is pertinent and interesting to catch a glimpse at the origins and growth of Chennai and the development of trade and industry in the region and also in India as a whole. Despite its rich history, the city of Chennai is fairly young. While history records the arrival of the Portuguese in 1522 at Santhome, the English came to Chennai in 1639 when Francis Day received a grant of land from Venkatadri Nayak after negotiations with Beri Thimmappa. History records the date as 22nd August 1639 and hence the celebrations of Madras week annually. Thus began the fortunes of the East India Company at Chennai. Francis Day thereafter set up the Agency of Andrew Cogan and thereafter began the fortification, which housed the Fort St. George. Beri Thimmappa along with others thereafter built the adjoining areas commonly called Black Town which came to be called George Town. The statue of King George the V, the Emperor of Great Britain, after whom George Town is named, is located near the flower bazaar, not far from the SICCI building and was donated at that time by late Diwan Govindas Chathurbhujadoss, who was one of the Presidents of the SICCI.
Dr. Francis Day, who founded the Agency of Andrew Cogan
The Arrival of the British
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS Thereafter, a series of significant events took place many of which may be of interest such as:
Establishment of the Court of Judicature by Governor Strangnsham Master
Governorship of Elihu Yale and hoisting the flag of England replacing the company flag
Inauguration of the Corporation of Madras
Pophams Broadway established
Railways commence their operations
Commencement of the Madras Harbour and thereafter the establishment of the Port Trust
The Hindu commences publication
Madras Telephones Commences Operations
Benfield Road on which The SICCI Secretariat, at the Indian Chamber Building stands today was named after Mr. Benfield, a leading Engineer during the time of Governor Palk.
Early Trade in Madras
EARLY TRADE What was that which attracted the Europeans, particularly the British, to come to India? If it was spices on the west coast, the east coastâ€™s equivalent of this was good cotton fabric woven around Chennai. Francis Day himself established a factory in 1640 along with Andrew Cogan. The English encouraged weaving and dyeing of this fabric which was exported to England. The fabric produced in Chennai was at least 20% cheaper than those produced elsewhere and was preferred over the fabric produced in Surat. Thus grew the textile industry around Chennai and this thereafter spread to Kanchipuram, Coimbatore and other areas. The Charter Act of 1813 legalised free trade and many English businessmen began to setup businesses in Chennai. Some of the prominent business houses of the times were names such as Parry & Dare (Parrys), Abbott, Binnys, Watts, Arbuthnot to name a few and then were followed by other companies, involved not only in textiles but also in leather, shipping, and banking. Imports from England included steel, woollen goods, and other finished goods. Thus England, following a policy of laissez-faire, became the workshop of the world. Trading necessitated the services of local businessmen, and these moderators who facilitated the trade were bilingual and were called Dubashes. In fact many of the streets in the George Town, such as Thambu Chetty, Sunkurama Chetty and Errabalu Chetty have been named after them. Pachaiappan was another prominent Dubash who had lavished property for good causes such as education. The Armenians were also active in business and the Armenian Street has been named after them. The growth of trade and industry gave rise to new institutions to protect and promote business interests. Chambers of commerce were established in England between 1783-86, and the need was felt by the English in India to establish similar institutions in India. Thus the Bengal Chamber of Commerce was established in 1853 while the Bombay Chamber of Commerce came into being on the 22nd of September 1836. The Madras Chamber of Commerce was established on 29th September 1836 at a meeting by the founding fathers at the office of Binny & Co. in Armenian Street.
TWENTIETH CENTURY â€“ SWADESHI The dawn of the 20th century saw the growth of British business while the growth of Indian business on the other hand was at its mediocre at best. The new era brought about a political awakening all over India. The call of Swadeshi by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, had touched the hearts of all patriotic Indians. Indian businessmen responded to this call and thus began the establishment of khadi, handloom, and other similar cottage industries.
BANKING Another significant event which brought about an awakening of Indian business was the need not only for political independence but also economic freedom which led to the formation of many Indian Banks. Indigenous banking was prevalent and was chiefly among the Pathans, Armenians, Vysyas, Nattukottai Chettiars and Muslims. Although the Regulating Act of 1773 had fixed interest rates with a ceiling of 12%, these were not adhered to because of many factors and the risks involved. The Nattukottai Chettiars were active in indigenous banking not only in the region but also had extended their operations to Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and other places of South East Asia. From the Governmentâ€™s perspective, one significant event was the establishment of the Provincial Bank of Madras, which was the predecessor of the Imperial Bank and the State Bank of India. This was established as far back as 1st July 1843 under Act IX of 1843. Thereafter, other banks such as the Mercantile Bank, Chartered Bank and Grindlays Bank were established. These banks even had overseas operations and had business dealings with the Chettiars and such other indigenous bankers 12
others. Such financing enabled the Chettiars in INDIAN BANK â€“ SWADESHI BANK particular, to emerge as significant providers of The Arbuthnot crisis led to new and radical trade finance in South East Asia. thinking that banking in India needed a closer watch by the Government and public. It was ARBUTHNOT & CO. felt that a bank which operated and collected Arbuthnot & Co. was one of the prominent deposits in India should be fully incorporated bankers at the time. The family of Arbuthnot in India and that Indians be appointed on the were shrewd businessmen who had extensive Board of Directors. There was also the belief connections with India. Gillanders Arbuthnot that the assets of the bank should be made & Co. was a name that was familiar to many. fully transparent and a closer watch be kept However the beginning of the 20th century by Governmental authorities. Even the leading witnessed the weakening of Arbuthnot & Co due Bank of Madras had inadequate representation to its failure to honour creditors, which eventually of Indian businessman. led, to a crisis and on 22nd October 1906 the Thus the failure of Arbuthnot & Co. in 1906 company presented petitions for the declaration of insolvency. Though Sir George Arbuthnot eventually led to the formation of a Swadeshi made valiant efforts to save the institution, he Bank, namely the Indian Bank. On 3rd November was not successful in his endeavours. Of the 1906 a preliminary meeting of prominent citizens three best-known British commercial names in took place at the residence of Mr. V. Krishaswamy 19th Century Madras, when in 1906, one crashed Iyer (High Court Vakil & later Judge) which was (Arbuthnot), a second had to be resurrected by a followed by a public meeting on 2nd December distress sale and the third had to be bailed out 1906 at Mahajana Sabha to establish a Swadeshi by a benevolent benefactor! Numerous European Bank. Thus came into existence a prominent and business houses faced serious crises at the time truly Swadeshi Bank which was aptly christened and alongside them the repurcussions were felt the Indian Bank Limited. The Indian Bank was thereafter formally registered on 5th March 1907 on the Indian side as well. under the Companies Act 1882. The dynamic foresight of Indian businessmen and indigenous 13
bankers also led to the formation of many other banks, such as the Bank of Thajavur, the Kumbokonam City Union Bank, Canara Bank. The successful establishment of the Indian Bank Limited and other Swadeshi Banks must be viewed in the context of the lack of encouragement by the British who perhaps viewed the ascendancy of Indian business as competition. The Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company which was floated in 1906 by V. O. Chidambaram Pillai failed because of the lack of encouragement by the British. There was discouragement meted out even to the Tata Iron and Steel Company which eventually established itself by the encouraging response of prospective Indian shareholders in Bombay. While the English primarily treated India as a source of raw materials and as a
destination for finished products, the search for economic independence encouraged the Indian businessmen to undertake new ventures. Their representations to the Government resulted in the setting up of a new department to look after industries and trade by Lord Curzon. However, a free trader like Lord Morley declined to seriously consider the association of Government with private enterprise. It was against this background of challenging political, economic, social conditions that new Indian enterprises began to emerge. The Morley Minto reforms of 1909 encouraged the participation of Indians, though in a non-official capacity in the legislative councils which were proposed to be enlarged.
The Genesis 15
BIRTH OF THE SICCI It was against this dynamic and ebullient political and economic backdrop that the SICCI was birthed. The Madras Chamber of Commerce was established earlier along the lines of the British Chamber of Commerce to protect British interests in Madras. Further the establishment of the Bharath Chamber of Commerce at Calcutta and Indian Merchants Chamber at Bombay inspired and motivated businessmen in Madras to think of setting up a similar Chamber for Indian businesses in the Southern region to protect and promote their interests. This eventually led to the formation of the SICCI. The first notice of the meeting for the formation of the Chamber was issued on May 29, 1909. The notice went out in Tamil, Telugu and English. The chosen venue for the meeting was the premises of the Indian Bank Limited at â€˜Ramkoti Buildingsâ€™ on the Rattan Bazaar Street. The objective was to incorporate an organisation that could uphold the interests of the indigenous business community.
The inaugural meeting was presided over by Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar. The meeting resulted in the call for membership, a move that was hugely successful. The minimum number of Indian businessmen for membership was set at 100 members. The entrance fee was fixed at Rs. 12 and the monthly subscription at Rs. 2. A committee of 22 members was appointed and Messrs. D. V. Hanumantha Rao Pantulu and Shri Vidya Sagar Pandya, Secretary, Indian Bank Limited, were chosen as provisional Secretaries. From the choice of the very first Hon. Secretaries of the Chamber, history records an inseperable connection between the Southern India Chamber and the Indian Bank, leading to the formation a strong unbroken bond, one that is continuously evolving and mutually beneficial.
LOCATION â€“ CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
up their businesses in this locality and thus wholesale trade in textiles, dyes and chemicals, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, food grains, fruits and vegetables, flowers, bullion and a host of other products flourished. Intrestingly enough, the police station here is called Flower Bazar Police Station. The High Court of Madras located here is another impressive structure, which still stands as a testimony of the significance of this locale.
The location of the SICCI at George Town was quite ideal and strategic as this was the Central Business District. The Madras Port was situated here, while the various shipping companies, clearing and forwarding companies, banks such as Mercantile Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, the Imperial Bank were all located in the neighbourhood. Parry & Company, Binny It is interesting to note that the Channa Kesava Limited, Mettur Beardsell all functioned from Perumal Temple, which was originally situated the George Town area. Many other firms set in the present land of the High Court, was subsequently shifted to a place adjoining Devaraja Mudali Street, NSC Bose Road and Nainiappa Naicken Street. The present Law College premises was the place where the Venetian adventurer Niccolao Manucci lived. Another building of importance in the area is the Pachaiyappas Hall, which was designed on the lines of the historically important Athenian temple of Thesus.
MONOGRAM OF SICCI The monogram of the Chamber is not only an interesting piece of art, but is also rich in its meaning. The lion engraved in the logo is symbolic of the greatness of India as depicted in the Ashoka pillar, is also a sign of courage in action. In business, one needs courage and action, not just to defend oneself against threats from the external environment, but more importantly, to drive forward with boldness in order to survive and to thrive. The image of a factory at the bottom of the monogram signifies industry and commerce which is imperative for economic growth. Progress is represented by the symbols of the ship and the aeroplane. These emphasize the importance of the flow of trade and commerce and the movement of goods and services in a growing economy. The caption “ENTERPRISE WITH CAUTION” signifies the importance of enterprise for the progress of the nation and also provides caution to pause and understand the risks involved before embarking upon any venture. A decision that has been is made on the basis of sound assessment is bound to succeed. The founding fathers appeared to be guided by Thiruvalluvar who in the Thirukkural states – “ carefully consider the goal, the obstacles on the way and the expected profit before taking up an enterprise.” The Chamber has always had faith in the ability of Indian businesses to harness available opportunities and soar to greater heights despite various global challenges, thereby living up to its motto of “ENTERPRISE WITH CAUTION”. Reflecting on the motto at the time of the Platinum Jubilee, Dr. A. C. Muthiah, past president, stated – “Ours therefore been a somewhat humble motto. We shall follow this religiously in the years to come.” This reflection is even profound, at the present time when Indian businessmen have now become multinational giants in the global marketplace,
The Buildings of the Sicci 23
HISTORY OF THE SICCI BUILDINGS RAMKOTI BUILDING – The Beginning The SICCI began its activities in the year 1909 with the first notice for the meeting being sent on 29th May 1909 and the venue of the meeting was “RAMKOTI BUILDING” in Ratan Bazar, George Town, Madras. A further A meeting again took place on 6th October 1909 at which Shri. Pitti Thiagaraja Chettiar was elected as the President. The first meeting of the newly-formed chamber took place on 25th October 1909, after which the Chamber was given the necessary approval under The Companies Act of 1882 on 28th October 1910.
BENTICK BUILDINGS - 1910 Shri Pitti Thiagaraja Chettiar and the committee thereafter made the decision immediately to move over to more spacious premises considering the high-profile nature of the members of the committee and others with whom the chamber had to interact from time to time. The Chamber thus moved on 2nd March A view of the Bentick Buildings 1910 to the premises of M/s. H. M. Badshah Sahib & Company at the Bentick Buildings, 16, North Beach Road, Madras – 600 001. The premises were made available free of charge by Hajee Mohammed Badshah Sahib and Company. The Bentick Buildings were built when Lord William Bentick was Governor from 24
1803 to 1807 and was also known as “Merchants Square”. This building is depicted by well-known drawings by John and Justinian Ganz as are other buildings that are architecturally noteworthy.
INDIAN CHAMBER BUILDING – 1912 28-30, NORTH BEACH ROAD, CHENNAI – 600 001
the building loan was repaid completely and the debentures were also completely paid off by the year 1930. During the year 1934 further improvements were made to the Chamber’s building and it is a matter of credit that it was perhaps the first Indian Chamber of Commerce to be housed in its own building.
Shri Pitti Thiagaraja Chettiar was a visionary who along with some eminent men from the chamber took steps to acquire the Chamber’s own building. They resolved to purchase the Indian Chamber Buildings, 28-30, North Beach Road for Rs. 14,000/- and to spend Rs. 3,000/- more for constructing the second floor. The resolution was passed at the meeting of the Committee held on 10th September 1912. After acquiring the building, the first historic meeting of the Chamber took place in its own building at 28-30, North Beach Road on Monday, 31st March 1913. The Chamber did not have adequate funds, and hence arrangements were made for the issue of debentures among members for repaying the loan. Mention must be made about the noble gesture of the late Diwan Govindas Chathurbhujadoss, a prominent businessman and later the President who advanced a loan for the purchase of this building. Between the years 1926 and 1928, 25
INDIAN CHAMBER BUILDING SITE â€“ 1945 - ESPLANADE. The SICCI played a significant role in the economic affairs at both the regional and national levels. Considering the important leaders and officials with whom the President and Office Bearers had to interact with from time to time, it was decided to acquire land to construct a more spacious building. The activities of the Chamber and its membership increased over the years, given the access and increasing interaction it was having with the state and union governments on important matters of policy and business. In the year 1945 during the Presidentship of Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar a bold initiative was taken by him, which resulted in the chamber being shifted to its present location in the Esplanade, which belonged to the military, and was administered by the State Government. He succeeded in obtaining the required permissions from the Governor of Madras, Sir Arthur Hope, and a piece of land measuring around 12 Â˝ grounds situated on Benfield Road now known as Esplanade was acquired. Incidentally the Benfield Road was named after a very famous English Engineer known as Benfield who had done much for the development of Madras City. Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar organised a conference on 28th 27
December 1945 to discuss both industrial and commercial problems faced by the businesses in the region which was inaugurated by Sir Arthur Hope, Governor of Madras with whom he had an excellent rapport. The conference was attended by eminent personalities such as Dr. Sir R. K. Shanmukam Chettiar, Sir M. Vishweswarayya and other dignitaries. This high level conference also served as a fitting occasion for the laying of the foundation stone by Governor Sir Arthur Hope for the new premises which would be a jewel in the locality. Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar was optimistic that all the necessary finances would be raised for constructing the new building. History was written in the annals of the chamber on 28th December 1945 when the foundation stone was laid. While the land was being given by Government there was an annual commitment of Rs. 4,967/- payable to Government. Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar went a step further by donating to the Chamber 5% debentures worth Rs. 75,000/- to meet this annual commitment.
INDIAN CHAMBER BUILDING INAUGURATION(1956)- ESPLANADE THE FIRST BRICK – 1952 Dr. M. A. Chidambaram took over as President of the Chamber in the year 1951. His vision in erecting a new building for the chamber can be seen through his own words – “it was my privilege to be the President of the Chamber from 1951 and it was my burning passion to locate the Chamber in a more spacious building. The first brick for the foundation for this building was laid on 11th August 1952, but I must confess here it is only after laying the first brick that I became more conscious of the responsibility undertaken by me.” Having undertaken the responsibility Dr. M. A. Chidambaram realised that there was no finance available with the Chamber and being a nonprofit body funds had to be raised. Architects were also appointed to draw plans for the new building. Finding the necessary fnances seemed to be a great task, but Dr. M. A. Chidambaram was was confident of success and also infused great confidence into the Committee who in turn, were emboldened to raise the resources to have a new spacious and prestigious building. Dr. M. A.
Chidambaram was able to convince and secure the support of two great institutions namely the Indian Bank and the New India Assurance Company. The Indian Bank came forward and advanced five years rent for their accommodation in the ground floor. Having secured one tenant it was not very difficult to approach and convince the New Indian Assurance Company who were also willing to take up the entire first floor and advanced rent for five years. Thereafter the committee decided to issue debentures of Rs. 5 lakhs and the Indian Bank subscribed to the extent of Rs. 4.61 lakhs, the balance being subscribed by other members of the Chamber. Finances thus assured, no time was lost in the construction of the building. The pile foundation work was over by 15th November 1954, and the actual construction was taken up on 18th November 1954. There were many interesting and amusing hurdles which the Chamber had to overcome in constructing this building. It is pertinent to quote one such incident in the very own words of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram to mention one hurdle – “when piling was proceeding, the piles struck a main water pipe passing through the Chamber’s plot and it was an amusing site to see water sprouting as if from an artesian well. We were not aware of any pipeline passing through the
Chamber’s plot but when I reached back at my office after visiting the site I was surprised to meet the military authorities coming to me and informing me that the supply of water to Fort St. George had been suddenly interrupted owing to the pile striking the main water pipe to the Fort. The matter had to be taken up with the military authorities, the Revenue Secretary and quite a lot of time and money had to be spent for diverting the military water supply pipeline. I am thankful to Major General Katoch who was very helpful in the matter of diversion of this water supply main.” Another hurdle related to the importation of electrical lifts, which was allowed in those days only for buildings with atleast six floors. This policy suited cities like Calcutta and Bombay but not Madras where buildings had not risen to such levels.This issue had to be taken up with the Government of India who promptly granted the license which finally enabled the Chamber to install a lift. The main building constructed was a three-storied structure with a floor area of 34,200 sq. ft. in all. Its dimensions were 120 ft. long 65 ft. wide and 60 ft. in height. The rentable space in the building came to roughly 27,700 sq. ft. with a wide corridor.
Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari innaugurating the SICCI Building in the presence of Dr. M.A Chidambaram, President, SICCI
INAUGURATION – VISION UNLIMITED Dr. M. A. Chidambaram’s “VISION UNLIMITED” (Which was incidentally the title of his biography) bore fruit in the completion of the main building which was inaugurated on the 20th January 1956 by Hon’ble Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari, Minister for Commerce and Industry, Government of India. Incidentally Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari also happened to be a member of the Chamber and represented the institution in the Madras Legislative Council. He thereafter took an active interest in politics and rose to be a Cabinet Minister in the Government of India. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram expressed his sincere appreciation for all those who had worked for the construction of the building. Particular reference was made by him to the work done by Mr. John R. Davis of M/s. Prynne Abott and Davis, Architects while Mr. F. B. Pithavadian was very helpful in expediting the work. The building was constructed by Mr. N. T. Patel, the general contractor.
growth. He states that “the subscription levied by the Chamber is purposely kept low with a view to make it more democratic and representative of the entire commercial community and so there is no surplus. In the changed circumstances, Chambers of Commerce had a very important role in educating the commercial public and in the industrialisation of the country. Now that work of construction is over, I look forward to the mercantile and the industrial community in this part of the country to render all possible help to this oldest institution and make it a thoroughly representative and authoritative mouthpiece of the business community.” Dr. M. A. Chidambaram also took the initiative to furnish the meeting hall of the Chamber with exquisite pieces of furniture. That they are in use even today stands as a testimony to his significant service.
The VISION UNLIMITED of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram was to ensure that the SICCI with increased finances would play a significant role in promoting business in post-independent India so that it may ultimately promote economic 31
The M.A Chidamnaram Building, the Annexe to the SICCI Building
INDIAN CHAMBER BUILDING ANNEXE, ESPLANADE At the time of the Golden Jubilee of the chamber in the year 1960 and as part of the celebrations, the SICCI had organised the All India Industrial and Commercial Exhibition during January to March 1961 at the Island Grounds which was inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Thiru K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 9th January 1961. Kumarajah M. A. M. Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad was the President during the Golden Jubilee year and the success of the Golden Jubilee celebrations could be attributed to his outstanding personality and drive. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram who was instrumental in the erection of the main building of the Chamber took over as Chairman of the Exhibition Committee. The exhibition, which was the first of its kind in South India, was a grand success, and out of the excess of the generated funds the Indian Chamber Building Annexe with three floors was constructed. As there was shortage of funds debentures were also issued to finance a portion of the construction. The Annexe was finally completed during the term of Mr. A. Nagappa Chettiar, President in 1968. The facade of the SICCI Building
AIR CONDITIONING OF MAIN HALL
M. A. CHIDAMBARAM BUILDING AND During the term of Dr. M. A. M. Ramasamy as M. A. CHIDAMBARAM CONFERENCE the President of the Chamber in 1971, a decision HALL – 1987 was taken to organise yet another exhibition to commemorate the diamond jubilee of the chamber. Accordingly the All India Industrial and Commercial Exhibition was organised with Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareeff as the Chairman of the organizing committee. Dr. M. A. M. Ramasamy felt that the meeting hall of the Chamber which hosted numerous dignitaries needed to be air conditioned for the comfort of the visiting VIPs and members. As a result of his vision and initiative the meeting hall of the Chamber was promptly air conditioned.
PRESIDENT’S ROOM – 1969 During the term of Mr. P. Maruthai Pillai as the President of the chamber, there was a felt need to have a separate room for the President to devote time to the various activities of the Chamber and also to host visitors and dignitaries. Accordingly the first room of the Annexe building was renovated and air conditioned and has continually served its purpose until now.
Early in the presidency of Dr. A.C. Muthiah, it was decided to prepare and plan on a more ambitious schedule of events to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of the Chamber. He assessed the vacant site adjoining the Chamber’s premises and was convinced of the need to have a new modern conference hall without the hindrance of any pillars. The planned conference hall was seen as a fitting monument to mark the Platinum Jubilee of the Chamber. This would not only serve the Chamber’s future needs but also the additional floors would provide income for the SICCI. Within a short time M/s. P. T. Krishnan, Architects were approached to prepare and submit a plan for approval and M/s. Raghava of City Buildings were finally chosen to construct the building after evaluation. The cost of such a building was high, but a solution was soon found. The relationship between the Indian Bank and the SICCI was quite strong from the days of inception. The Indian Bank, whose earlier headquarters were in the Indian Chamber Buildings, had also occupied large space for the Indian Bank, Esplanade branch. A proposal was
put up to the Bank to finance the cost of the building and take up two floors on rent which would go for the repayment of the loan and if required a further lease could be made in respect of the Indian Bank, Esplanade branch, the rental proceeds of which would again go for the early repayment of the loan. This arrangement ensured the quick repayment of the availed loan. The Indian Bank headed by Mr. M. G. K. Nair as Chairman and Mr. M. Gopalakrishnan as Executive Director considered not only the long association of the Chamber but also its repaying capacity, and based on merits the Indian Bank accepted the proposal. Dr. A. C. Muthiah put forth his suggestion to the Executive Committee who appreciated and applauded his suggestion. The Executive committee in veiw of the significant contribution of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram and his illustrious presidency decided to name the building as the “M. A. Chidambaram Building” and the conference hall as “M. A. Chidambaram Conference Hall.” It was felt that the building and the conference hall would serve as lasting monuments to the vision and the pioneering work of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram. On the suggestion of Dr. A. C. Muthiah the committee also took a major decision namely to name the main hall of the Chamber after Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar
considering the exemplary services which he had rendered to the SICCI. He was instrumental in obtaining the land for the Chamber in 1945 from Sir. Arthur Hope, Governor of Madras. He also made a sizeable donation to the Chamber to enable the institution to pay the annual financial commitment to the Government. Dr. A. C. Muthiah took the initiative to invite Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India to inaugurate the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Chamber. The much awaited function took place on the 27th March 1987 at Kalaivanar Arangam at which Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India declared the M. A. Chidambaram Building and Conference Hall open. Shri S. L. Khurana, Governor of Tamil Nadu declared open the Rm. Alagappa Chettiar Conference Hall and Hon’ble Thiru K. Rajaram, who represented Tamil Nadu, as the Minister for Industries and Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu spoke on the occasion and distributed mementos to the past Presidents of the chamber.
The Milestones of the Sicci 37
SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS OF THE CHAMBER â€“ 1935
The SICCI Silver Jubilee Executive Committee
Lord Erskine, Governor of Madras
The silver jubilee celebrations of the Chamber took place in the year 1935 and the silver jubilee meeting was held at the Victoria Public Hall on 7th December 1935 under the Presidentship of Nawab C. Abdul Hakim Sahib. It must also be remembered that the Chamber had also been given representation as a Trustee of the Victoria Public Hall and had played a useful role in the affairs of the Trust and the building. The silver jubilee celebration of the Chamber was a great event and a number of messages were received from important dignitaries such as Lala Padampat Singhania, the President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, Sir. Chunilal Mehta of Bombay among others. A silver jubilee souvenir was released and the Chamber had made generous donations for various purposes including Rs. 1,000/- to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi. The silver jubilee meeting was inaugurated by His Excellency 40
Lord Erskine, Governor of Madras who in his response to the welcome address made by the president, paid tributes to the role played by the Chamber. He congratulated the Chamber and stated â€œI think there can be no higher testimony to the value of the services which the Chamber has performed in the interests of the commerce of Southern India than the strength and widely representative character of its membership. Moreover, in matters political and administrative, I would myself like to pay a tribute to the courteous assistance which the Chamber has so frequently rendered to my Government and its officers. There have been occasions when the Chamber has failed to see eye to eye with the policy of Government. But a Government that does not welcome responsible criticism is not worth its salt, and it is to organisations such as yours that my Government must look for helpful and constructive advice. I am confident that, as you have said, Mr. President, there will always be in Madras that co-operation between the administration and the commercial community which is an essential ingredient in the political harmony of any State.â€?
Lord Erskine, Governor of Madras
UNVEILING OF PORTRAITS The silver jubilee celebrations were marked by the unveiling of the portraits of past presidents of the Chamber by Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad, Kt.LLD.D.Litt. He paid tributes to the first president of the Chamber, Sir P. Theagaraya Chettiar and also to Sir M.Ct. Muthiah Chettiar, Mr. M. Jamal Mohammed and Diwan Bahadur Govinddoss Chathurbhujadas. Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar stated that the portraits of these men of eminence with great qualities of head and heart would be a source of inspiration to future presidents.â€?
The Victoria Public Hall, where the SICCI Silver Jubilee Celebrations were organized
H.E Shri. Bishnu Ram Medhi at the closing ceremony of the Exhibition
GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS â€“ 1960-61 The year 1960 was an important year in the history of the Chamber. Kumara Rajah M.A.M. Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad was the president of the Chamber and with a clear vision he guided the institution in celebrating the Golden Jubilee in a fitting manner. A separate Golden Jubilee Committee was formed to celebrate 50 years of useful service to business and the public. Plans had been made earlier to celebrate the occasion in a grand manner by organizing an Exhibition as a part of the Golden jubilee celebrations which was eventually held between January and March 1961 under the chairmanship of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, past president of the chamber. The 50th AGM of the Chamber was held on 30th November 1960 and was inaugurated by the Honâ€™ble K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who made a passionate appeal to look to the welfare of the people and build up industries in the state in a common endeavour to help the community at large. Kumara Rajah M.A.M. Muthiah Chettiar, the president of the chamber in his welcome address outlined the achievements of the Chamber from its inception and also the outlook for the future years. Looking back on its fifty years of service, the Chamber felt particularly happy that its invaluable contribution to industrial development had been recognised and given public expression to by eminent men and dignitaries. Some of the concrete achievements of the chamber that were recollected were as follows: (1) the series of improvements that had been made to the Madras harbour which the Chamber had been consistently campaigning for since 1914; (2) direct railway service from Tiruchi to Dhanushkodi via Karaikudi which had provided the State with a railway link to the southern-most point of the State; (3) many improvements in the railway services which had helped to promote trade and industry in the State, which had been the result of untiring efforts at persuasion with Railway Board; (4) securing of a substantial share of Governmental orders for the business enterprises, operating in South India for supplies to the various departments of the Government; (5) the rapid industrialisation of the State for which the Chamber had consistently pleaded. The Chamber in its Golden jubilee year had representations on some 35 public bodies and also a membership from 32 district Chambers of commerce and trade associations. The president Kumara Rajah M. A. M. Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad paid glowing tributes to the past presidents 45
of the Chamber who had done their best for the growth and development of the Chamber. The portraits of all past presidents were unveiled on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee. It is interesting to note that Mr. A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar who was also the President of the SICCI earlier in 1949-50 was also the President of the FICCI in 1960-61.
ALL INDIA INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL EXHIBITION – 1961
Hon’ble Thiru K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at the All India Industrial and Commercial Exhibition organized by the chamber at the Island Grounds
To commemorate the Golden Jubilee the All India Industrial and Commercial Exhibition was held
between January to March 1961 at the Island Grounds. The exhibition was opened on 9th January 1961 and was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The president Kumara Rajah M.A.M. Muthiah Chettiar described that the main aim of the exhibition was to create faith in the Indian industry and to place before the public the progress made by the public and the private sectors. He acknowledged with thanks the cooperation given by the Defence department for conducting the exhibition and also to the Tamil Nadu and Central Governments for extending their support. He also expressed his appreciation of the services rendered by the exhibition committee under the able chairmanship of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, former president of the chamber. Mr. K. Kamaraj Nadar, Chief Minister who was invited to inaugurate the exhibition spoke about the value of exhibitions and the record of the Southern India Chamber in promoting industrial 46
development. Mr. Kamaraj made a reference to the progress made by Tamil Nadu and explained that the Government had decided on the utilisation of resources available in the South and stated that the exhibition symbolised the cooperation between Government, businessmen and the public. He spoke about the public desire for a steel plant using Salem iron ore and mentioned the steps being taken to achieve that objective. He stated that the Government was well aware of the valuable contributions that the private sector was making for the economic progress of the state and that as long as both private and public sector kept at heart the welfare of the people and the community there could be no conflict between the ideologies and interests. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, Chairman, Exhibition Committee, who spoke on the occasion thanked the Government and the Defence Ministry for all the cooperation extended for the exhibition. He referred to the necessity of establishing a permanent ground for holding exhibitions with road, water supply, etc. which would serve future needs. The exhibition was formally closed on 14th March 1961 during which prizes were awarded to exhibitors. His Excellency Shri Bisnuram Medhi, Governor of Tamil Nadu presided over the function and Kumara Rajah M.A.M. Muthiah
Chettiar of Chettinad, President, SICCI welcomed the Governor and called his attention to the various objects of the exhibition and explained how they were realised. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, Chairman of the exhibition committee gave a vivid account of the exhibition. His Excellency the Governor Shri Bisnuram Medhi commended the efforts of the organisers in presenting to the public about the industrial progress made by the country. Janab K. S. Haja Sherif, MLA, Chairman of the Entertainment Committee proposed the vote of thanks. The exhibition served to highlight that effective marketing was very necessary and the true end of all production was the satisfaction of the consumer. The exhibition, which brought together exhibitors from all over the country, proved that economic integration was the road to progress. It also proved that the development of the public sector, the private sector, small scale sector and cottage industries and handicrafts were necessary in a growing and diverse economy that would provide more income and employment.
DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS â€“ 1971 Dr. M. A. M. Ramasamy took on the mantle of the presidentship of the Chamber in the year 1970 and was president during the years 1970-71 and 1971-72 during which the Chamber crossed another significant milestone in its history, the diamond jubilee. The Diamond Jubilee celebrations were conducted under the Chairmanship of Shri M. V. Arunachalam who ensured that the various activities planned were well organised. He provided able leadership and meticulous planning and was able to ensure the participation of various dignitaries and personalities in the Diamond Jubilee programmes. Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareeff, Co-chairman and chairman of the Exhibition Committee was just the right leader who had taken up the great task of organising the All India Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition. He himself had already been associated in conducting the mammoth industrial exhibition of much repute at Anna Nagar and the Tower that was erected still stands as a monument of the success of the exhibition. The exhibition was held in the Teynampet Congress Grounds from December 1970 to February 1971. The exhibition brought together not only the home State of Tamil Nadu but also other States such as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala apart from Central Government undertakings, private and public sectors, small sector, handloom sector and handicrafts. Industries in Tamil Nadu were able to showcase their products at a platform which also attracted foreign visitors. In his welcome address Dr. M. A. M. Ramasamy stated that this was the second exhibition organised by the Chamber, the first being at the time of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. He stated that the aim was to bring not only industry but also agriculture into the forefront as both were essential for the development of the country. The exhibition served to show to the public the progress made by India since independence and it also served as an effective tool for marketing. The Honâ€™ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi expressed his appreciation at the role played by the Chamber and hoped that the private sector would also come forward to industrialise the State and thereby provide more employment opportunities. The inaugural function was presided over by the Governor H.E Sardar Ujjal Singh. The exhibition was on show for six weeks and the Valedictory 49
A view of the stalls at the exhibition
function was organised on the 15th February 1971 when Shri R. Venkatraman, the Member of the Planning Commission distributed prizes for the best pavilions. Shri R. Venkatraman paid tributes to the Chamber for organising the exhibition in a grand manner. Dr. M. A. M. Ramasamy, president who welcomed the guests earlier expressed satisfaction at the achievements of the exhibition and placed on record the cooperation extended by Shri R. Venkatraman in his various capacities and as a Member of the Planning Commission. Shri M. V. Arunachalam, Chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations emphasised the need for starting more industries in the public sector. This he believed would help to create more ancillary and small-scale industries. He also emphasised the need for planning for adequate power. Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareef, Chairman, Exhibition Committee referred to the need for Government to establish a permanent site for exhibitions in order to meet the future needs of various organisers and also to ensure that foreign companies participate in such exhibitions which will again pave the way to attract more industries in the State.
DIAMOND JUBILEE ECONOMIC CONFERENCE A two-day economic conference was organised by Shri M. V. Arunachalam, Chairman, Diamond Jubilee Committee and was held at the Rajaji Hall on 30th and 31st January 1971. The theme of the conference was â€œSocial Justice in Economic Developmentâ€?. The conference was inaugurated by Shri S. L. Kirloskar, President of the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Leading economists from Bombay, New Delhi and Tamil Nadu participated in the conference. Among those who participated were noted economists like Dr. P. R. Brahamananda from Bombay, Dr. Malcolm Adisheshiah, Vice Chancellor of Madras University and others.
DIAMOND JUBILEE COMMEMORATION MEETING The Diamond Jubilee Commemoration meeting was held on 14th July 1971 also at the Rajaji Hall. This venue was rightly chosen considering its unique history and significance. It was acquired by Governor Thomas Saunders for 3,500 pagodas in 1753 while Governor Edward Clive, son of Robert 51
Dr. Malcolm Adiseshiah, Shri. M.V Arunachalam and Dr. M.A.M. Ramasamy addressing the Diamond Jubilee Economic Conference at Rajaji Hal
Clive made further additions. It had the architecture of ancient Greece, with Corinthian, Ionic and Doric columns and was built by a famous engineer named Goldnsham in 1802 with further additions in 1895. The permission of the Government, which was required to conduct any meeting at the hall, was given considering the significance of the occasion. The Diamond Jubilee celebration meeting was a well-attended event with the participation of a large number of dignataries. Shri C. Subramaniam, the then Union Minister for Planning, delivered the commemoration address. Thiru M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu, presided over the meeting. Thiru S. Madhavan, Minister for Industries, released the Commemoration Volume and unveiled the portraits of the Presidents of the Chamber. The dignitaries were welcomed by Dr. M. A. M. Ramasamy, President, while Shri M. V. Arunachalam, Chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Committee briefly spoke about the various activities of the Diamond Jubilee and the need for more interaction between government and business. Shri S. Narayanasamy, Vice President proposed the vote of thanks.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the centre had been making industry-wise studies to determine what concessions and other steps be taken to help them grow. “We are targeting at growth rather than at first aid measures.” The Government was open to suggestions from specific industries and would be involving people from industries more and more. The State Governments should also open up and their Industries Ministers should involve industries “to see how blocks could be removed so that they could grow faster” he said. The State and Central Governments’ tax policies should not be such as to stifle industrial growth. More tax revenue could be collected by higher growth. He said that the present challenge was to move to new technology and reminded the industry that it should not be over reliant on imported technology and that it should take aggressive steps to indigenise. He also stressed the importance of achieving the highest standards of efficiency so that quality products should be manufactured to cater both to internal and external markets. Labour productivity should be improved and for this “the responsibility was squarely on the management.” The Prime Minister added that they should take steps to upgrade the training facilities. “What we have to look at is total development of industry and not be too bound as to whether it should be the public or private sector,” he remarked. “Public sector would continue to be encouraged as it was necessary in areas where private sector was not prepared to enter on grounds of poor return on investment.” Mr. Gandhi said that the policies pursued by the Government in the last two years had resulted in buoyancy of economy which had registered a growth rate of 5 per cent compared to the average of 3 ½ per cent witnessed for many years before. The 8 per cent industrial growth was the highest achieved so far and was also on large base. The Prime Minister also unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the Platinum Jubilee Building of the Chamber named after M. A. Chidambaram and lauded the role of Shri M. A. Chidambaram not only in the Chamber but other areas of business and sport. He also paid tributes to business community of South India and the pioneering role of Mr. V. O. Chidambaram Pillai in the field of shipping. Conveying his best wishes he noted that the Chamber had contributed a lot towards industrialization of not only the South but the whole country. 54
Mr. K. Rajaram, Minister for Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu along with the Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi spoke on the occasion and presented mementos to the following past Presidents of the Chamber who were present on the occasion. He urged the centre to give early clearance to power projects in the joint and private sectors proposed in the State and ensure coal and oil linkage. He wanted the centre to locate its proposed Zirconium plant in Tamil Nadu. H. E. Shri S. L. Khurana, Governor of Tamil Nadu, who declared open the Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar Conference Hall of the Chamber by unveiling a plaque, paid a tribute to the yeoman services rendered by Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar and praised the role played by the Chamber in promoting industrial growth in this region. Mr. N. S. Siamwala, Vice President and Chairman of the Platinum Jubilee Committee paid tributes to the past Presidents and lauded the valuable services rendered by them to the Chamber. Shri M. A. Alagappan, Vice President and Chairman of the Platinum Jubilee Finance Committee paid tributes to the outstanding services of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and also the dignitaries in his concluding address and vote of thanks.
The SICCI building being innaugurated by Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India
PLATINUM JUBILEE COMMEMORATION VOLUME To mark the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee a commemoration volume was released by Mr. M. G. K. Nair, CMD of Indian Bank and the first copy was presented to Honâ€™ble Shri. V. R. Neuduncheziyan, Minister for Finance, Government of Tamil Nadu.
A view of the M.A.Chidambaram Building and the M.A.Chidambaram Conference Hall
CENTENARY YEAR CELEBRATIONS – 2010 The historic centenary 2010 began under the dynamic Presidenship of Shri A. Vellayan with various strategic and productive events that have been hosted, all over the state. The late Shri Rajiv Gandhi in his vision of the economic status of India at the time of the Chamber’s Platinum Jubilee stated “well before we reach the centenary of your Chamber, we must see India in the front rank of industrialized nations of the world, enjoying a reputation for full employment at home and quality products abroad.” As that dream is now being realised, SICCI’s activities are being focused on sustaining the competitive edge of businesses in the new era of globalisation. Mr. A. Vellayan addressing the gathering at the SICCI Centenary Celebrations
The Strategic Roles of the Sicci 59
SICCI’S ROLE ON PUBLIC BODIES AND INSTITUTIONS The SICCI in its endeavour to protect and promote private business has been working through a number of public bodies and institutions. The representation of the SICCI on the committees/boards of various public bodies is in fact a recognition of the status of the Chamber as a premier institution and speaks of the contribution made by it for growth of business and the welfare of the community. A historical view of some of these institutions are given below: • Corporation of Chennai • Madras Legislative Council • Chennai Port Trust • Railways • Madras Telephones • Madras University • Annamalai University • Victoria Public Hall
CORPORATION OF CHENNAI The Southern India Chamber of Commerce & Industry has been playing an important role in the civic affairs of the city of Madras. Shri. Pitti Thyagarajah Chettiar, the Founder-President of the Chamber, had from his very first year of office in 1910, requested for the representation of the Chamber on the Council of the Corporation of Madras (now Chennai). The Chamber being at the heart of Madras, was conscious of the need to keep the city clean and provide basic necessities for its citizens. The 60
request of the prestigious institution was favourably considered and many Presidents of the chamber occupied this dignified position. The Madras Corporation is the oldest municipal body of the common wealth of nations outside the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1688 by the then Governor of Madras, His Excellency, Sir. Elihu Yale. The Corporation of Madras started to function from the year 1913 at â€œRipon Buildingâ€? named after Lord Ripon, who had contributed significantly for the establishment of the local self Government when he was the Viceroy of India from 1880-84. The Ripon Building complex is a mixture of Gothic, Ionic, and Corinthian architectural styles. Ever since the request of Sir Pitti Thyagarajah Chettiar, FounderPresident, for representation on the Council of the Corporation of Madras, it is interesting to note that the Chamber was given a representation on the Council of the Corporation of Madras, every year. In the year 1930, Kumararajah M.A. Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad MLC (later Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad) was unanimously elected to represent the Chamber on the Corporation of Madras, as a Councillor. On 2nd November 1932, he was elected President of the Council, which office he held till 7th March 1933 and thereafter was designated as the A Portrait of Lord Ripon, after which the Corporation Building is named first Mayor of Madras at a formal ceremony of the Council on 8th March 1933. He generously donated the Mayoral Chair, the Mayoral Gold Chain, Mayoral Gown and Mace to the Council. Kumarajah M.A. Muthiah Chettiar discharged his responsibilities as a Mayor efficiently providing good housing, sanitation and amenities to the people in the city of Madras. He felt that apart from housing and sanitation, education, lighting and recreation facilities were required for the citizens. He spent a major portion of his time and energy for the welfare of the city and its citizens. 61
The city was also privileged to have Dr. M.A. Chidambaram, with his vision unlimited, as Mayor, following the footsteps of his elder brother Kumararajah M.A. Muthiah Chettiar (later Rajah). Dr. M.A. Chidambaram was elected Mayor in 1954-55 through the Southern India Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which was a great accomplishment because he was the third of three brothers to have held the office as Mayor of Madras, the other brother being Shri Ramanathan in 1950-51. It is interesting to note that while he was President of the SICCI, he was also the Mayor of Madras, taking both organizations to greater heights. He urged business houses to adopt and beautify the traffic islands and initiated the noon meal scheme, which was later incorporated by all political parties. He also organized a public reception in honour of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister, when he visited Madras in 1955. The Chamber had also been supportive of the efforts by Government to shift the wholesale market and moffusil Bus stand from the Central business district to Koyambedu. While the chamber, at Dr. M.A.Chidambaram, who served as the present, does not continue to have a seat on the Council of the Mayor in 1954-55 Corporation of Chennai, yet it continues to take an active interest in all matters relating to civic and other amenities, from time to time. It is heartening to note that after one hundred years of the Chamberâ€™s existence, the institution continues to be proactive in order to transform Chennai into a clean and green city with excellent infrastructure for its citizens.
MADRAS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL The establishment of the SICCI and the efforts of the Founder President Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar to seek representation on the Madras Legislative Council was favourably considered by the British Government, in India. Consequently some Presidents of the Chamber and prominent members were elected to serve on Legislative Councils where they actively took up issues pertaining to business. Many prominent businessmen were also nominated directly by the council. Some of the esteemed personalities who served on the Madras Legislative Council were Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar, Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar, Shri T. T. Krishnamachari, Shri S. Narayanasamy and much later Shri A. R. Damodaran. A view of the Legislative Council
A Legislative Session in Progress
EARLY HISTORY In 1861 The Indian Councils Act was promulgated allowing for the setting up of a Legislative Council and the one at Madras was thus formed. The Legislative Council which was set up was only an Advisory Body as the final assent had to be given by the Secretary of State in London. Thereafter between 1892 and 1909 the role of the Council had expanded. In 1909 the Morley Minto Reforms were introduced. Morley was the Secretary of State for India and Minto was the Viceroy of India. Their reforms led to each province having its own Governor and selected Indian nationals were members of the council. In 1918 a further report was made and under the Government of India Act 1919 the councils were expanded further whereby Indians were offered the most significant opportunity of exercising the legislative power at the provincial level. The strength of the council went upto 127 at the first meeting, which was held on 8th January 1921. The Legislative Council was further expanded in 1937 under the Government of India Act 1935 and functioned continuously even after independence in 1947. 64
CHENNAI PORT TRUST The SICCI had very close working relationship with the Madras Port (now Chennai Port) from the days of its inception in 1910. The first President, Mr. Pitti Thyagarajah Chettiar was fully conscious of the significance of the growth of export and import trade and also the role of the Madras Port to fuel that growth. The Chamber, from the first year of its formation made a request for seats as trustees on the Madras Port Trust, so that various policies relating to port development could be accurately drafted and implemented periodically. The request of the Chamber was favourably considered and the representatives of the Chamber actively took up various matters relating to trade, port development
A View of the Madras port
and shipping. During the year 1929-30 the Chamber had taken up with the then Viceroy Lord Irwin, that the Madras Port needed substantial development, to cater to the needs of increased shipping and trade, while in the year 1934-35 the Chamber had examined the budget of the Port Trust and asked for a reduction in various charges. Thereafter representatives of the Chamber continued to play a very significant role in the affairs of the Port – a synergy which continues until today. It is also interesting to note that the Chennai Port Trust also had the privilege of employing Shri S. Ramanujam the famous mathematician who was encouraged by the then Chairman, Mr. Francis Spring. Against the above background, it is interesting to go back into the history of the Port, which commenced as early as 1639 when the East India Co., was active on the east coast. The First Line Beach was in fact near the shore as shown in the old pictures of Madras. It is interesting to note that the Chamber which began with two trustees on the Board, increased to three and thereafter to five, and they had all played a useful role in the day-to-day affairs of the Madras Port Trust. The number of trustees in later years was reduced to one as other interests also had to be accommodated. In January 2010 the Chamber had also organized a Southern Regional conference on shipping and port development, at which the Hon’ble Union Minister for Shipping, Shri G.K. Vasan was the guest of honour. One of the tangible deliverables from this event was the announcement of the EMRIP (Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project) project by Shri. G.K.Vasan, which is sure to be a boon to the shipping industry in this entire region.
RAILWAYS The SICCI ever since its formation has had a close interaction with the railways. The growth of trade and industry depends to a large extent on the movement of goods and services and the SICCI’s constructive suggestions have in many instances yielded positive results. SICCI had been pleading for the operation of the railways from Dhanushkodi to Thalaimannar and for the commencement of the suburban railways in Chennai. In response to the difficulties faced by the foodgrain and iron traders 66
in the Madras-Vijayawada section, the matter was taken up with the railways by SICCI. The need to connect Tiruchi with Tuticorin was also discussed with the Railway authorities during the year 1924-25. Since the railway system was then being operated by different companies, SICCI as early as 1935 impressed upon the authorities the need for the railway rates tribunal, and the regrouping of the railways into zones for the sake of operating efficiency. The suggestion was conceptualized later in the year 1951 with the formation of the Southern Railway. In later years the railways had formed Advisory Committees at various levels and the SICCI was given due recognition and representation in these committees such as the DRUCC, ZRUCC, the NRUCC and even the Station Consultative Committee. The visits of the General Managers of the Southern Railways provided an useful forum for exchange of views and suggestions, many of which have been implemented. Of particular significance was the plea of the Chamber for a direct train from Chennai to Ahmedabad, which was duly realised.
MADRAS TELEPHONES The SICCI was represented on the Telephone Advisory Committee of the Madras Telephones and meetings were also organised periodically at the Chamber which were addressed by many General Managers of Madras Telephones. In fact it was during the year 1983 that the SICCI and Madras Telephones organised a seminar on â€œTelecommunications for Developmentâ€? to mark the World Communication Year. The seminar under the Presidentship of Dr. A. C. Muthiah was inaugurated by Shri V. N. Gadgil, Union Minister of State for Communications and
A View of the Madras Telephones Exchange
the function coincided with the launching of the satellite – INSAT – 1B into outer space. It is interesting to note that telephones came into India just five years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876. Madras Telephones had its beginning in the year 1923 when it took over the telephone operations from Orient Telephones and began to function from “Telephone House” behind the building of the SICCI. The Madras Telephones thereafter began to function under the Government and continues to come under the Ministry of Communications. The Chamber continues to interact with the Madras Telephones on a continual basis.
MADRAS UNIVERSITY Since the year 1839, the need was felt for the establishment of an English college at Madras and pursuant to this, Lord Elphinstone evolved a plan for the establishment of a central college or a University. As a consequence, the University of Madras was formed incorporating the model of The University of London and was inaugurated on 5th September 1857 by an Act of the Legislative Council of India. The University in fact gave birth to a number of other Universities in South India. The Southern India Chamber of Commerce & Industry has in fact been playing a vital role in the affairs of education and was also given a seat on the Senate of the Madras University which continued for a long period of time. The Chamber was later given a seat on the Advisory Council of Trade and Industry formed by the University when Dr. Malcom Audiseshiah was the Vice-Chancellor. Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was also the Pro-Chancellor of the Madras University in 1936. To encourage meritorious students, the Chamber has instituted an award for the best post-graduate student of Commerce of the Madras University, which is given at the time of the Annual General Meetings of the Chamber, a practice which continues even to this day. One of the most attractive buildings on the marina is the Senate House of the University of Madras, which was designed by Mr. Chrisholm, who began work in 1869 and completed it in 1873. The architecture of the Senate House is Indo – Saracenic and is one of the most striking buildings of Chennai. A statue of Queen Victoria which was gifted in 1887 by the Maharaja of Vizanagaram adorns the vicinity of the University. The University of Madras continues to make rapid strides in 68
using technology & innovation in offering quality education for the masses, through the support of institutions such as the SICCI.
ANNAMALAI UNIVERSITY The SICCI from the time of its inception has been guided by Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, one of the doyens of Indian business. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar established the Annamalai University by his vision, wisdom, and philanthropy. In 1928 the Annamalai University Act was passed by the Madras State Government and the university was located at Annamalainagar named after its illustrious founder. A panoramic view of the Annamalai University
Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar donated a fabulous sum of Rs. 20 lakhs and 1,500 acres of land besides the buildings, hostels, library and playgrounds of the Meenakshi College for the establishment of the Annamalai University by the Madras Presidency and the founder was gratefully honoured by the Government with the pro-Chancellorship of the university. The university offers several fields of higher education including arts, science, Indian languages, engineering and technology, education, fine arts, agriculture, medicine, dentistry, etc. Annamalainagar is a fullfledged town situated on the East of the city of Chidambaram, traditionally revered as the abode of Lord Nataraja. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar ensured that the SICCI was given a seat on the Senate of Annamalai University regularly and this practice Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, the Prohas continued till date. The Chamber has also donated prizes for Chancellor of the University the best student of Agriculture and also the best student of Economic Journalism of the Annamalai University. Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad who was President of the Chamber in 1941-42 took an abiding interest in the affairs of the Annamalai University along with his father and succeeded as pro-Chancellor at the demise of his beloved father in the year 1948. It was Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar who established the Medical College and also other departments of Modern Sciences in the university. After his demise in 1984 his son, Dr. M. A. M. Ramasamy who was also the President of the Chamber in the years 1970-72 took over as the pro-Chancellor of the Annamalai University and continues to serve the university in that role till date.
VICTORIA PUBLIC HALL The SICCI was given representation as a Trustee on the Victoria Pubic Hall in which the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Chamber were held on 7th December 1933. The significance of this unique building goes back to the year 1887 which was the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria of the British Empire. A decision was then taken to build the Victoria Public Hall by public subscription. The building was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style and the builder was Namberumal Chetty while Chisholm appears to have been the architect. Mention needs to be made about the role played by Sir A. T. Arundel, President of the Corporation who took considerable interest and ensured that the hall was opened in 1887 by Lord Connemara. One of those who contributed generously for the construction of the hall was Raja Sir Ananda Gajapathi, the Maharaja of A View of the Victoria Public Hall across the Vizianagaram. decades The Corporation of Chennai has now taken possession and the historic hall has been renovated.
The Invaluable Contributions of the Sicci 73
SICCI’S CONTRIBUTION TO VARIOUS SECTORS OF THE INDIAN ECONOMY SICCI has facilitated the growth of both the public and private sectors which in turn has promoted sustainable and rapid economic development. While the contributions made by the SICCI since inception have been covered on an annual basis under a galaxy of Presidents, a brief review of the contributions in selected sectors does provide an interesting glimpse of the useful role played by the Chamber. The Chapter begins with a brief review of the economy in general and a focus is made on SICCI’s involvement in the following sectors and activities: • The Indian Economy – Review • SICCI and Industry • SICCI and Agriculture • SICCI and Foreign Trade • SICCI and Shipping • SICCI and Banking • SICCI and Taxation • SICCI and Distributive Trade • SICCI and Railways • SICCI’s Concern on Gold • SICCI’s Concern on Foreign Exchange & Exchange Rates • SICCI’s Role in Corporate Social Responsibility • SICCI’s Role in promoting sports • SICCI’s View of Family Businesses
THE INDIAN ECONOMY The performance of the Indian economy has always been reviewed during every annual general meeting session of the Chamber and brief glimpses of the economy over the hundred years is nothing but incredible. In ancient India, although agriculture was predominant, yet rural industries, handicrafts, handloom and metallurgy were in an advanced state of growth. The ancient iron pillar near Delhi is a lasting testimony of India’s expertise. There are reports that Indian muslin was used to wrap up Egyptian mummies as far back as 2000 B.C. The well-known historian Shri T.N. Mukherjee states “A piece of muslin 20 yards long and 1 yard wide could be made to pass through a finger ring and required six months to manufacture”. The Industrial Commission in 1918 recorded “At a time when the west of Europe, the birth place of the modern industrial system, was inhabited by uncivilized tribes, India was famous for the wealth of her rulers and for high artistic skill of her craftsmen”. However the policies of the then Government were inclined to promote their exports rather than promote Indian industry and exports.
SICCI AND INDUSTRY The performance of industry in the southern region had been meagre as seen from the evidence given by Shri Pitti Theagaraya Chettiar before the Indian Industrial Commission in 1916 where he emphasized that the Madras Presidency was industrially backward and there were problems of establishing manufacturing industries due to lack of finance, infrastructure apart from the lack of encouragement by the Government. The Chamber under the Presidentship of Shri Pitti Theagaraya Chettiar had also convened an industrial conference in 1914 to highlight the problems and prospects for industrial development. Subsequently during the Presidentship of Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar, an Industrial and Commercial Congress was held to highlight the state of industry. The recommendations helped the Government revive the department of industry by implementing some of the suggestions of the chamber. During the term of Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad, proposals were made for the establishment of the auto sector as well as for the development of aviation. It is interesting to note that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his book - Discovery of India has 75
referred to Indiaâ€™s index of industrial activity in 1938-39 as 111.1 (1935=100) which rose to only 116.2 in July 1942. In 1946 a conference was convened by Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar to highlight the industrial and commercial problems of South India. The conference was addressed by Sir. M. Visweswarayya and recommendations were forwarded to Government. The SICCI during the term of Dr. M.A. Chidambaram pursued the need for the comprehensive development of industry and later during the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Chamber in 1961 The All India Industrial & Commercial Exhibition was held to discuss the state of industry and the prospects ahead. Similarly the All India Industrial & Agriculture was held in 1970 during the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations under the Presidentship of Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy. 76
INDUSTRIAL LICENSING In 1949, Mr. A.M.M. Murugappa Chettiar, President reviewed the industrial policy and the SICCI’s views were submitted. The Industries (Development and Regulation) Act was passed in 1951 giving importance to the public sector while the private sector was subject to industrial licensing. The MRTP Act as well as the FERA had also placed restrictions on the growth of large companies. In 1969 the Dutt Committee on industrial licensing had formulated the concept of the joint sector where the Government and the private sector could join hands. It proposed that the Government hold 26% equity, 25% equity be held by the private investor, and the balance by financial institutions and the public. The Chamber had pointed out the dangers of such a policy and brought out a publication on ‘Industrial Licensing’ which proved true in some cases. However, during the tenure of Shri Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister, a beginning was made towards liberalization. In 1991 India went through an economic crisis and a policy decision was taken to unshackle the Indian industry from the need of licensing which Shri M.A. Alagappan, President, SICCI welcomed it. Restrictions were removed from the MRTP Act and also to encourage foreign direct investment into the country. The policy aimed to integrate the Indian economy with the global economy. The investment ceiling for the small scale sector was increased significantly to encourage the growth of this sector which had contributed nearly 35% of the gross value output in the manufacturing sector and about 40% of the total exports of the country. SICCI has also been helpful in the defence sector. At a time when imported spares of defence equipment were not available, SICCI brought private industry and the defence together thereby helping them make significant savings in foreign exchange. The Chamber, under the dynamic Presidents who held office from 1990 till 2010 had further taken up specific problems with Government and had also brought out interesting research publications on the status of the auto industry, infrastructure and information technology which was well received by the Government.
SICCI AND AGRICULTURE The SICCI from its inception has always played a major role in the growth and development of agriculture. In response to the Presidential address of Shri A. Nagappa Chettiar at the 58th AGM, the late Hon’ble Thiru C.N. Annadurai, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu stated – “Unless the economics of agriculture is sound and right, the other sectors like industry cannot prosper and that is why this Government, as soon as it came to power, thought it fit to see that agriculture is strengthened. There is an ultimate connection between agriculture and industry. If agricultural production drops, the consumer goods cannot be sold. Therefore, to strengthen agriculture production, is in a way to strengthen the position of industry”. Shri A. Vellayan, President during the SICCI Centenary, had ensured that adequate attention was also paid by the Chamber for the development of agriculture which is the foundation for economic growth in the country. Agriculture which had been growing at about 2.2% in the 90s was considered inadequate to meet future demands considering the growth in population and economic prosperity. It has been estimated that the contribution of agriculture to GDP had declined to well below 20% in 2010 although about 70% of India’s population depends upon agriculture. Under the Presidentship of Shri A. Vellayan, SICCI had organized in partnership with the Government of Tamil Nadu the first Agri Summit, a two-day exhibition cum conference, in 2009 at Chennai and the II Edition on 5th and 6th March 2010 at Madurai. The Agri-Summits had brought together Government, industries, scientists, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and also the farmers together on a common forum. The Presidents of the Chamber in earlier years had emphasized on the development of agriculture as the country had faced many famines. It pleaded for easily accessible credit and more land mortgage banks as early as 1930. A recommendation was also made that indigenous bankers be brought into the regular organized credit system. The Chamber during the Golden Jubilee in 1960 and also during the Diamond Jubilee in 1971 had organized exhibitions and agriculture was given much importance.
SICCI AND FOREIGN TRADE
between the two regions as there are relics and inscriptions which bear proof of close contact. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his book - Discovery of India – refers to business in the South and states “the Chettys of Madras have also been leaders in business and banking especially from the ancient times. The Madras Chettys have not only played an important part in South India but they have also spread all over Burma even in the remote villages”.
Before outlining the role of SICCI in India’s foreign trade a historic review of India’s foreign trade is not only interesting but is also a matter of immense pride. South India from the beginning has always played an important role in foreign trade. The West Coast which was famous for spices brought traders from the Middle East, the Jews, and later the Europeans beginning with the landing of Vasco-de-Gama on the Western shores. On the other hand right from the begiining of the The arrival of the British in Madras brought about Christian era, trade with other countries was a new era in the history of trade between India and Britain apart from other countries in Europe. flourishing along the South Eastern coast. While trade was carried out primarily by the Even during the period Before Christ there was British, a good section of Indians also ventured contact between Rome and the Tamil Kings. Large into trade. Many of them supplied goods to the quantities of Roman coins of the Augustinian age British which were exported to Europe. The SICCI were found in many parts of South India and is a national institution with an international Pliny had even complained of the outflow of gold outlook. The SICCI from its inception in 1910 has from Rome to South India. always played an important role in facilitating The region had also much trade with South East trade with not only South East Asia but also with Asian countries – Europe. China, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia and Indonesia. A recent spotlight on trade and commerce in the Bujang Valley in Malaysia and the Pallava and the Chola Kingdoms from 5th to 12th century A.D. refers to the brisk trade
During the pre-Independence days SICCI was fully alive and awakened to the great possibilities of trade with the USA and also with nations like Germany. Shri V. Pandurangiah took the opportunity of representing the Chamber in some
of the conferences which took place in Europe. In June 1946 he attended a business convention at the International Chamber of Commerce in 1946 representing the Indian National Committee. He has also undertook a subsequent trip to Germany as part of the Indo-German Trade Delegation. The Chamber had also continually played an important role in receiving many foreign trade delegations. During the post Independence period, visits by many delegations from various countries increased significantly. At the same time the Chamber was also a focal point for meetings with Indian diplomats and ambassadors who were posted abroad. The attestation on all export documents by the SICCI has been recognised by all Arab countries thereby facilitating exports. The Chamber had also sent business delegations to Europe and particularly to Germany in view of the possibilities of Trade and Industrial Cooperation. The Chamber had also organized a business delegation to South Africa and subsequently had organized a visit a trade delegation to visit Thailand and Vietnam. The Chamber had particularly focused on increased trade with the USA being the largest trade partner and had facilitated the first shipment of fireworks for the bi-centenary celebration of the USA. The
chamber also took the initiative to forge strong ties with Belgium which culminated in the visit of the King of the Belgians in 2008. The other countries with which the Chamber had always had close relationship include Japan, Australia, the countries in the Middle East, the SAARC Countries and Switzerland. The chamber played an active role in the formulation of the Indo-Sri Lanka free trade agreement. Sri Lanka had also availed the service of the SICCI to obtain the prices of commodities on a daily basis. It is also a matter of credit that the guidance provided by the SICCI has enabled many exporters to contact importers and succeed in their business ventures. The Chamber also provides services for commercial arbitration.
SICCI AND SHIPPING Shipping has played a significant role in the history of any nation not only during peacetime but also during conflict. A nation which controls the seas controls many other places in the world. The emergence of Britain as a maritime nation facilitated trade and ultimately led to the establishment of the British Empire. Shipping serves trade and the growth of trade is dependent upon the efficiency of shipping. Trade in fact promotes the growth of industry which ultimately
contributes for the economic development of any country. From earlier days, South India had brisk trade with the countries of South East Asia such as China, Burma, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Indonesia and also with Egypt, Armenia and even with empires as far away as Rome. This was made possible by good shipping services. However, with the arrival and establishment of the British in India, shipping was the monopoly of the British and Indians who entered into the field of shipping
growth of Indian shipping. Successful Presidents during the last century have repeatedly felt the inadequacy of shipping services and high freight rates which hindered the growth rate of trade. SICCI has always pleaded with Government during the pre-independence days as well as the post-independent period for the development of India’s own maritime fleet which would serve the growing interest of trade. India’s share of liner shipping as well as bulk cargo is still inadequate to meet the growing requirements of India’s trade.
were discouraged. Shri V.O. Chidambaram Pillai who is well known as “Kappal Otiyya Thamizan” ventured into shipping with good service to the trade at a lesser cost. The Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company was established on 12th November 1906 with an initial capital of Rs.10 lakhs. However as he proved to be a stiff competitor to the European ship owners there was relentless opposition and with a lack of encouragement by Government the company had to make an early exit. The pioneering spirit of Shri V.O. Chidambaram Pillai was commended on 27th March 1987 by Shri. Rajiv Gandhi during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Chamber. The SICCI from the time of the founder President, Shri Pitti Theagaraya Chetty till date has always given due importance to the
To facilitate foreign trade, the SICCI had established its weighment and measurement for Cargo at the Madras Port Trust. It also took up matters relating to quality inspection and registration of trademarks. Shri. A. Nagappa Chettiar who was President of the Chamber during the years 1996-97 established the Southern India Shippers’ Association as part of the SICCI to take up problems relating to sea transportation such as inadequate sailings and high freight rates. The Chamber had also arranged many conferences on Shipping and some of the prominent Union Ministers of Shipping who visited the Chamber include Hon’ble Shri Raghuramiah in 1970, Hon’ble Shri A.P. Sharma in 1980 and Hon’ble Shri Ved Prakash Goyal in 2002. SICCI’s last mega conference on shipping held on 22nd/23rd
January 2010 also referred to the stagnation of India’s tonnage, in spite of nearly 64 years of independence. It has been estimated that overall India is only able to carry 10% of its cargo in its own vessels. The Chamber has strongly urged the Government to bring about adequate fiscal incentives to facilitate the growth of India’s tonnage. Such incentives should be at least on par with international standards which will help the Indian shipping industry in the long run.
SICCI AND BANKING The SICCI has always had a close relationship with the banking sector since the inception of the chamber. The Indian Bank has been closely associated for the last century and its valued role has been described in various sections of this volume. The SICCI has also had an excellent relationship with the Imperial Bank and subsequently with the State Bank of India. On matters relating to foreign exchange it was closely associated with the Indian Overseas Bank. SICCI had also strongly represented to the government on the need to establish the Reserve Bank of India which came into existence in 1935. It interacted with the RBI frequently and has also had the privilege of its 83rd AGM being inaugurated by Dr. C. Rangarajan, Governor, RBI. In 2006 SICCI
organised a conference on “Recent Developments in the Banking Sector” and brought a publication entitled “Redesigning Corporate Banking Relationship”. SICCI continues to interact with all banks on various issues.
DISTRIBUTIVE TRADE In view of the importance of distributive trade the Chamber had played a significant role in taking up related issues mainly sales tax and presently VAT. The other legislative subjects relating to trade such as prevention of food adulteration, weights and measures, quality standards, shops and establishments, labour matters, etc. have been taken up by the SICCI on a continual basis. Even the latest developments relating to the retail trade have been given due attention and a retail summit was organised in 2008 which was well received.
SICCI’s CONCERN ON GOLD SICCI was conscious of the significance of gold in the monetary system of the country. In the earlier days gold reserves were required to bring about parity between the precious metal and the currency of any country. As early as 1936 the then President Nawab C. Abdul Hakim Sahib deplored the continuance of gold exports
pointing out that in about five years India had exported more than Rs.300 crores worth of gold. During the year 1973 it is worthwhile reflecting on the statement of the then President Dr. S. Naryanaswamy at the 63rd AGM of the SICCI. He stated “The accumulation of gold hoards with highly developed European countries and America to suffer depletion of her Fort Knox holdings, indicate that countries which have a high G.N.P. have nearly the same wholesome respect for gold as the Indian housewife, whose importunities on the gold front we have sought to stifle, on the pompous assumption that she is “economically illiterate”.
exchange loan and to bring in US $500 million to help the country to avoid the critical situation. The change in India’s economic policy facilitated the entry of portfolio capital with an inflow of foreign exchange.
Gold as an asset played a critical role during the foreign exchange crisis of India in June 1991 when the country had reserves of less than US $1 billion and the foreign exchange was scarcely enough to meet one week’s requirements of India’s imports. SICCI was concerned about the restrictions in imports and its impact on industrial productivity. The role played by Shri Manmohan Singh at that crucial juncture not only saved the image of the country but also marked a new turning point with the liberalization and globalisation of the Indian economy. Shri M.A. Alagappan, President, SICCI welcomed the bold decision of the Government to send out gold from India as security for a foreign 85
FOREIGN EXCHANGE AND EXCHANGE RATES The SICCI during its first decade of service to industry had expressed concern at the outflow of foreign exchange to the UK during out of India export proceeds which were popularly known as the policy of drain. The proceeds earned were used for the development of India. The SICCI also took up matters relating to the rate of exchange and the devaluation of the Rupee which had been affecting the import of essential raw materials. The subject of devaluation and its impact was highlighted by SICCI in 1964 when the rupee was devalued. Even today SICCI has been conducting various programmes on risk management & mitigation relating to currency fluctuations for the benefit of business.
SICCIâ€™s ROLE TOWARDS CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY The SICCI although being a non-profit institution, it still is a firm believer in corporate social responsibility. SICCI has demonstrated its CSR admirably by responding to national calamities by collecting funds on many occasions, by organizing programmes for the welfare of employees and by pursuing other humanitarian causes. The
SICCI under the Presidentship of Shri M. Balasubramanian, had organized a free medical camp in 2009 for the workers in the Ambattur Industrial Estate, in co-operation with the AIEMA. A similar programme was also conducted in 2010 under the Presidentship of Mr. A. Vellayan. Since family welfare is significant for the health and higher productivity of employees, the SICCI had brought out a useful publication on Family Welfare in the Corporate Sector in the year 1970. Again during the term of Dr. S. Narayanaswamy as President, an important programme on family welfare was conducted with the participation of the ILO. During the term of Shri M.A. Alagappan in 1990 a useful programme on family welfare was conducted in co-operation with the Family Planning Foundation of India, during which it was revealed that any expenditure on family welfare by corporates, would be more than regained through good industrial relations and higher productivity. An excellent case study on the subject was presented by the TISCO, Jamshedpur. Looking back, CSR had also played an important role by many earlier Presidents beginning from the founder-President Shri Pitti Theagaraya Chettiar. In 1934 the SICCI under the Presidentship of Diwan Bahadur Govindoss Chathurbujadoss collected funds for earthquake relief in Bihar
and Orissa, which was followed by a donation for refugees from Burma in 1939. During 1943 the SICCI had also collected funds for cyclone relief at Midnapore. Again in 1967, under the Presidentship of Shri. A. Nagappa Chettiar, funds were collected for flood and cyclone relief in Bihar. In 1978 the SICCI had donated a sum of Rs.25,000/- to the Hon’ble Thiru. M.G. Ramachandran, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, for flood relief. During times of war the Chamber had also risen to the occasion by mobilizing resources for the National Defence Fund during the years 1965 and 1971. On 26th December 2004 a tsunami had ravaged the shores of Chennai and the east coast of South India. Shri R. Veeramani, President, accompanied by the Secretary, Shri S. Raghavan met the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Dr. J. Jayalalitha and presented the Chamber’s own contribution for humanitarian relief.
ILO-RELATED PROGRAMMES The CSR of the SICCI gained momentum during the term of Shri M.A. Alagappan who was also the President of the All India Organisation of Employers during that time. He paved the way for increased co-operation between the Chamber, the AIOE and the ILO, as a result of which a number of projects were taken up and
successfully completed. A series of workshops on “Improve Your Business” was conducted through this unique partnership. Similarly, a prestigious project entitled “Elimination of Child Labour” was taken up with a focus on the stainless steel industry. The project was well appreciated by the ILO and accordingly both the Central and the State Governments have enacted suitable legislation to help eliminate child labour. Another important topic which was taken up related to “Substance Abuse in Industry” which was found to be beneficial by both employers and employees. As a result of the havoc caused by the tsunami on 26th December 2004, the ILO, CIE, EFSI and the SICCI all joined together to undertake a project on tsunami relief at Colachel in the Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu, which was one of the worst hit areas. The James Memorial Trust took the responsibility of executing the project at the grass roots level. The programme aimed at rehabilitation through training in tailoring embroidery, envelope, coir rope, and also copra making. At the conclusion of the programme, the organizers were satisfied that the skill imparted to the beneficiaries would enable them to continue their livelihood without the loss of dignity.
SICCIâ€™s ROLE IN PROMOTING SPORT Businessmen have generally contributed for the growth and development of sports such as cricket, golf, football, athletics and horse racing. During the Presidentship of Shri M.A. Chidambaram, the Merchants Cup race was held at the Madras Race Club and the Merchants Cup was presented to the owner of the winning horse. The race is an annual feature. At the time of the Centenary, during the Presidentship of Shri.A. Vellayan the Chamber conducted the SICCI Centenary Golf Tournament on 14th August 2010 under the Chairmanship of Shri R. Muthu a past President of the chamber.
SICCIâ€™s VIEW OF FAMILY BUSINESS A majority of businesses in this state have been jointly owned and the SICCI from inception has promoted and protected private businesses. In fact family businesses have been prevalent since the dawn of civilization. During subsequent periods, innovation created a new dimension in the concept the family businesses causing it to enter the realms of industry and trade in a dramatic manner. The growth of the private sector in India was slow due to lack of capital and lack of encouragement. However those who ventured
were pioneers who set up the foundations of the private corporate sector. After independence the policy of socialism and the licensing procedures stifled the growth of the private sector. A Monopolies Enquiry Commission was constituted leading to the introduction of the MRTP Act 1981 with subsequent amendments restricting the growth of large family owned business houses. This issue was taken up by the SICCI effectively to the government. In 1991 when India went through a foreign exchange crisis and when the public sector enterprises did not perform up to expectations, a wise decision was taken to de-license many sectors for private business and open the entry for foreign capital and industrial ventures into India. The last two decades of economic liberalization and globalization have unleashed the power of the private sector which has grown nationally and internationally. The private sector has now entered into major fields of industrial activity and the new concept of public-private partnership has also emerged. SICCI has been supportive of the growth of the private sector which is generally family owned, is of the view that this sector if encouraged by Government could contribute towards the overall
encouragement of the private sector which is generally family owned considering the need to generate employment and contribute towards the economic development of the country. He states “an instance of the fallacious presumptions in this regard is its belief that, unless family companies which are among the dominant understandings in the country are freed from the rigid sector of their particular family nexus, the private sector in the economy will be mostly feudal in its structure and operations. Basically this overlooks the case of family management resting on some of its evident merits. The system makes available financial and management resources which would be absent, but for the sacrifices made by the family; it has imparted a goodwill, an honoured symbol and a chain of business connections that are a force to reckon with in the particular domestic and international sector of industry; and it ensures unified and uniform managerial policies with the added advantage that such management does not breed mere birds of passage at the top executive level as in comparable government enterprises. Of course, the only guarantee should be that family managers should bring to their task professional skills of the right calibre, as they will otherwise be a drag on their companies and the economy in Shri M.V. Arunachalam, past-President, general”. SICCI, has always championed the need for growth of the economy provided such enterprises are well managed. In this regard it is a matter of pride to note that the Chamber has succeeded in creating new and lasting entrepreneurs. Good human relations are vital to provide a good working relationship which in the long run helps to bring about progress and better performance of companies. Now- a-days many companies also encourage workers participation in management and the concept of offering shares to employees under schemes such as ESOPS are producing good results. In South India, and Tamil Nadu in particular the old concept of “PANGALI” was prevalent. The concept has generally yielded good results as it recognizes and places an employee more as a partner in business ventures and encourages him towards innovative thinking and progressive action which contributes to the growth of the business. The system has proved that good human relations can be part of business ethics which in the long run contributes for the growth of any business venture. The concept has been clearly summarized by Dr. M.A. Chidambaram, past-President SICCI, whose philosophy in his own words are as follows – “Nobody works for me, but everybody works with me”.
SHERIFF OF MADRAS â€“ SICCI PRESIDENTS HONOURED
Presidents, namely Shri C. Abdul Hakim Sahib, Diwan Bahadur Sir M. Balasundaram Naidu and Shri. Adam Haji Mohommed Sait. In later years, Kumararajah M.A.M. Muthiah Chettiar and Dr. M.A.M.Ramasamy Chettiar who were presidents of the chamber during the Golden and Diamond Jubilees respectively also occupied the office of the Sheriff of Madras. Shri. K.S.G Haja Sheriff and Dr. P. Maruthai Pillai were other Presidents of the chamber who occupied this prestigious office. Many other industrialists who were associated with the SICCI were also appointed as Sheriff of Madras.
Many of the esteemed Presidents of the SICCI also occupied the high office of the Sheriff of Madras, and hence it is interesting to know something of the history of this august office. The office of Sheriff began in England and has been coming down from the Anglo-Saxon period. The Sheriff normally represented the interests of the crown and attended to matters pertaining to justice and public affairs. When the English first established their settlement in Madras, the office of Sheriff was introduced and many men of eminence occupied this privileged post. Since the judiciary While the Chamber records with pride and joy was also established, the office of Sheriff came to that many of its Presidents were appointed by the Government to this prestigious office of Sheriff, it be attached at the High Court of Madras. has to be also known that the office was one of The office of Sheriff was an annual one, the dignity and honour conferred on the recipient in appointment being made by the Government in recognition of some of their signal services, mainly power, while the Deputy or Under-Sheriff was social and humanitarian sectors to the general appointed by the Sheriff to act on his behalf in public, besides their contribution to business, his absence. It is interesting to note that the fine arts and literature. first Indian to be nominated as Sheriff was Sir S. Ramaswami Mudaliar who was Sheriff for the years 1886-87. Since the Chamber was established in the year 1910, the first President of the Chamber who came to occupy the office of Sheriff was Sir. M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar, followed by other 90
The Synergistic Association with Ficci 91
SICCI’s ASSOCIATION WITH FICCI, NEW DELHI
expedite the formation of a proposed Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The SICCI has been very closely connected with The fourth session of the congress was held in FICCI right from the inception and this association Calcutta from 31st December 1926 to 2nd January 1927 under the Presidentship of Mr. Dinshaw continuous till the present day. M. Petit. The fourth session decided to form the The Indian National Congress began to hold the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Indian Industrial Conference with its annual and Industry (FICCI) and resolved to appoint a sessions since 1905. At the Ninth Congress Provisional Committee under the Presidentship held in Karachi, 1913 a resolution was moved of Mr. Dinshaw M. Petit. The fourth session was by Shri Lallubai Samaldas urging cooperation attended by Shri M. Jamal Mohammed Sahib, among the various Chambers of commerce in who besides being a leading businessman was the Indian subcontinent. In 1915 the Indian also President of the SICCI during the years Merchants Chamber, Mumbai organised the 1921 and 1922. Apart from him Shri Vidya Sagar Indian Commercial Congress after which the Pandya who officiated as Secretary of the SICCI Indian Industrial and Commercial Congress was in the formative years attended the session. The formed in the year 1920. At the third session FICCI began to function from 1st April 1927 and of the congress held in New Delhi in1926 a the SICCI which played a role earlier during the resolution was moved to establish an All India formative years further associated itself as the Body representing the various interests of Indian only Founder Member from Chennai. business. The first Annual General Meeting of the FICCI It is interesting to note that during the same year took place at Chennai on 31st December 1927 1926 a further discussion took place amongst the at the premises of the Pachaiappa’s College, senior members of the conference at Chennai at Madras at which leading businessmen from the initiative of Sir M.Ct. Muthiah Chettiar who the country and other dignitaries in Chennai was also the President of the SICCI at that time. attended the meeting. The first AGM took place The meeting took place at his residence ‘Bedford under the Presidentship of Mr. Dinshaw M. Petit House’ at Chennai and the objective was to 93
SHRI M. JAMAL MOHAMMED SAHIB (1931-32) Shri M. Jamal Mohammed Sahib was President of the FICCI during the years 1931-32. The economic situation during his term of office was not satisfactory and agricultural production had not made much progress. A decision was taken by the Government to link the rupee to the sterling and some of the effects of such a linkage were detrimental to the interest of business at that time. Shri M. Jamal Mohammed Sahib urged for the development of infrastructure which A FICCI meeting in Progress would encourage Indian industry and create at the conclusion of which Sir Purushothamdas, employment. Thakurdas was elected as President. Thereafter Shri M. Jamal Mohammed Sahib was also earlier Mr. G. D. Birla was President followed by Sir the second President of the SICCI from 1921-22 Shriram as the President of the FICCI. and 1929-34. Prior to the First World War, as The SICCI is indeed fortunate that some of itâ€™s presidents also were elected to the high office as President of the FICCI, New Delhi. The Presidents of the SICCI who also served as the President of the FICCI are given below.
President of the FICCI he led trade delegations to Germany, Turkey and Iran accompanied by leading business magnets like Purushotam Dass, Thakur Doss, G. D. Birla, and many more. He attended the second Roundtable Conference in London with Mahatma Gandhi and urged for a favourable pound-rupee exchange rate and succeeded in obtaining the same. He was a freedom fighter, a veteran Congressman and a friend of Motilal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. He
was also a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Madras. He was in charge of education, medical relief and excise and in 1941 was also knighted (Central). on the King’s birthday by the British Government. DR. RAJAH SIR MUTHIAH CHETTIIAR As a Director of the Indian Bank he took keen OF CHETTINAD (1943-44) interest in the affairs of currency and finance. Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was President of As President of the Federation his emphasis was the FICCI during the year 1943-44. As President on industrialization, backed by sound technical of the Federation he urged the Government to education and the need to promote agriculture encourage the growth of Indian Industries rather and rural development. than to import goods which could otherwise be manufactured in the country. In particular the import of bicycles, drugs, toilet requirements and consumer goods which were manufactured abroad needed to be discouraged as they could be manufactured in India itself. He was greatly concerned about the international monetary standards and the manner in which it affected India. He stated “if the game of international finance is to be played – to keep down less fortunate countries, to dictate to them Trade Policies, both internal and external, India would like to have neither lot nor part in such a scheme of things.” Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar through his wisdom and rich experience added great value to the office of the President of the federation. He was earlier in 1933 the Mayor of Madras and in 1936 as Minister in the Justice Party of the Government 95
Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar as the President of FICCI along with the members of the SICCI Executive Committee
SHRI A. M. M. MURUGAPPA CHETTIAR (1960-61) Mr. A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar was President of the FICCI during the year 1960-61. During the year special emphasis was laid by him on increasing the role of private sector in economic development. He emphasised the need for the development of agriculture which was the backbone for the economy of India, considering the fact that more than 70% of the population lived in villages. He also felt that there should be adequate allocation of resources for the development of infrastructure such as power, transport and communications which include road and railways. He represented that taxation system of the centre was regressive and there was a need to lower and rationalise the system. Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar observed that during the post independent period â€œall the Chambers of commerce in the country had taken part in the formulation and implementation of the first five-year planâ€?. He stated that these organisations while endeavouring to protect the interest of the business community have always borne in mind the larger interest of the community. They were part and parcel of the society and it was their right and duty to offer their best for 96
Shri. M.V. Arunachalam with Shri Fakruddin Ali Ahamed, President of India
the common good. In this regard there was a need to foster the growth of District Chambers of Commerce and thus seek to integrate the thinking of the business community on a wider basis on national economic problems. Under his Presidentship a convention of businessmen and also a zonal conference was held to discuss policies and procedures on a variety of issues such as taxation, foreign trade, infrastructure, etc. The SICCI was celebrating its Golden Jubilee that year and he appreciated the role of the SICCI in organising the conference.
SHRI M. V. ARUNACHALAM (1976-77) Shri M. V. Arunachalam was President during the year 1976-77 which happened to be the Golden Jubilee year of the FICCI. He was popularly called as M. V. and his initials M. V. suggested that he was indeed a man of vision. He was an excellent orator and spoke forcefully, authoritatively and fearlessly on the need to encourage the growth of the private sector and the removal of unnecessary controls. He gave importance to the growth of agriculture which would also spur the growth of industry and promote economic growth as a whole. As FICCI President he was anxious that the 20 point economic programme of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi “yielded quick results”. With the
support of Mr. B. M. Birla he made every effort to make the Golden Jubilee of the FICCI a successful and memorable one. He organised the Indo-Japan Joint Business Cooperation Committee Meeting at Chennai in 1976 and a historic Golden Jubilee Conference at Bangalore. A film entitled “Indian Industry Comes of Age” was released on the occasion. The Post and Telegraph Department released a special cover and a commemorative stamp. At the 50th AGM he recalled the fearless role played by Indian businessmen and compared the 18% growth rate in the national income in the 25 years before independence to 141% growth rate for a similar period after independence. Indeed,
Shri. M.V. Arunachalam seen interacting with Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee
the role of trade in economic development and also a review of the various provisions of the Essential Commodities (Special Provisions) Act. He also felt that Sales Tax procedures needed simplification apart from uniformity amongst various states. In the words of Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareef “in the year full of economic challenges, I had the privilege of being the spokesman of Indian business in my capacity as FICCI President. I had the SHRI K. S. G. HAJA SHAREEF opportunity to interact closely with the country’s Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareef was President of the policymakers, planners, administrators, captains FICCI during the year 1987-88. The year was particularly significant as it was the Diamond Jubilee year of the FICCI. The Diamond Jubilee function of the FICCI was inaugurated on 19th May 1987 by Hon’ble Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. Incidentally the SICCI, which was a Founder Member of the FICCI, celebrated its Platinum Jubilee on 27th March 1987 which was also inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minster of India. during the term of office as President Mr. M. V. Arunachalam had fulfilled the expectations of the business community and won much respect in Government circles and also internationally. It is also interesting to note that Shri A. L. Lakshmanan, President of SICCI gave his full support for many of the meetings organised by the FICCI on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee.
The Indian economy in the year 1987-88 received a serious setback due to the drought conditions. Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareef stressed the need for price stability and the need for government and business to cater to the needs of the common man. As President of the FICCI he gave importance to
Shri. KSG Haja Shareef, at the Diamond Jubilee Session with Shri. Rajiv Gandhi as the Chief Guest
of industry and others on vital economic issues.â€? Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareef, as FICCI President stressed the need for cost competitiveness by reducing bank charges, taxation and prompt approval of industrial licensing procedures. He also felt that infrastructure, shipping and logistics needed improvement apart from generous assistance to the small scale sector. Suggestions were also made for the development of major and minor ports, opening of ICDs and modern container terminal management. He visited various constituent Chambers of Commerce and Trade Associations all over the country which were greatly appreciated. The 61st AGM of the FICCI was inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Shri N. D. Tiwari, Finance Minister at which Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareef stressed the need for the revival of the capital market, apart from measures to promote economic growth. The term of Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareef was indeed fulfilling and truly memorable.
DR. A. C. MUTHIAH Dr. A. C. Muthiah was elected President of the FICCI for the year 2002-2003 at the 75th AGM of the institution which marked the Platinum Jubilee of the national apex body. Under the Presidentship of Dr. A. C. Muthiah there was the evolution of a new synergy between Government and business. He was able to shape a shared
Dr. A.C.Muthiah seen interacting with Shri. O. Paneerselvam, Govt of Tamil Nadu
these countries. The year witnessed FICCI and Government working together on several important developmental issues â€“ Conservation of Water, Rural Development, Climate Change, Energy, Telecom, Sports, Export Promotion, Community Health Insurance, Vibrant Gujarat, and Tourism Development.
Dr. A.C.Muthiah at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas with Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the Chief Guest
vision, and a common agenda, propelling the nation in to an orbit of dynamic growth which enabled the FICCI to continue and move forward as the prime facilitator of Indian businesses.
FICCI partnered with regulators and agencies like the International Food Policy Research Institute, International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), World Tourism Organisation, RBI, and SEBI, to give a new momentum in sectors like Agriculture, Capital Market, Banking, Corporate Governance, SMEs, WTO, etc. The FICCI also expressed its views on the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2003. FICCI was a co-organiser of India-ASEAN Business Summit, India-EU Business Summit and took efforts to ensure that the FICCI delegations accompanied the Prime Ministerâ€™s delegation to China, Russia, Germany, Malaysia, Turkey and Thailand. It also engaged itself with the SAARC countries and held useful meetings.
The first major event under his Presidentship was the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas which enabled the participation of the NRIs and the decision of a dual citizenship was taken by Government. He also set up Parliamentary Forums which enabled continuous interaction between political and business leaders. The Indo-US Parliamentary Forum, the Indo-British Parliamentary Forum Under the Presidentship of Dr. A. C. Muthiah 34 and the Indo-German Parliamentary Forum specialised Committees of the FICCI on diverse helped in promoting closer economic ties between segments of the economy discussed sectoral 100
issues on a day-to-day basis. During the year 2002-2003 FICCI organised 240 programmes encompassing a wide range of sectors of economy. The branded events like FRAMES, CITYSCAPE, INDAICHEM, INDIA-AFRICA HEALTH SUMMIT, Conference on Capital Market,-CAPAM, to name a few and had all carved a niche in Indian Industry and academia. Dr. A. C. Muthiah also held the sixth meeting of the Executive Committee on 1st July 2003 at Chennai which was addressed by Honâ€™ble Dr. J. J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. During his Presidentship the new logo of the FICCI was unveiled depicting the dynamic changes of the institution during the Platinum Jubilee year. The term of Dr. A. C. Muthiah concluded with the 76th AGM which was held on 7th January 2004 and was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, President of India. Indeed the term of Dr. A. C. Muthiah was unparalleled and set new benchmarks in the history of this great institution.
SICCIâ€™S ASSOCIATION WITH INC-ICC:
SICCI was a founder member of this august body. Mr. M.V. Arunachalam was the President of the INC-ICC during the years 1971 and 1972. Dr. A.C. Muthiah was the President in 1987-88 and also served on the Executive Board of the ICC, Paris during the years 2003 to 2005. Mr. A. Vellayan, was President during the year 20002001. The SICCI continues take on active part in the affairs of the INC-ICC.
Shri. M.V Arunachalam, President, INC-ICC at the 129th Council Session with Shrimati. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister as the Chief Guest
The International Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1919 at Paris, and the Indian National Committee of the ICC was formed in 1929. The
The Presidents of the Sicci 97
HONâ€™BLE SHRI PITTI THYAGARAYA CHETTIAR - FOUNDER PRESIDENT 1909-1921
Introduction Honâ€™ble Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar was elected President of the SICCI at the first preliminary meeting held to form the Chamber on 25th October 1909 at the premises of the Indian Bank and also to adopt the Memorandum and Articles of Association. Thereafter the Chamber was registered officially on 28th October 1910 with the Registrar of Companies under the Companies Act and official recognition was obtained. The members had rightly chosen Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar as the Founder President considering that the new institution had to be headed by a President with outstanding qualities and high repute in business and government circles. Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar was an eminent lawyer, industrialist and a prominent political leader from the erstwhile Madras province. He entered public life and served as a member of the Corporation of Madras from 1882-1922. He also served as President of the Corporation of Madras and was noted for his outstanding services. He was also elected as the first President of the Justice Party. When elections were held in December 1920 in the Madras Presidency under the Montago Chemsford Reforms the Justice Party obtained a majority and 99
although the Governor of Madras invited Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar to form the government he could not take up this responsibility because of ill health. Hence Shri. A. Subbarayalu Reddiar was appointed Chief Minister. The continuation of Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar as President till 1921 was necessary to ensure and to nurture the SICCI and to make it as an institution with credibility that would voice the views of business in not only promoting their interests but also strive for the growth of the economy.
The First Year During the first year of the chamberâ€™s official recognition, Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar ensured that a good Secretariat was established A stamp released by the Department of Posts in honour of and various governmental communications were Shri. Pitti Thayagaraya Chetti received efficiently so that the committee could discuss matters relating to business and economy. A close watch was kept on the level at which the controller of currency held currency reserves. On matters relating to foreign trade, the Chamber was quick to take up the question of Japanese competition with Indian yarn which was made possible through the assistance given by the Japanese Government. The Chamber had also taken up matters relating to the establishment of a separate Department of Industries which would encourage the growth of industries. However, when the government decided to close the Department of Industries, after appointing Sir Alfred Chatterton as the Director, Public Instructions, of the Madras Presidency the Chamber expressed its dissatisfaction as the action was retro grade. The Chamber was one of the first institutions to offer suggestions and frame rules of the registration of the Trademarks. This in the long run enabled the Chamber to be recognised 100
as a recognised institution for the registration of Trademarks. Right from the very first year of its existence the Chamber played a vital role in civic affairs and also with matters relating to the Madras Port Trust. Representations were made for seats in the Corporation, the Legislative Council as well as the Port Trust and other bodies and committees. The Chamber was described at the highest level as â€œan embodiment of the principles of cooperation distinguished by its active interest in encouraging new industries and its eagerness to sponsor public causes. It was looked upon as a mirror of public opinion and an instrument of economic progressâ€?. An announcement was made regarding the acquisition of a suitable building to house the office of the Chamber. The purchase price was secured by a Debenture loan at 4% p.a. which was fully subscribed.
Contribution to Infrastructure Development Shri. Thyagaraya Chettiar made efforts to impress upon the railways for the construction of new lines and for establishing stations to facilitate the movement of goods. He also emphasized on the need to start the Indo-Ceylon ferry service from Dhanushkodi to Thalaimannar. The President also took up problems relating to the port and called for improvements to facilitate foreign trade. He shared the opinion of Sir Francis Spring, Chairman of the Madras Port about the prospective growth of trade and the need for increased investment in the port. As early as 1912 the Chamber had also taken up the question of deepening of the Buckingham Canal upto Covelong in order to improve facilities for the transport of salt. The SICCI welcomed the Financial Secretary Sir William Meyer, in April 1914 when the Chamber used the opportunity to press for railway development.
Contribution to the Leather Industry The Chamber was fortunate to be represented in the Port Trust by two members who made representations for the provision of shipping space to export hides that had accumulated in Madras. At the same time it also felt the need for a cess on exports of hides and skins in order to develop valueadded products for local consumption. This suggestion ultimately paved the way for the development of the leather industry and to make it a valuable foreign exchange earner in the 21st century. 101
Contribution to the Indian Monetary Policy The Chamberlain Commission which included the noted economist Mr. John Maynard Keynes as a member was appointed to examine the Indian currency system. The Chamber made a reference to the policy of the Presidency Banks which were partial to European trading interest, as a result of being well represented on their bankâ€™s boards. The Chamber deputed Shri Vidyasagar Pandya to give evidence before the Royal Commission Shri. Pitti Thayagaraya Chetti being felicitated upon being elected the President, of England. In due course, Mr. Pandya went to Corporation of Madras England on behalf of the Chamber and offered his valuable comments. He advocated for the Presidency Banks which held Government balances to be under Government control and for Indians to be appointed to the Board of Directors. On matters like currency and exchange, the Chamber was not complacent or prepared to accept official views. It must be remembered that Indian opinion was shaped largely by the theory of the Drain, so that the sterling realised by Indian exports was taken for what were called the Home Charges. India was compelled to export more merchandise in order to pay interest charged on loans none of which was used for Indiaâ€™s benefit in any way. As regards currency, the Chamber was convinced that early centralisation of reserves was necessary. It shared the public partiality for a gold coinage, but it was even more convinced that a central banking institution to regulate currency and credit under Government control was imperative. The President commented on the Indian Companies Act which placed large powers in the hands of shareholders which had to be exercised cautiously in the interest of the enterprises in which the shareholders had invested. The Chamber agreed with the authorities about the need for official supervision and audit of co-operative societies. 102
The Outbreak of the First World War But very soon, the war came to overshadow the normal business matters and the Chamber was the first to register alarm at the ban on the export of hides. This was meant to reserve available supplies for the United Kingdom solely. Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar understood the problems faced by the business community arising out of World War I and as there were shortages of essential commodities and industrial raw materials, the Chamber was compelled to Shri. Pitti Thayagaraya Chetti with the Executive Committee members of the criticise war risk insurance, because of the high SICCI rate charged. Although there were restrictions on credit the view of the Chamber was to maintain normalcy. The Chamber put forth a request for supplies of chemicals from the U.K. which was also supplied earlier by other countries. It also put forth a suggestion that the British Government should assist exporters of copra, jute and Hessian, etc. to find suitable markets since there was no export to Germany possible at that time. While the Chamber was taking up the problems relating to shortages, the situation caused by the First World War was looked upon by Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar optimistically, as an opportunity for development. The situation demanded increased sugar production apart from the manufacture of dyestuffs, glass and soap which were all items required for consumption. In spite of the disturbing developments, the Chamber, under the Presidentship of Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar took the initiative to organise an industrial conference, which called for Governmental assistance for industrial development and improve technical education. The general economic situation was a difficult one due to increases in the price level. The war also led to higher taxation which ultimately resulted in increased prices. The appointment of the Industrial Commission in 1916 quickened interest in the issue of fiscal autonomy for India. Before the Commission visited Madras, the Chamber had formed 103
its opinion about the probable growth of the textile industry after the war as well as the prospects of the sugar industry. The Chamber was certainly prophetic about the power problem and insisted that hydroelectric power was needed to help industrial growth. The year 1914 was important in the history of Madras as the city began to directly feel the impact of the war. On a quiet night on September 22, 1914 a German war ship named “EMDEN” began to fire shells which not only caused damage but also panic. Although the shelling of Chennai affected business operations yet it was the SICCI who encouraged Indian businessmen to carry on with their business as it was the duty of the Government to offer protection to its citizens. In 1916, the inquiries of the Currency Commission led to a long argument about the Bank of Madras, the composition of its shareholders and the Directorate along with the lending policy which was aligned more with foreign trade than industrial growth. In the evidence presented to the Industrial Commission the Chamber argued out the case for educational reforms. It emphasized the need for pioneering enterprises and put forward a specific case for the manufacture of aluminium. The President held strong views about measures to promote Indian shipping and shipbuilding after the war. In summing up the Chamber’s activities during the First World War it may be said that as the eyes and ears of the commercial community, the Chamber had fulfilled its own purpose and established its importance.
The Aftermath of the First World War The Chamber noted that war had created a big impact on Britain, and India being a part of the British Empire was also affected. Inflation more than doubled between 1914 and 1919, while the value of the pound sterling fell by an estimated 62%. There was an urgent need therefore to rebuild the economy of the British Empire, and India being a part of the Empire needed to increase investment for economic consolidation and further progress. Shri. Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar was firm in his declaration that the commercial exploitation of India by non-Indians must cease and the industrial and fiscal freedom of India must be firmly established and the economic independence of India must be ensured. He recalled the Viceroy’s statement “that we shall look back to this war as the date of 104
India’s industrial birth.” He called for changes in the British tariff policy and pointed out that the British authorities were still suspicious of India’s claims to fiscal autonomy. In an interview with Sir George Barnes, a minister from the Labour Party, the Chamber argued out the case for protection of Indian interests and in his reply, Sir George Barnes only asked for the items to which an export or import duty may be applied and to examine the effects of trade restrictions during the war. In a letter to Government, the Chamber referred to the prevalent industrial backwardness and asked for a new policy for the expansion and development of Indian manufacturing industries. It asked also for the development of the Indian mercantile marine fleet which would also encourage domestic shipbuilding. The Chamber called for the abolition of war taxes and duty on excess profits. The Chamber was called upon to consider the country’s need for essential imports in the face of a drastic reduction over four years.
A Snapshot of the Madras Presidency The evidence of Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar given before the Indian Industrial Commission – 1916 to 1918 reveals the state of economic and industrial development in the Madras Presidency. He states “this presidency is industrially very backward. We have no manufacturers to compare with the cotton manufacturers of Bombay or the jute manufacturers of Calcutta. We do not have facilities for the generation of power and we are far away from the coalfields. Our import figures show that we are importing into this presidency over 3 crores worth cotton manufactures; over a crore worth of twist and yarns; nearly half a crore worth of refined sugar besides soap, paints, leather goods, candles, boots and shoes and other articles which are made out of our materials. Our difficulties in the way of establishing manufacturing industries in the Presidency are financial, scientific and technical not to mention the apathy of the Government towards matters of industry generally. The European business community in this country has a solidarity of its own on account of the prestige and influence with the Government of the country which secures them all the help they want.” In short the state of industry at that point of time was aptly summarised by Shri Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar. 105
The Chamber’s most important achievement in the years after the war was the formulation of national and local opinion in fiscal policy. It approved tariff protection and the Government control of exports. It also favoured the collection of export duties, to keep domestic prices down and to supplement customs revenue. The SICCI was not in favour of lowering customs duty on British goods generally known as Imperial Preference and the levy of excise duty on goods manufactured in India. SICCI advocated equal treatment. Sir Theagaraya Chettiar called for a careful policy as regards currency and exchange, while at the same time, also insisted that India’s material salvation lay in increased production. The Chamber was fully conscious of the work of the Indian Fiscal Commission to which evidence was offered in a memorandum, insisting that any promising infant industry should be given assistance on principle. It may still be said that current opinion and fiscal policy owes much to the vision and knowledge of the Chamber in its formative period. During the 11th AGM of the SICCI, members placed on record Shri. Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar’s valuable services in placing the SICCI on a firm and sound foundation. In spite of his multivarious activities, he dedicated himself to the growth and development of the SICCI by taking up various problems on currency and finance, industrialization, banking, transport including railways, civic amenities and port matters. He was instrumental in getting representation for the Chamber in the Madras Legislative Council, the Corporation and the Madras Port Trust and had also ensured that the Chamber had its own building and was well staffed. Under his leadership and with the support of leading businessmen he won the respect of the then British Government and the society at large.
JANAB M. JAMAL MOHAMED SAHIB 1921-22 & 1929-34
Many important subjects were considered during the tenure of the second president of the chamber Shri. Janab M Jamal Mohamed Sahib. The Chamber expressed its opinion on Indian Wireless Telegraph Act, Income Tax Amendment Act, trade and exchange position, enhancement of railway freight, wagon supplies, etc. Shri Jamal Mohamed had also contributed extensively for the growth of the leather industry in the region which was in its infancy. He took an active part in National Affairs and constantly interacted with leaders of business in other parts of the country. His participation in conferences with top business leaders also led to the formation of the FICCI of which he was the President during the year 1931-32.
SIR M. CT. MUTHIAH CHETTIAR 1922-28 Sir. M.Ct.Muthiah Chettiar was Sheriff of Madras and during his term in 1922 the Prince of Wales (later Edward the Eighth) visited Madras. A magnificent reception was accorded to the visiting prince by Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar who was the Chairman of the Reception Committee on the occasion. As a reciprocal gesture he was knighted and was given the title of â€œSirâ€? to be prefixed before his name. Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar was also well known for his business in banking and had established the M. Ct. Bank at Rangoon in Burma. He was also a Director of the Indian gradually built up the fortunes of this firm which Bank in 1914 and continued till 1929. began to expand and establish branches in other The year 1924 was an important year in the history cities. He had cordial relations with High His of life insurance and Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar Highness Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar, Maharaja of played an important role in setting life insurance Mysore who opened the United India Life building on a firm foundation as the United India Life at Bangalore. Insurance was floated by a business house owned by Lingam Brothers and a young man named Focus on Exim Trade & Infrastrucutre: Shri Vijayendra Rao played an important role in During the term of Sir. M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar establishing the company. However subsequently the Chamber had risen to the occasion and had the company faced financial difficulties and help taken up many subjects of importance. was sought to avoid further loss. In 1924 Sir M. The chamber was busy with important issues Ct. Muthiah Chettiar took over the company and 108
affecting the trade in the region such as required changes to the system of weights and measures, Excise policy, amendment to Indian Stamp Act, Deferred Rebates Bill, State Aid to Industries Act, Railways, etc. Other crucial issues such as Draft rules under the Workmenâ€™s Compensation Act, Apprentice Legislation, Income Tax reference, Administration of ports, shipping, Indian Taxation Enquiry Commission, amendment to the Negotiable Instruments Act were also ably handled by the chamber. The Chamberâ€™s attention was also focussed on subjects like Stamp Duty on certain instruments, parcel post between India and England, Amendment to District Municipalities Act, Cotton Legislation, Railway Risk Note forms, etc, engaged the very close attention of the Committee during the year. On railways, the Chamber suggested the early connection of Tuticorin with Tiruchy. The need for reduction in railway freight and the development of Indian shipping as this line of business was dominated by the foreign powers, (particularly Britain) was emphasized. The President stated that at the time when the Indian National Congress was being held in Madras, commercial interests had to combine together and affirm what should be done to build up Indian trade and industry.
Initiatives on Finance, Taxation & Banking: A Commission on Indian Currency enabled the Chamber to examine its scope and purpose. Subjects relating to banking, the setting up of a Central Bank and bringing about parity between the rupee and the pound was discussed and taken up with Government. The Chamber also impressed upon the Government the needs of indigenous bankers who had spent their offices in various parts of South East Asia. The Chamber had also taken up new legislations like the Factories Amendment Act and the taxation system where suitable suggestions were furnished by the Chamber. In regard to new tax measures like the increase in salt duty, the Chamber was critical and the levy of a tax on Companies through Municipalities led to a strong representation against the proposals. Sir S. N. Pochkhanawalla, Managing Director & Founder of the Central Bank of India visited the SICCI and complemented the initiatives of the chamber.
During the year 1927, the Chamber’s attention was drawn to the critical position of India’s economy and it pointed out that the free export of raw hides and skins operated to the disadvantage of the tanning industry. Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar condemned the Government’s financial policy and the extremely cautious attitude of the Imperial Bank of India. The Chamber declined to accept the official view regarding price levels and the adjustment of the exchange ratio to the purchasing power of the rupee. It argued that Britain’s return to the Gold Standard had led to a new policy in regulating the external value of the Indian currency. Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar was convinced of the need to regulate the banking industry through sound monetary policies and felt the need to establish Reserve Bank to ensure efficient working of the banking system in national interest. A major landmark in the history of the Chamber was its sponsorship of an industrial and commercial Congress in December 1927 when Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar headed the reception committee and Sir Ibrahim Rahimtullah presided. At this conference (with Burma also represented therein) the true economic voice of India emerged through resolutions concerning fiscal policy and encouragement for industrial development. At the conference, Sir Ibrahim Rahimtullah felt that Britain always put her own interest first and the adoption of protective tariff with concessions to British trade were given in the name of Imperial Preference. He felt that the banking system needed a thorough study and stated that British banks competed strongly with the Indian banks, and there was a need to link up indigenous bankers with the organised banking system. The conference also opposed the appointment of a statutory commission to examine the political situation because the Simon Commission, which constituted to study constitutional reforms, fell short of expectations. The conference also warned against undue interference in matters relating to labour and stressed on the need for legislative reforms in insurance, trademarks and leases given to the plantation industry.
The Founding of FICCI: Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar was also a visionary. He had also interacted with top businessmen in Bombay, Calcutta and New Delhi and felt the need to establish an institution of all India repute to represent Indian business as a whole. It has been stated that in one of the meetings in Madras the 110
subject of setting up such a national institution was discussed which led to the early setting up of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). It has been stated that the meeting in fact took place at his residence at “Bedford House.” It was a proud privilege for him along with other prominent business leaders to act as a host to organise the first AGM of the FICCI at Chennai which was held at the premises of the Pachaiappa’s College. Sir. Dinshaw Petit who spoke at the first AGM of FICCI which followed the Congress referred to the exchange ratio and the constitution of the proposed Reserve Bank. Both Mr. Jamal Mohammed and Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar were elected to the committee of the FICCI in 1928. Sir A view of the Pachaiyappa’s College where the first AGM of the FICCI tool place M. Ct. Muthiah Chettiar was concerned about the decline in the export of Madras handkerchiefs because of a fall in British demand. He also referred to the difficulty of the oil crushing industries and felt that instead of groundnut kernels India should export oil because the local crushing industry would thrive and oil cakes would be retained for the use of the country. Sir M. Ct. Muthiah Cherttiar was the President of the Chamber for a period of six years from 19221928 and contributed significantly for the growth of the Chamber in various fields including banking, insurance, industry, taxation and infrastructure. The Chamber was looked upon as an institution of intellectuals whose advice on various policy matters was for the betterment of the economy. The efforts of the Chamber helped promote and protect Indian business interests in various fields. Indeed while Indian political leaders sought for political freedom, the business leaders sought for economic freedom and to make India economically strong through the efforts of the Indian business community. 111
NAWAB C. ABDUL HAKIM SAHIB 1928-29 & 1935-37
Nawab C. Abdul Hakim Sahib was elected President of the Chamber in 1928 and during his term of office made significant contribution on matters relating to trade, investment and shipping. Being a pioneer of the leather industry in Madras, he effectively resolved various issues plaguing the tanners. He was also Sheriff of Madras in 1929, a Member of the Legislative Assembly in 1937 and Director of the Indian Bank and Central Bank of Madras. Shri C. Abdul Hakim Sahib took up matters relating to industrial relations and suggested modifications to the trade disputes bill. He also advocated the protection of dock labour while emphasizing the need to encourage Indian shipping. The evolution and adoption of a nationalist viewpoint after 1925 is visible in the Chamberâ€™s argument in favour of a new Stores Policy giving preference to the materials and manufactured in India. The Chamber played an important role in the Legislative Council where it was given representation. It was also represented on the Madras University and also invited on the Board of Industries of the provincial Government. 112
SHRI M. JAMAL MOHAMED SAHEB – 1929-1934
The Great Depression The year 1929 was quite challenging not only for India but for all countries. It was the year when there was a great depression in the USA. The crisis led to the downfall of the stock market, recession in the industrial sector and failure of banks. The Chamber was deeply concerned about the fall in exports due to depression which also affected the tanning industry. It was felt that protection should be given to Indian shipping interests and for a clear understanding on the operations of foreign and Indian shipping companies. The Chamber had also gone on a deputation to the Viceroy Lord Irwin about the needs of the Madras Port and also for the revision in the rupee exchange ratio. As the USA was also a trading partner the consequences of the depression and the contraction in trade affected commodities such as hides and skins and groundnuts.
The Call of the ‘Swadeshi’ Movement: The Chamber had during the lean depression season felt that the call of Swadeshi by Mahatma Gandhi deserved the fullest attention and felt that the purchase and sale of foreign cloth should be restricted in favour of Swadeshi products. The Chamber was deeply concerned about the repercussions of the historic salt march or Dandi march on 12th March 1930 by Mahatma Gandhi consequent on the levy of tax on salt which is an essential requirement for the common man. The tax fetched annually Rupees 60 million. Gandhiji who launched the Civil Disobedience Movement marched 241 miles to Dandi and on April 6th and extracted salt from the beach. This event was an important milestone for freedom struggle and the Chamber began to further advocate the policy of Swadeshi. The month of December 1933 was a significant one as the President and the office bearers had met Mahatma Gandhi who had visited Madras at that time. The Chamber itself was started under the 113
inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi and it was a further encouragement to meet and to interact with him. Further, discussions were held with him with regard to matters connected with Swadeshi, the taxation reforms and the promotion of indigenous industries and the welfare of the people.
The Initiatives of the Chamber During the tenure of Shri. Jamal Mohamed Sahib, the Chamber had taken up matters relating to labour, excise and import duty on kerosene and the need to maintain an import duty on copra and coconut oil. The Chamber also took up issues relating to foreign trade, railway rates and customs tariff. During 1931 the Chamber was in favour of a tax on motor vehicles to replace tolls and felt that the correct basis of motor taxation was petrol consumption. The Chamber expressed the view that the state should ultimately be the owner of the railways which alone could unite and bring about efficiency and uniformity throughout the country. The Chamber also felt the need for the improvement of economic statistics to help in policy formulation. It expressed its views in favour of export duties on raw hides and skins and the gradual manufacture of value-added products. In September 1931 Britain left the gold standard and the British Government introduced a special budget increasing taxes and duties which were taken up by the Chamber. The year 1932 was a historic one as it marked the beginning of Civil Aviation in India. On 15th October 1932 Tata Sons Ltd. began air service from Karachi, Ahmedabad, Bombay and Madras. The 28-year-old J.R.D. Tata, the pioneering Indian industrialist, flew from Karachi to Bombay, ushering a new era in Indian aviation. The Chamber welcomed the outstanding achievement of Mr. J.R.D. Tata. The Chamber had expressed its views on various legislative measures relating to Workmensâ€™ Compensation Act and Land Acquisition Act and Amendment to the Income Tax Act. The Chamber also objected to the imperial preference for goods produced in the UK and was not in favour of some of the provisions of the Ottawa Conference which gave tariff protection to goods produced in the British Empire.
The Chamber also referred to the difficulties caused by the exit of Indians from the Indo-China and suggested that Government should take steps to protect Indian nationals overseas. In 1933, the Chamber was critical of the proposal to abolish export duty on raw hides. The Chamberâ€™s early plea to establish Reserve Bank of India was favourably considered and the Bill was passed by the Central Assembly and the Bank was established on 1st April 1935 in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act 1934. During the year a Bill for the regulation of money lending was brought at the Madras Legislative Council and the Chamber had submitted several valuable recommendations. The Chamber had also taken a delegation to meet the Viceroy and presented a memorandum relating to taxation, exchange ratio, railways and other matters connection with the general economy.
SHRI DIWAN BAHADUR GOVINDOSS CHATHURBUJADAS (1934-1935) & (1937-38)
Under the leadership of Shri Diwan Bahadur Govindoss Chathurbujadas the Chamber also took up the problems relating to the decline in export trade and particularly the fall in Indiaâ€™s exports to USA consequent to the depression. Shri Diwan Bahadur Govindoss Chathurbujadas referred to the proposed separation of Burma as detrimental, and seriously hampering Indian interests. The Chamber in its memorandum on the Reserve Bank Bill had also made a point that more gold was required for the currency reserve. The SICCI also took up matters relating to the port charges, tariff protection to steel produced in India as well as the hosiery industries which faced competition from Japan. In an interview with Sir Malcolm Darling in November 1934, the Chamber described the need to integrate the banking system and explained that the indigenous bankers should be brought into the scope of the regular organised credit system. It argued that affordable and easily accessible credit for agriculture should be made available and recommended the proposal for the increase of land mortgage banks. Even during these initial years the Chamber was conscious to recognise the needs of charity. The Chamber had made a sizeable contribution for relief operations organised by the Bihar and Orissa Chamber of Commerce for the victims of the earth quakes that struck the 116
region. The Chamber had also taken up matters relating to the legitimate business issues of Indians in Burma to safeguard their interest. The Chamber during the second stint of Shri Diwan Bahadur Govindoss Chathurbujadas as the president took up important matters such as the new Insurance Bill to protect policyholders, apart from matters relating to the Trademarks Act and Sale of Goods Act, Income Tax as well as the need to rationalise customs duties on an all-India basis. During the visit of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Sir James Taylor, the chamber emphasised the need to maintain the low bank rate and also for maintaining a connection between the indigenous bankers and RBI. It was noted that small joint stock banks would take the place of indigenous bankers and control over banking would be through a central legislation. The Chamber had also pleaded for aid to industry and also the need to supply power at low rates. The Chamberâ€™s views on labour legislation were made known to Sir Harold Butler when he visited the Chamber in 1937.
SHRI NAWAB C. ABDUL HAKIM SAHEB 1935-1937 Under the Presidentship of Shri Nawab C. Abdul Hakim Saheb, the Chamber had also taken up with Sir Mohamed Zafarullah Khan, the Minister of Railways, who later became Pakistanâ€™s first Foreign Minister, the need for regrouping of railways into zones for the sake of operating economy and also to establish Railway Rights Tribunal. A useful interaction was also held with Mr. D. P. Khaitan and Mr. M. Lala Padampat Singhania from FICCI on matters pertaining to Swadeshi. The visit of a South African Goodwill Mission to the Chamber provided a useful interaction. During the tenure of Shri. Nawab C, Abdul Hakim Saheb, the memorandum & articles of association were amended to give direct representation to the affiliated bodies on the executive committee of the chamber.
Silver Jubilee Celebrations: The Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Chamber were held on 7th December 1935 at the Victoria Public Hall, Madras. The Chamber was recognised as an institution of prestige and high reputation as number of dignitaries had attended the function apart from the presence of His Excellency Lord Erskine, Governor of Madras. A detailed account of the silver jubilee celebrations is given on a separate chapter on historic occasions of the Chamber.
Impact on Government Policy: The new Companies Act also came into existence in circa 1936 and The SICCI felt that encouragement should be given for local industries and exports apart from the services sector namely banking and also insurance. The Chamber had also deplored the continuance of gold exports pointing out that in about five years India had exported Rs. 300 crores worth of gold. The Chamber had also responded with concrete suggestions on the Railways Amendment Bill, the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill and also for rationalisation of import duties to suit local requirements. It pleaded for lower duty on wattle extract which was required for the development of the tanning industry. Other matters of economic importance were also discussed with Sir Frank Noyce & Sir. G.S.Bajpai who visited the Chamber. The franchise committee headed by Lord Lothian and the de limitation committee also sought the views of the chamber. The Chamber took up some of the provisions relating to the Income Tax law, the Madras Tobacco Bill and also offered suggestions relating to sickness insurance which was proposed by Whitley Commission. 118
SHRI DIWAN BAHADUR GOVINDOSS CHATHURBUJADAS 1937-1938 The Chamber under the Presidentship of Shri Diwan Bahadur Govindoss Chathurbujadas played an active role in safeguarding the Indian interests in various government initiatives such as the new Insurance Bill to protect policyholders, amendments relating to the Trademarks Act and Sale of Goods Act, Income Tax as well as advocating for the need to rationalise customs duties on an all-India basis. The second Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Sir James Taylor, who was closely associated with the preparation of the Reserve Bank of India Bill, visited the chamber to interact with its members. The President emphasised on the need to maintain the low bank rate and also for maintaining a connection between the indigenous bankers and RBI. The President also noted that small joint stock banks would take the place of indigenous bankers and control over banking would be through a central legislation. During the tenure of Shri Diwan Bahadur Govindoss Chathurbujadas the Chamber had also pleaded for aid to the indigenous industries and for the need to supply power at low rates. The Chamberâ€™s recommendations on labour legislations were submitted to Sir Harold Butler, Director, International Labour Office, when he visited the Chamber in 1937.
DIWAN BAHADUR SIR M. BALASUNDARAM NAIDU 1938-1939
The SICCI under the leadership of Sir M. Balasundaram Naidu was proactive in highlighting the burden caused by additional taxation as there was a distinct possibility of war. The Chamber continued to work for the development of the Indian shipping industry and for the reforms in the registration of trademarks. The failure of several banks was also a matter of concern and hence the Chamber presented a memorandum to His Excellency Victor Hope II, the Marquess of Linlithgow, the longest serving Viceroy of India who had earlier declined the Governorship of Madras presidency. The chamber requested for a positive economic policy consistent with the countryâ€™s resources to ensure the rapid expansion of trade. The chamber believed in the potential for the increased trade with the USA and hence campaigned for direct and regular steamer services, the opening of bank branches and negotiation of treaties to facilitate this trade. Similarly the chamber also campaigned for the promotion of trade with Germany and proposed for Indian commodities to be exchanged for general machinery. The Chamber expressed 120
its alarm over the riots in Burma and consequently a donation was made for relief of refugees from Burma. The Government of India Act, 1935 vested the Provincial Legislatures like those in Madras, Bengal, Punjab, Bihar, and Bombay the power to levy taxes on the sale of goods, subject to certain provisions. In India, Madras was the pioneer in the levy of sales tax as the state legislature chose to adopt multi-point tax which was levied on all dealers whose turnover exceeded Rs. 10,000. The introduction of Madras General Sales Tax on 3rd September 1939 by the Honâ€™ble Chief Minister Shri C. Rajagopalachari led to representations by the chamber against the new levy which was felt to be stringent and burdensome.
SHRI M. CT. M. CHIDAMBARAM CHETTIYAR 1939-1940
Under the Presidentship of Shri M. Ct. M. Chidambaram Chettiyar the Chamber emphasized on the problems consequent to the outbreak of war such as the war risk insurance and the imposition of the excess profit tax. When British interests were threatened, recommendations of Tariff Boards appointed by the Government of India were often not accepted and sometimes even suppressed, as in the case of the Indo-British Trade Agreement of 1939. The Chamber voiced its displeasure in this regard and submitted its views on the defects of the Indo-British trade pact when Sir Ramasamy Mudaliar, Commerce Member visited the Chamber. The Chamber had a futuristic outlook which was evident from its push for the health insurance plan and proposed for the payment of medical benefits on a contributory basis. When Mr. Walchand Hirachand, Chairman, Scindia Steam Navigation Company, the first Swadeshi shipping company, visited the chamber, the need to support Indian shipping was stressed. The spate of provincial legislations compelled the Chamber to make repeated representation about tobacco tax, electricity duty and sales tax administration. The imposition of shipping restrictions and trade control forced the Chamber to make a suitable representation to the Government. Shri M. Ct. M. 122
Chidambaram Chettiyar also drew up a plan to setup a commercial museum but in view of the manifold activities and the effects of war, the plan was postponed. Shri M. Ct. M. Chidambaram Chettiyar, President took active interest in making life insurance accessible for the welfare of citizens as he had already established the United India Life Insurance Company Limited. He thereafter went on to incorporate the United India Fire and General Insurance Limited in the year 1938. He also took an active role in matters relating to banking and in spite of the depression at that time he established the Indian Overseas Bank on 20th November 1936 with three branches that started simultaneously in Karaikudi, Madras and Rangoon. He represented the Chamber as a Councillor of the Corporation of Madras from 1936 and actively worked for the improvement of civic amenities. He was also elected as a Member of the Council of State at New Delhi and used that as a platform to address issues relating to agricultural income tax particularly the tax on agricultural income derived from Burma with which the Chamber was deeply concerned. Shri M. Ct. M. Chidambaram Chettiyar visualised the role which Chambers of Commerce had to play and expressed the view that Chambers â€œwould be called upon to play a part in casting the mould of an economically self-sufficient regenerated India.â€? The Life Insurance Corporation of India Ltd and The Indian Overseas Bank which were some of the institutions established by M.Ct.M. Chidambaram Chettiyar
SHRI KHAN BAHADUR ADAM HAJEE MOHAMED SAIT 1940-41
The Chamber, under the guidance of Shri Khan Bahadur Adam Hajee Mohamed Sait worked for the progress of the textile industry and helped empower the Indian mills retain the work secured from overseas markets in spite of the scarcity of raw cotton. Sir A. Ramasamy Mudaliar, who was closely associated with Shri. Pitti Thyagaraya Chettiar, the founder of the SICCI, visited the chamber and showered praise for the work done in line with the vision of the founder. When Mr. J. F. Sheehy, Member, Central Board of Revenue, visited the chamber, the President stated that by the Indo-Burma trade agreement, Burma would remain within Indiaâ€™s orbit and an outlet for sugar was assured. He however said that the tanning industry had met with a serious reverse, owing to the loss of markets and the lack of shipping space. Though the timber trade had been on the increase, there was the loss of share in the mica trade with Japan. He also expressed his views about the rise in public expenditure especially when economic conditions were not healthy. 124
Sir. Gurunath Bewoor who introduced the â€˜bewoor time testâ€™ to gauge the efficiency of postal work, became the first Indian to be the Director of Post & Telegraphs Department in India. So when he visited the chamber, the members interacted with Sir. Bewoor with pride while offering concrete suggestions for improving the services of the Post & Telegraphs Department. Captain H. L. Davis, Advisor to the Government of India, Commerce Department also visited the chamber and had discussions with the members about the economy of the nation.
Dr. RAJAH SIR M.A. MUTHIAH CHETTIAR OF CHETTINAD 1941-1942
Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar who was then known as Kumararajah Sir M. A. Muthiah Chettiar, was also elected as a first Mayor of the Madras Corporation and Pro-Chancellor of the Madras University. He was also Minister in the Justice Party and was in charge of Education, Medical Relief, Public Health and Excise. He along with his father had founded the Annamalai University in which the Chamber had also been given representation on the Senate. He took an active part in the affairs of the Chamber even before he was elected President by serving on many Advisory Committees such as the Railway Rates Advisory Committee and the Madras Income Tax Board of Referees. Janab Khan Bahadur Adam Hajee Mohamed Sait in his address at the AGM before laying down his office stated â€“ â€œwe are singularly happy that Kumararajah Sir M. A. Muthiah Chettiar was free to accept the office of President for this year and under his guidance, organising capacity, and driving power this would be 126
Shri. Fakruddin Ahamed, addressing the SICCI AGM
a very eventful and successful year in the Chamber’s life. It is with such a rich and varied backdrop that he took on the mantle of Presidentship of the Chamber.
The Impending War: Under his dynamic Presidentship the Chamber had given its best cooperation to the Government and particularly to His Excellency the Governor of Madras, Sir Arthur Hope so that the Madras Presidency could effectively address the challenges of the II World War. This was quite crucial as Sir. Arthur Hope had only then assumed his responsibilities as the Governor of Madras from Lord Erskine and following the Japanese conquest of Burma & the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, there were strong apprehensions about possible Japanese attacks on coastal Indian cities. The President welcomed the Sir Stafford Cripps Mission to India which ultimately sought Indian support & cooperation for the British efforts in the World War II and hoped that the problem of India’s Independence ultimately will be solved in a manner acceptable to all parties and interests.
Balancing Agricultural & Industrial Growth: At the 32nd AGM of the Chamber the President said “we can no more depend upon external sources of food supply but will have to bring in every inch of 128
Dr. Rajah. Sir. Muthiah Chettiar addressing the Economic Conference organized by the SICCI
Dr. Rajah. Sir. Muthiah Chettiar seen here at an interactive meeting with Air Marshal P. C. Lal, Chairman and Managing Director of the Indian Airlines
wasteland under cultivationâ€?. The Chamber was quite active in pursuing matters relating to high shipping freight rates, railway wagon shortages, etc. as the business community were the worst victims of dislocation in transport. He took efforts to increase representation to the Chamber on the Madras Port Trust Board and also for the expansion of the harbour. The President also stressed on the need to take steps for war production by instituting a separate department of production to organise the immense potential of the country. He suggested new schemes for industrialization particularly in the automotive sector.
Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar guided the Chamber with regards to important measures such as the Madras General Sales Tax Act, Taxation on Hides and Skins, The Income Tax Amendment Bill, Agricultural Produce Cess Act and Tariff Values, etc. He also suggested improvement of Tramways in the city and called for enhancement of other civic amenities. Under his Presidentship the Chamber made a special study of the need for industrialization in the Coimbatore, Salem belt as these areas could draw power from Mettur. He was closely involved in the affairs of the FICCI, New Delhi and took over as President of this august body the following year.
The Fruits of Labour: The Chamber on the advice of the President quickly stepped in to ensure that restrictions on imports and exports were reduced to the minimum. As a result of the timely intervention of the chamber, Honâ€™ble Sir Ramasamy Mudaliar, Commerce Member announced concrete measures to help boost oil seeds trade which bore a big proportion of our exports and also was sustaining agriculturists. Owing to the recommendations of the chamber, the Government of Madras alloted Rs. 15 lakhs as a relief to the handloom weavers who were in dire straits as the markets in Burma and South East Asia had suddenly fallen. 129
SHRI RAO BAHADUR GOPALA MENON 1942-44
During the term of Shri Rao Bahadur Gopala Menon the chamber had advocated numerous labour related measures including Provident Fund for industrial workers, holidays with pay, Amendments to the Madras Industrial Disputes Bill, the provision of Conciliation Board and other related subjects. The visit of Sir Edward Benthall, Member, Transportation provided the chamber an opportunity to offer suggestions relating to the improvement of railways. The chamber also expressed its opinion that Madras would be suitable to set up a plant for the manufacture of locomotives. In view of the diverse activities shaping trade and commerce, the Chamber had also made a request for additional representation on the Madras Port Trust. The Chamber which had a strong taxation committee even in those days, petitioned for relief in income tax and also exemption from double taxation. The Chamber had also helped resolve problems relating to direct & indirect taxes and the difficulties caused by the increase in sales tax to 1% by the Madras Government although the Governmentâ€™s finances had been restored by the re-imposition of the taxes. In order to avoid shortage of food in the aftermath of the World War, the chamber 130
campaigned for initiatives to encourage agriculture. The President expressed his opinion saying, â€œWe have learnt a bitter lesson when neglecting food supply.â€? Problems relating to import control on dyes and chemicals were also taken up with Government. The visit of Sir A. Ramasamy Mudaliar endorsed the plea that civil aviation at that time should be under Government control. The need for industrialization of the Southern region and to build up the necessary infrastructure relating to roads, railways and other communications were frequently emphasized by the SICCI. Shri Rao Bahadur Gopala Menon called for a course of correction against the accumulation of sterling balance to the credit of India when the economy of the country was passing through difficult times. The Chamber also felt that the Government should reconstruct the economy as a reward for the war effort put forth by India. The Chamber was deeply concerned about the political activities relating to the freedom movement and expressed concern over the fast undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi.
SHRI KHAN BAHADUR YUSUFF SAIT 1944-45
Shri Khan Bahadur Yusuff Sait as the President helped the chamber contribute effectively to the society at large at a time when there were shortages of essential commodities and food. The chamber welcomed the passing of the ordinance to prevent hoarding and profiteering while critizising the levy of increased sales tax as it was thought to further increase the cost of living. During the year Dr. N. V. Khare representing the Government visited the Chamber and the claims of Indians from Burma were discussed. During the visit of Sir Ramasamy Mudaliar in July 1944 the subject of inadequate coal supply for industry was discussed at depth and the need to encourage new industries in the State was also emphasized. The visit of Sir C. D. Deshmukh, the first Indian to be the Governor of Reserve Bank of India provided an opportunity to discuss views relating to currency reserves and legislation for the benefit of depositors in banks. Sir. Deshmukh represented India at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 which led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). He was a member of the Board of Governors of both of 132
these institutions for the next ten years. This visit was quite strategic as the chamber put forward its recommendations including the important issue of utilising sterling assets to meet increased expenditure. The Chamber also had effectively interacted with the Famine Enquiry Committee and made suggestions relating to improvement in agriculture and food production apart from efficient distribution. Shri Khan Bahadur Yusuff Sait also referred to the Motor Vehicle Tax and stated that â€œthis province has the singular distinction of subjecting motor vehicles to the heaviest tax in India apart from the hardship for want of tyres, petrol and spareparts.â€?
DR. RM. ALAGAPPA CHETTIAR 1945-1947
The Stalwart He proved himself a versatile business tycoon and an intrepid academician who redefined philanthropy and contributed more to the betterment of education in Tamil Nadu.He was the first Indian trainee in the Chartered Bank, London and was closely associated with Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who later on became President of India. Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar had spontaneously made liberal donations to establish educational institutions which formed the basis for the foundation of the Alagappa University later. He had convinced Prime Minister Nehru to house one of Governmentâ€™s National Research Institutions, The Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) in Karaikudi by donating 300 acres of land and Rs. 15 lakhs for the purpose. He had also pioneered the Centre of Excellence namely A. C. College of Technology at Guindy which was named after him.
The Regional Conference: The chamber under the guidance of Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar, organized a high-level southern regional conference to analyze the problems relating to industry and collectively find feasible solutions. This unique event was hugely successful as a number of valuable recommendations were forwarded to 134
the Government for implementation. The conference was inaugurated by Sir Arthur Hope, Governor of Madras Presidency who stated that Government had a duty to cooperate, encourage and help industries in every way. Sir M. Visweswarayya, the noted engineering expert who is fondly called â€˜Father of Modern Mysoreâ€™ was invited to preside over the conference. He emphasized the need for industrialisation of the Southern region and encouraged the production of consumer goods through cottage industries. He felt that planning should focus on the rural sector The Foundation stone for the SICCI building was laid down in 1945 which would deliver excellent results in agriculture and also impact other industries. Sir. Visweswarayya welcomed the setting up of colleges of technology as a good sign that would augur well for the future. The presence of Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad at the conference was significant as many of his recommendations were well received. The conference was also an occasion to unveil the portraits of past presidents by Sir R. K. Shanmukam Chettiar, who went on to become independent Indiaâ€™s first finance minister. He highlighted the signal services rendered by the past presidents to the Chamber and for the growth of business in general. He referred to the possibilities of increased business with the USA and felt that the world economies had to be planned and regulated by their respective Governments in order to achieve greater progress. He also referred to the scope of the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944. The conference called for the establishment of heavy and light industries to create more employment considering the skilled manpower that was available in Madras. Problems relating to import of 135
capital goods were also highlighted. The conference put forward a plea for flow of capital for new industries to promote regional development. It was also noted that plans for the increased manufacture of Vanaspathi, Cement and Textiles were formulated while the discovery of lignite in South Arcot held a very promising future for power generation. Sir Norman Strathie, Advisor to the Governor of Madras who participated in the conference declared that the war had highlighted the necessity for developing industry and agriculture. The occasion of the conference provided an opportunity for a very significant milestone in the history of the Chamber. On 28th December 1945, Sir Arthur Hope laid the Foundation Stone for the new premises of the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the Esplanade. Dr. Alagappa Chettiar thanked the Government for making the land available, and informed the delegates that the building would have to be constructed by subscriptions raised from the members. He declared the intentions of the Chamber to construct a magnificent building which would be a crown jewel in the locality.
The Chamber at Work: A Portrait of Sir. Arthur Hope, Governor of Madras Presidency who laid the foundation stone for the Chamber Building
The chamber commented on the need for efficient public administration and the growing burden of controls. It was also anxious that post war development 136
should be financed by the Government savings. In the correspondence of the year, the Committee commented on the proposal for a decimal coinage but argued that considerable difficulties in actual practice would arise initially. The Chamber also examined the scheme for labour welfare and the need for a review of the tax system for war reconstruction and for the stabilisation of the economy. The Chamber devoted considerable attention to the estate duty bill, electricity bill and felt that any attempt to nationalise electricity should not be made at that time. The need to develop the handloom sector was yet another subject of importance. The Chamber welcomed the recommendations of the Port Technical Committee and felt that importance should be given for the development of canals. Special attention was paid to the Textile Policy and the need to develop khadi and village industries to create employment for the rural masses. As the war was nearing its end, the Chamber pleaded for the conversion of some ordinance factories into machine building factories.
The International Focus The regional apex Chamber not only focussed on national issues but also possessed an international outlook as the chamber deputed its Vice President Mr. V. Pandurangaiah as a delegate to the International Chamber of Commerce held in Paris in 1946 to represent the Indian National Committee of the ICC. Since the rupee was depreciating the Chamber made a plea for a stable monetary policy in order to ensure that the foreign trade of the country was not adversely impacted. Considerable attention was paid to the problems of Indians in Burma and the Chamber had urged the Government to safeguard their interests. At the AGM held on 11th April 1947 Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar welcomed Mr. Gopala Reddy, Finance Minister and Mr. Sitarama Reddy, Industries Minister. He urged the Government to start basic industries and pointed out that the fertiliser industry which was a key for successful agriculture had to be established in Tamil Nadu. He also emphasised on the promotion of education to higher levels as this was the key for economic regeneration. Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiarâ€™s services to the Chamber were greatly appreciated by the committee and a resolution thanking him for his services was also passed. 137
SHRI V. PANDURANGIAH 1947-1948
During the tenure of Shri V. Pandurangiah as President the Chamber consistently interacted with the Government regarding the Madras Shops and Establishment Bill. The chamber highlighted the difficulties caused by sales tax to the Madras Government. The Chamber also maintained contacts with the Tariff Board and informed them of the problems faced by the glass factories owing to the shortage of fuel and soda ash. The Chamber was privileged with the visit of Shri C. Rajagopalachari, Governor-General who was informed about some of the difficulties relating to taxation and irregularity of coal supplies. The prestige of the Chamber was greatly enhanced not only in the region but also at the national level when Dr. Rajendra Prasad was welcomed by the Chamber. The visit of Sir R. K. Shanmukam Chettiar provided an opportunity for the Chamber to represent matters relating to lack of foreign exchange due to continuing restrictions imposed by Government. Shri V. Pandurangiah also visited Europe and Germany in particular to explore the possibilities of two-way trade and economic cooperation. The year 1947 was a significant one as preparations were made for the Indian independence. Early in 1947 Lord Atlee had announced that Britain would leave India soon and a new Viceroy Lord 138
Mountbatten would be appointed who would push forward the date for Indiaâ€™s independence. At the AGM held on 6th July 1948 a reference was made to the challenges of economic development as India would soon attain independence. The Chamber had put in a strong plea for the abolition of business profit tax and declared that income tax should be designed so as not to penalise savings. The Chamber had also felt that capital equipment was required for industrial development and at the same time modern agricultural development was necessary to bring about rural prosperity. The year under the Presidentship of Shri V. Pandurangiah was a turning point in the history of India considering that the efforts of freedom struggle had borne fruit and India had attained independence on 15th August 1947. The Chamber had also joined in the national celebrations and Independence Day was celebrated in a befitting manner.
SHRI RAO BAHADUR T. S. KACHAPIKESA MUDALIYAR 1948-1949
Under the presidentship of Shri Rao Bahadur T. S. Kachapikesa Mudaliyar the Chamber had examined the new industrial policy and labour unrest following the increase in prices. The arrival of many trade delegations seeking opportunities for investment in India created a growing interest in foreign trade. However while the role of the government in public sector enterprises was gaining importance, it was felt that the private sector should also be given a role subject to controls by government. The Chamber had also set up its own Weighment and Measurement department and had taken space in the Madras Port to facilitate the export of cargo apart from issuing certificates of quality required by importers. The Chamberâ€™s certificates recording the weight and measurement of export cargo was accepted by all shipping companies for calculation of freight. The Chamber also had the privilege of welcoming Honâ€™ble Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister of India when he visited Madras.
SHRI A. M. M. MURUGAPPA CHETTIAR 1949-1950
The Context: Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar took over as President in post-independent India when the Government was formulating the nationâ€™s economic policies and the concept of a mixed economy was being adopted. The vision was to bring about democratic socialism where government would have a domineering role in industrial development while the private sector would be accorded a lesser role. What caused considerable anxiety to the private sector was a need for controls by Government and that industrial ventures by the private sector would be subject to licensing. The year 1949-50 under the Presidentship of Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar was a historic one for India. It was on 26th January 1950 that India became an Independent Sovereign, Democratic Republic, and a new constitution was adopted with justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity being given to all citizens. A new era in the history of modern India had begun and the Chamber had also joined in with the celebrations. In fact it was under the Presidentship of Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar that decision was taken to celebrate the Republic and Independence Day on a regular basis in the future. 141
Shri A.M.M. Murugappa Chettiar seen with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru the Prime Minister of India in New Delhi
Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar along with his two brothers Shri A. M. M. Arunachalam and Shri A. M. M. Vellaiyan further continued to lay the foundations of their business and ventured into the manufacturing sector and the plantation industry. Shri Mugurappa Chettiar visited the U.S.A. in 1931 for the International Chambers of Commerce Convention and after he returned they moved over to manufacture steel products and also abrasives and thus Carborandum Universal was born. Thereafter with a vision for manufacture of bicycles the Tube Investments of India was formed in 1949.
The Challenges: The Chamber faced many challenges relating to the growth of business. The Industry Policy Resolution of 1948 was reviewed and the Chamber felt that the private sector needed to be given more responsibilities. The chamber called for the Government to adopt a more positive attitude and the controls exercised by the Government to be relaxed. Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar foresaw new opportunities for business and the role to be played by the Chamber in formulating policies for economic growth. The Indian economy was going through difficult times. There were shortages of food and essential consumer goods, industrial raw materials, transport bottlenecks and inadequate foreign exchange. In spite of these difficulties the new Government headed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had to find solutions and formulate the First Five Year Plan which was scheduled to begin in 1951. He took the initiative to convey the SICCIâ€™s views to Government on many issues pertaining to industrial policy, industrial relation, taxation, foreign trade, internal trade and also other legislative matters. The devaluation of the Sterling and consequently of the rupee resulted in problems relating to foreign exchange. The Chamber also supported the claims of the motor transport industry for tax relief which was required by the industry. Meetings with officials, foreign trade commissioners as well as the views given by the Chamber to the Fiscal Commission on Tariff Policy were greatly appreciated by Government.
The Solutions The inflationary situation arising out of the high cost of the raw materials did cause considerable concern for new industries and it was the view of Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar that the only remedy to tackle the malady of inflation was increased production. He pointed out that labour will have to play a constructive role. About controls he declared “they are another wartime legacy which must be soon discarded.” He felt that the land nationalisation scheme in Burma had deprived Indians of their property and the facilities to bring back money were lacking. It was during the time of Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar that the convention of the Chief Minister of the State inaugurating the AGM was started. The Hon’ble Mr. P. S. Kumarasamy Rajah inaugurated the AGM of the Chamber on 29th June 1950 during which the economic events of the year were brought to the notice of the Chief Minister along with constructive suggestions by the Chamber. The Presidential remarks declared that most of the grievances were more directed towards the Centre than the State. It was pointed that electricity development in Madras led to increased supply of power and the State Government had to make efforts for increased irrigation for food production.
SHRI RAO BAHADUR V. S. SUBRAMANIAM 1950-1951
During the tenure of Shri Rao Bahadur V. S. Subramaniam the SICCI effectively responded to the proposals to the amendment of the Indian Companies Act and the Trade Unions Bill. The Chamber supported the claims of the aluminium industry for protection. The chamber kept a careful watch on trends in trade and initiated efforts to explore the markets of Latin America and Africa. Mr. K. Munshi, Union Minister for Agriculture & Food visited the chamber and expressed his support for the planned development of the sugar industry and the withdrawal of controls wherever possible particularly relating to essential food grains. During the year the Chamber had the privilege of welcoming and interacting with Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of India when he visited Madras in April 1951. The Chamber actively contributed to the formulation of the first Five Year Plan where the importance of the role of the private sector, especially the service sector was stressed for industrial development. The Chamber also expressed the need for adequate advances by banks to facilitate growth in agriculture, industry and infrastructure. The annual meeting of the Chamber was held on 26th June 1951 which was inaugurated by Mr. P. S. Kumarasamy Rajah, Chief Minister of Madras State. The President referred to the global situation, 145
the food crisis and inflation. He also referred to the consequences of control which created hardship for the private sector and stifled growth. He felt that State aid to industry was negligible and the capital market was weak and stagnant. He felt that there was a sense of frustration among tax payers and industrialists on the response of the Government to the genuine demands. He expressed the hope that the taking over of the Madras Electricity System should ensure increased generation and proper distribution to meet the needs of the economy.
DR. M. A. CHIDAMBARAM 1951-1957
Under the Presidentship of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, a new era in the history of the Chamber had begun, which carried the institution to glorious heights. With his “VISION UNLIMITED” he ensured that the Chamber played a catalytic role to motivate businessmen to make use of the new opportunities in business to ensure that economic freedom was as important and available as political freedom.
The President’s Vision for the Nation& the Chamber: The first Five Year Plan had begun, and although the public sector was important the role of the private sector was also challenging. Dr. M.A.Chidambaram felt the need for Indian Banks and insurance companies to open branches abroad to improve trade relations. He felt that the small-scale sector of industry required modern machines and finance should be made available at attractive rates of interest on long term basis. He believed that Tamil Nadu should be in the forefront of both agriculture and industry and Government should encourage the private industry to create more employment. In concurrence with the vision of the President, the Chamber’s role in offering constructive suggestions to Government was significant and the interactions were equally frequent. The foreign trade of India had begun to grow and visits by foreign delegations and dignitaries to the Chamber had increased. 147
The Chamber also began to look outwardly and the visit of Mr. V. Pandurangiah, former President of the chamber to attend the meetings of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) in Singapore was another significant event which helped ensure that the chamber actively contributed to the economic development of the region. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram’s dream was that the Chamber should have its own conference hall and a modern office in a building in the Esplanade area. The land had been procured by Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar when Sir Arthur Hope was Shri. T T Krishnamachari presenting the model of the SICCI building to Governor of the Madras Presidency. Dr. M. A. Dr. M.A. Chidambaram, President, SICCI Chidambaram felt that the building should have adequate space to be rented which would provide income for the Chamber. The manner in which Dr. M. A. Chidambaram had constructed the building named as “Indian Chamber Building” is given in detail in a separate Chapter on “History of the Buildings of the SICCI”.
The President’s Interactions with the State Heads: In 1952, Hon’ble Shri C. Rajagopalachari who took over as the Chief Minister was invited to inaugurate the AGM of the chamber when Dr. M. A. Chidambaram requested for an objective review of the policy of prohibition. Hon’ble Shri C. Rajagopalachari in his reply stated that the increase in public expenditure was inevitable for the development of the economy. He pointed out that “adult suffrage had reduced them to a big amorphous heap” and the only way in which the Chamber could influence legislations was by giving expert evidence which would be given full consideration. In 1953, Dr. M. A. Chidambaram suggested that Government consider appointing a Taxation Enquiry 148
Mayor Dr. M.A Chidambaram addressing the corporation in the presence of Shri. K Kamaraj, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu
Commission to go into various matters relating to revenue. Hon’ble Shri C. Rajagopalachari, Chief Minister responded favourably to the suggestion offered by the Chamber. At the AGM of the chamber in 1954 which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri C. Rajagopalachari, Chief Minister, the Chamber noted that there was a need for constant encouragement to be extended to the export of groundnut oil as the government was actively promoting export trade. One of the important recommendations of the Chamber which was also systematically pursued by successive Presidents relates to the introduction of the Single Point Tax System. Shri C. Rajagopalachari who first introduced Sales Tax in 1939 to augment the revenue of the Government was appreciative of the suggestions made by Dr. M. A. Chidambaram. In 1955 the chamber’s AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru Kamaraj Nadar, Chief Minister, Madras Presidency while Hon’ble Shri M. Bhakthavatsalam also attended the session. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram expressed the need for faster industrialization of the Madras Presidency. He opined that with the availability of lignite, the scope for establishing a steel plant was quite favourable. The President also felt that with the increase in foreign trade there was a greater need for the expansion of the Madras Port. Shri Kamaraj Nadar in his reply assured that the State Government would encourage the development of the private sector and positively expressed his opinion on the scope for the auto and auto ancillary industry in the State. He also expressed his appreciation on the Chamber’s role and the need for constant interaction. In 1956 Dr. M. A. Chidambaram referred to the State of the economy and the need for development of railways, ports as well as the problems relating to taxation both the state and centre. The Chief Minister Hon’ble Shri K. Kamaraj Nadar, responded favourably to many of the suggestions made and was appreciative of the role of the Chamber under the Presidentship of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram. The 47th AGM of the Chamber in 1957 was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Madras when it was also noted that on 1st November 1956 the States Reorganisation Act would take effect and consequently the boundaries of the States would be altered. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram commended the introduction of the single-point sales tax on selected commodities and felt that this should be enlarged further. Hon’ble Shri K. Kamaraj appealed to the members to understand the 150
objects of the governmentâ€™s tax proposals which had to take such measures to find necessary resources for development.
The Presidentâ€™s Commitment & Hardwork: Dr. M. A. Chidambaram organised Quarterly General Body Meetings to ascertain the views of the members and communicate the same to the Government for their consideration. The following figures are indicative of the volume of work executed by the Chamber under the Presidentship of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram. It has Shri. T T Krishnamachari addressing the members of the SICCI been recorded that 7627 letters were received in one year and 4336 letters were written by the chamber. As the Chamber had a special office at the harbour, 78 certificates of weight, 945 certificates of origin, 238 certificates of invoice and 51 certificates of quality were issued. Besides the Chamber also performed the task of registration of trademarks. The books of accounts of the Chamber were audited monthly by V. Soundararajan, Chartered Accounts on a honorarium of Rs. 500/- per annum which was regarded as an honour. In all there were 43 visits from distinguished members, foreign trade commissioners, Consuls, etc. In addition to these efforts, the Chamber had also tendered oral evidence before commissions which visited Madras. During the year over 216 circulars were issued and quarterly and half-yearly meetings were also organised. During the tenure of Dr. M.A.Chidambaram, the visits of the American Trade Mission, Hungarian Trade Delegation, American Business Mission, Japanese Business Delegation and visits by other high profile foreign dignitaries continuously engaged the attention of the Chamber as it strived to promote foreign trade. The chamber under the guidance of Dr. M.A.Chidambaram also discharged its corporate social responsibility by contributing a substantial amount for famine relief in the 151
Rayalaseema region. Diversifying the chamber’s interests, Dr. M.A.Chidambaram took the initiative to conduct a merchants cup race at the Madras Race Club.
The Chamber’s Impact on Finance, Taxation and Banking Policies: Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, President initiated an interactive meeting of the general body with Hon’ble Shri T. T. Krisnamachari who had taken over as the Finance Minister of the Government of India. The President represented the difficulties of the private sector arising out of inadequate capital formation and felt that incentives should be given by Government to promote savings. The President also felt that the report of Prof. Kaldor on taxation though welcome, had many suggestions which would not be suitable for the growth of the private sector which was in the initial stages of development. The President was also critical of the entry of State Trading in the arena of foreign trade. Hon’ble Shri T. T. Krishnamachari responded to the points made by the President and was of the view that Government was endeavouring to do its best to bring about the socialistic pattern of society and to uplift the standard of living of the common masses. He also assured the Chamber that he would look into many of the points raised in the President’s address in an endeavour to find Dr. M.A. Chidambaram welcoming Shri. Morarji Desai and Shri. C. suitable solutions. Rajagopalachari
The Hon’ble Shri C. D. Deshmukh, Hon’ble Shri Jagjivan Ram, Hon’ble Shri T. T. Krishnamachari and Hon’ble Shri V. V. Giri visited the Chamber as issues relating to income tax, company law, industrial relations and sales tax were pursued by the chamber. The Chamber had also taken up matters of legislation relating to income tax and felt that if a search was necessary as a part of tax investigation, it may be done in the presence of witnesses consisting of four responsible persons in the locality or an Honorary Magistrate or Justice of Peace. 152
The Chamber had also taken up the representation relating to the Central Sales Tax Bill 1956 and felt that the levy of sales tax of 1% on sales of interstate character was too high and needed to be reduced to 0.5 %. Besides it was felt that the bill even did not prescribe the exemption limit of turnover for assessment. The Chamber also represented the need for the single point tax system instead of multi point tax which caused considerable difficulty to the assessees. It also suggested for the constitution of a Sales Tax Advisory Committee at the State and at the district levels. The chamber also offered its recommendations to the Shroff Honâ€™ble Thiru K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Madras seen here with the SICCI Committee furnishing evidence to the failure of President and the members of the Executive Committee the Vanaspati industry to meet expectations. The Chamber sought for a railway link between Mangalore and Hassan in a detailed memorandum.
Important Visitors to the Chamber: During the tenure of Dr. M.A.Chidambaram, the Chamber also had the privilege of visits by important officials and dignitaries such as Mr. R. Venkateswaran, First Secretary to the Indian Embassy in Paris, Mr. Gopala Menon, Consul General to New York apart from visits of Trade Delegations from Burma and China. Perhaps the visit of Mr. D. L. Mazumdar, ICS who was connected with the drafting of the Indian Companies Act was considered very significant as the Act came into force from 1st April 1956. The Chamber also had organised a meeting with Mr. S. N. Bilgraimi, IAS, Chief Controller of Imports and Exports and also with Major General M. S. Chopra, Ambassador Designate to the Philippines, Mr. S. K. Banerji, ICS, Minister Designate to Syria, Mr. Tenneti Viswanatham, Chairman, Company Law Advisory Commission, Mr. R. Doraisamy, IAS, Member, Forward Market Commission, Mr. Harry J. Robinson from Stanford Research Institute, California, Mr. Lalji Mehotra, Ambassador Designate to 153
Burma apart from visits by a Japanese delegation and a trade mission from South Vietnam. The Chamber had also organized useful interactions with Mr. Lakshmipath Singhania, President, FICCI and subsequently Mr. Rolf Wan Keiser and Dr. Krugmann from the Federal Republic of Germany after which it was decided to form a separate German desk at the chamber. The Chamber had also appeared before the Estimates Committee of the Lok Sabha and emphasized the need for the expansion of the Madras Port and minor ports such as Cuddalore and Nagapattinam besides converting Tuticorin into a major port. When Hon’ble Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri visited The Indian Chamber Building the Chamber a plea was made for the re-allocation of seats for the Madras Port Trust for different users and there was also a need to review matters relating to the operations of the railways.
The Chamber’s Stand on Official Language: Dr. M. A. Chidambaram had also taken the privilege of responding to the Official Languages Commission which had to make recommendations on the progressive use of Hindi for official purposes and other matters. The Chamber’s response is not only interesting but apt even in the present situation. The following were the Chamber’s views – The Articles of the Constitution stipulate the replacement of English by Hindi as the official language after a period of 15 years from the date of inauguration of the Constitution. It has been felt that the time has not been reached for taking concrete steps towards the replacement of English by Hindi. Most of the schools impart education in their vernacular while at the universities English continues 154
Shri. T.T. Krishnamachari declaring the SICCI building open
to be the medium of instruction. As the Chamber is concerned with the development of both internal and international trade it has to be examined as to how far the change in the official language will advance or retard trade and industry in the country. Under the circumstances it was felt advisable not to replace English with any other official language as India which was in the process of being industrialized and had to maintain her trade relationships. It was also felt that technical education was best imparted in English to keep pace with new developments. Also there should be facilities to interpret speeches in parliament so that members can take effective part in the proceedings of the parliament. The insistence of a particular language will be a great handicap to Members of Parliament who may be conversant with the regional language alone and hence the need for interpretation facilities. During the year the Chamber had also tendered oral evidence before the Law Commission appointed by the Government of India and even the subject of the language to be used in courts were also discussed. It is interesting to know the Chamber’s view that while English could continue, the subordinate courts could adopt regional languages in graduated stages as may be required later, while the High Court and Supreme Court may retain the proceedings in English, it being the link language both nationally and internationally. Besides, most of the stakeholders of the legal systems were familiar with the English system of law and practice.
The Chamber’s New Address: Perhaps the most outstanding work during the tenure of office of Dr.M.A.Chidambaram was the construction of the new building in the Esplanade area. On 19th January 1956 the office of the Chamber was shifted to its new modern premises namely the “Indian Chamber Buildings” while the Chamber’s old building in first line beach had been sold earlier. The first meeting of the committee was held in the new premises while the building was formally opened by the Hon’ble T. T. Krishnamachari, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India at a grand function on 20th January 1956. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram in his welcome address gave a brief account of the history of the buildings of the Chamber by the earlier founding fathers and the manner in which the land was secured by Dr. 156
Rm. Alagappa Chettiar and how the new Indian Chamber Building was constructed. He particularly paid tributes to the Indian Bank who had secured the debentures of the Chamber along with other members. He felt that since the Chamber now had more space and finance, the institution would be able to serve the business community much better. Shri T. T. Krishnamachari in his reply outlined the industrial policy in the Second Five Year Plan and the opportunities for the private sector. Shri T. T. Krishnamachari who was also earlier a member of the Chamber and represented the institution on the Madras Legislative Council was grateful to the Chamber for his entry into politics. He expressed hope that the Neyveli Lignite Project would be a catalyst for economic development of the State. He also referred to the nationalisation of life insurance which would provide a scheme of social security to all sections of society. He congratulated Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, President for his outstanding contribution and wished the Chamber all success in its various endeavours. The meetings of the Chamber were now held in the Conference Hall of “Indian Chamber Buildings” and the first meeting to be held after the AGM was with RT. Hon’ble Mr. John Strachey and Prof. J. K. Galbraith who was then with the Harvard University and thereafter also became U.S. Ambassador to India. Prof. J. K. Galbraith felt that “inflation was not a greater evil than unemployment and he was in favour of public corporations having greater autonomy, as business enterprises generally did not yield readily to civil service administration.”
SHRI K. S. G. HAJA SHAREEFF 1957-58 & 1974-76
Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareeff, MLA, a pioneer in the shipping industry was also involved with several leading institutions like the Scindia Steam Navigation Company. As a congressman he actively campaigned for the resolution of various problems affecting trade and industry not only with the state governments but also brought important issues to the attention of the central government, as he enjoyed excellent relationship with the national leadership, particularly with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India. During the year 1957 the Chamber had to deal with the important issue of the proposal for the change over to the metric system of currency, weights and measures. The nations of the world began to show interest in the emerging economy of India as the chamber hosted various high-power business delegations including the United States Trade Mission, a goodwill trade mission from Sweden, Finland and Australia. A team from the World Bank visited SICCI when the President briefed the team members on the need for port development for improved commerce. Honâ€™ble Shri Jagjivan Ram, Union Minister for Transports and Railways visited the chamber and the chamber expressed its views on the role of transportation in industrial development. Honâ€™ble T. 158
T. Krishnamachari, Finance Minister visited the Chamber to seek the views of the members on the tax reforms needed. An important feature of the year was the organization of the third session of the Indian Standards Institution which was chaired by Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, former President and was inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Shri Moraji Desai, Minister of Commerce and Industry, government of India. At the AGM held on 1st July 1958 which was inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Kamaraj Nadar, Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareeff, MLA, President, made a fervent appeal for the development of Tuticorin as a major port apart from the development of minor ports such as Nagapattinam. The development of railways and the importance of the small-scale sector was also stressed by him. During the term of Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareeff, the decision was taken to co-opt outstanding businessmen to the community every year and accordingly the Articles of Association were amended by which the committee was empowered to co-opt upto ten members for a term of one year. Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareeff was conscious of the Golden Jubilee of the Chamber approaching in the year 1960 and suggested that the Chamber conduct an exhibition to focus attention on the development of industry and agriculture.
SHRI K. V. SRINIVASAN 1958-1959
Shri K. V. Srinivasan, who apart from being associated with the automobile industry was also an expert on taxation. A Chartered Accountant, by qualification, he took up matters pertaining to the Sales Tax, Income Tax, Company Law as well as legislations that directly impacted the industry. During the term of Shri K. V. Srinivasan the Chamber reacted to the Merchant Shipping Bill and felt that the cause of Swadeshi Shipping should be supported by the government by offering suitable incentives which will help conserve foreign exchange. An important feature of the year was the organisation of a Zonal Conference of Chambers of Commerce in South India and a Business Convention which was inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Shri C. Subramanian, Finance Minister, Government of Madras. Distinguished leaders such as Sir C. P. Ramasamy Iyer and Shri C. Rajagopalachari stressed on the importance of planning and also highlighted the pitfalls of acting without planning. During the year the chamber offered its views on the Madras General Sales Tax Act, Indian Companies Amendment Act, Lorry Traffic Rules etc. Among important visitors who visited the Chamber were the Industrial Technical Cooperation Mission from Japan, Shri G. L. Mehta, Chairman, Industrial and 160
Investment Credit Corporation and Sir Richard Aluvihare, High Commissioner for Ceylon in India. During the year Shri A. Nagappa Chettiar and Shri A. M. M. Arunachalam joined a delegation of the FICCI, New Delhi to visit Europe and USA with a view to explore the possibilities of increasing India’s export trade. Shri K. A. Menon, Secretary of the chamber was called upon by the Government of India in 1959 to attend and intra-regional trade promotion meeting held at Bangkok by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE). The 49th AGM of the Chamber was held on 1st September 1959 and the meeting was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri Kamaraj Nadar, Chief Minister, government of Madras. Shri K. V. Srinivasan, President reviewed the economic situation and felt that industrial production was stagnant while prices had increased. He assured the Chief Minister that industrialists were prepared to start new industries and thereby ensure rapid industrialization.
Shri Jayaprakash Narayanan, the recipient of Bharat Ratna and Magsaysay awards seen here, visiting the chamber.
Shri Acharya Kripalani, who acceded to his mentor Mahatma Gandhi’s request not to contest in the Prime Minister’s election in 1947, seen here visiting the chamber
SHRI KUMARARAJAH M. A. M. MUTHIAH CHETTIAR 1959-1962
Shri Kumararajah M. A. M. Muthiah Chettiar was unanimously elected President of the chamber as the SICCI had reached the memorable milestone of completing 50 years of relentless service to the business community thereby fostering economic growth of the region. During the course of the year a number of important delegations from governments across Asia and Europe, visited the Chamber to explore the opportunities for enhancing bilateral relationship. Trade delegations from Burma, Japan and German Democratic Republic visited the SICCI and interacted with its members. Mr. C. Tyler Wood, Minister for Economic Affairs and Director, U.S. Technical Cooperation Mission to India visited the chamber and discussed scope for the expansion of trade and improvement of investments into India. The Chamber also had privilege of hosting Dr. V. K. R. V. Rao, Eminent Economist & Chairman, Special Committee for the Re-organization of Commerce Education and Dr. P. S. Loganathan, Director General of the National Council for Applied Economic Research. The Chamber also had an interactive meeting with the Honâ€™ble Shri R. Venkatraman, Minister for Industries, Labour and Cooperation where various issues under the new Sales Tax Act were highlighted. 162
The 42nd Economic Conference was held in Annamalai Nagar and the Chamber favourably responded to the request to co-sponsor the same. A parliamentary delegation from Yugoslavia led by Dr. Ales Bebler visited the Chamber and helped create an awareness of the opportunities in the Indo-Yugoslavian trade. Mr. P. Salmon, Commissioner of Standardisation in France addressed members on the standardisation of various products and also commented on the adoption of the metric system by India. A meeting was held with Honâ€™ble C. Ramaiah, Minister for Electricity, Government of Madras relating to the differential rates of electricity charged between Thermal and Hydroelectric stations.
The Golden Jubilee AGM: The 50th AGM was held on 30th November 1960 at which the President Shri Kumararajah M. A. M. Muthiah Chettiar reviewed the state of the economy of the country. He drew attention of the government on the importance of infrastructure for industrial growth. He felt that the Ministry of Railways should construct new lines as well as convert metre gauge into broad gauge so that industry could be served more efficiently. Honâ€™be Shri K. Kamaraj Nadar, Chief Minister of Madras who inaugurated the session was appreciative of the valuable contribution of the private sector for the economic progress of the State. He paid rich tributes to the services rendered by the Chamber during the 50 years of its existence and the contribution made by eminent Presidents of this prestigious institution.
Sir. C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer who is credited with founding the Kerala University and the Travancore bank seen here visiting the chamber
Kumararajah M.A.Muthiah Chettiar addressing the AGM in the presence of Shri. K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu
The Grand Golden Jubilee Celebrations: As the Chamber was nearing its golden jubilee year, the committee considered in great detail the arrangements for the Golden Jubilee Celebrations, which they felt, should be in a manner befitting the occasion and the institution. The Chamber had also decided to conduct an All India Industrial and Commercial Exhibition under the Chairmanship of Dr. M. A. Chidambaram, Past President of the Chamber. The President wanted to ensure that the Golden Jubilee Celebrations should not be a private celebration but be a grand public celebration. The event was planned to be an expression of the public spirit of the Chamber. The Exhibition was inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Chief Minster Shri. Kamaraj on 9th January 1961 and was finally concluded on 14th March 1961. The Exhibition enabled the Chamber to look back in pride and move forward with renewed confidence. The All India Industrial and Commercial Exhibition which was part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations was a historic event as it was the first Exhibition of its kind in the Southern Region.
The SICCI Executive Committee with Shri K Kamaraj, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu
The event also stressed the need for a permanent Exhibition site to be established in the future years at a convenient place which could be accessible to not only to the exhibitors but also to the public. The plea of the Chamber for a permanent site bore fruit only in later years at Nandambakkam in the form of Chennai Trade Center in the peripheral area of the City. An account of the Exhibition is given in a separate chapter.
Other Notable Events: A high-power World Bank Mission headed by Mr. Hilken, met members of the chamber and interacted with them on subjects relating to foreign aid, domestic savings and industrial development. During the year 1961 a trade delegation from Burma visited the Chamber and matters relating to repatriation of assets left back by Indians were discussed apart from plans for utilising the same for the setting up of industries in that country. Shri D. L. Mazumdar, ICS, Secretary, Company Law, government of India, visited the Chamber and assured members that the new law would help to promote the interests of the corporate sector, as seen in the developed world. Mr. V. V. Chari, Member, Central Board of Revenue also visited the Chamber during the year and interacted with the members on issues relating to taxation.
SHRI M. CT. MUTHIAH 1962-1964
Under the Presidentship of Shri M.Ct.Muthiah, the Chamber had actively campaigned for sales tax concessions for the small-scale enterprises. India was faced with the war with China and the SICCI began to collect funds for the National Defence Fund besides pledging full support for government. The SICCI co-sponsored the All India Advertising Convention which was hugely successful. Mr. Norman Kipping, Director General of the Federation of British Industries visited the chamber and interacted with the members. Honâ€™ble Shri B. R. Bhagat, Minister for Revenue and Civil Expenditure and Shri B. N. Banerjee, Member, Central Excise visited the chamber to seek the opinion of the chamber on issues related to various tax proposals. Prof. Louis Loss, Standing Counsel of Securities & Exchange Commission, USA visited the chamber and discussed about regulatory rules governing the securities markets in the US. Shri S. Mullick, ICS, General Manager, Indian Airlines and Shri D. L. Majumdar, ICS, Secretary, Company Law were two of the prominent visitors to the chamber who appreciated the efficient service rendered by the chamber. Various events such as the Exporters Convention, seminar on Problems of Public 167
Honâ€™ble Thiru K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at the SICCI AGM
and Private Industrial Undertakings, and the conference on the Impact of Tourism on National Integration were organized to address various issues faced by the industry. The SICCI also helped in organising the Southern Regional Conference of the FICCI. Mr. M. Ct. Muthiah also ensured the commencement of the Chamber’s Monthly Journal and brought out the Directory of Members. An advisory cell on Company Law was set up for guiding the members. A study group on Motor Vehicles taxation was set up and the Chamber took an active part in the Indian Railway Classification Advisory Committee, Divisional Railway Consultative Committee, Post and Telegraph Advisory Committee, Telephone Advisory Committee, the Sales Tax Advisory Committee and ISI Advisory Committee. The Chamber responded to the Motor Vehicles Law Tax Bill 1963 as well as submitted its views on the working of the Director General of Technical Development and the Monopolies Commission. The Chamber had recommended the conversion of the Madras to Tuticorin railway link into broad gauge which was favourably considered. A convention on the ‘Contribution of the Private Sector Industries’ during the plans was organised on 30th January 1964 which was followed by a ‘Seminar on Management’. Mr. M. Ct. Muthiah also initiated the work relating to construction of the chamber’s additional building – the Indian Chamber Building Annexe. The term of Mr. M. Ct. Muthiah ended with the 54th AGM held on 22nd August 1964 which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru M. Bakthavatsalam, Chief Minister, Government of Madras. In response to Mr. M. Ct. Muthiah’s request relating to the need for infrastructural improvement and better civic amenities, the Hon’ble Chief Minister stated that the augmentation of revenue was necessary for development and for the upliftment of the weaker sections of society.
SHRI M. V. ARUNACHALAM 1964-1965
Shri M. V. Arunachalam was one of the leading industrialists who had also pioneered the establishment of various industries under the Murugappa Group. Following the footsteps of his uncle Shri A. M. M Murugappa Chettiar he took an active role heading many public bodies such as the Rotary, The Madras Management Association and The Madras Productivity Council. He was also Chairman of Madras Fertilizers Limited, The Neyveli Lignite Corporation and the Tamil Nadu Industrial and Investment Corporation. He also served on the Board of the Reserve Bank of India, and later the Governing Body of the IIM, Ahmedabad and the Anna University Syndicate at Madras.
The Initiatives of the President: Under the guidance of Shri. M.V.Arunachalam, the SICCI organised a Sales Tax Conference in December 1964 and urged for the simplification and rationalisation of Sales Tax structure. The Chamber had also taken up matters relating to Income Tax as well as the revision of customs tariff with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. The President called for the formation of 170
Shri M.V Arunachalam, President, SICCI addressing the AGM in the presence of Shri R Venkartaman
a Regional Advisory Committee on gold control which was constituted subsequently by the government. The Chamber also took up matters with the Indian Railway Conference Association on rail tariff apart from responding to the draft bill relating to payment of bonus and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance. The Chamber had also submitted its views relating to the industrial licensing policy and matters pertaining to banking. Shri M. V. Arunachalam also represented the Chamber on the Export Import Advisory Committee which functioned at the Madras Shri M. Bakthavachalam, Chief Minister of Madras seen here Port Trust. The Chamber also submitted a visiting the chamber memorandum to the Estimates Committee on transport which was constituted by the Lok Sabha relating to the Madras Port Trust. The Chamber also co-sponsored a seminar on “Balanced Development in the Southern Region” which was held in Chidambaram. Under the Presidentship of Shri M. V. Arunachalam a conference was organised to discuss the industrial development in the Madras State where Hon’ble Shri R. Venkatraman, Minister for Industry, Government of Madras was the chief guest. Hon’ble Shri R. Venkatraman mentioned that the Government of Madras would actively support new industrial ventures and with respect to the development of the small-scale sector, industrial estates with necessary infrastructure would surely be formed. The Chamber had also submitted a memorandum on the need for simplification of the Sales Tax structure. The Chamber also actively participated in the meetings of the Madras Board of Industries which was constituted by the State Government. The Chamber constantly interacted with the Madras Telephones by organising meetings apart from being represented on the Telephone Advisory Committee. Important visitors during the year were Mr. P. N. Menon, Ambassador Designate to Cambodia, Mr. John Garnet, Director of Industrial Welfare, 172
London, U.K. and Mr. John P. Lewis, Minister-Director of the US-AID. A delegation from Qatar Chamber of Commerce also visited the Chamber. The Chamber had also brought out a number of publications relating to the procedure for starting an industrial enterprise as well as a Guidebook on the Finance Act 1965.
The Pan India Outlook of the President: Shri M. V. Arunachalam also took an active role in the affairs of the Indian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), New Delhi and became its president later. He also involved himself in the activities of the FICCI, New Delhi and was elected to the committee of FICCI at the 38th AGM which was held in March 1965. He subsequently became the President of this august body. During the year, Mr. S. L. Kirloskar, President, FICCI visited the Chamber and addressed members. Shri M. V. Arunachalam also ensured that the FICCI had organised regional meetings to strengthen the relationship of Regional Chambers of Commerce with the apex body. A regional
Shri. M.V. Arunachalam seen welcoming the various overseas delegations to the chamber
meeting of the FICCI was also organised at his initiative in Bangalore during the year. The Chamber also supported the setting up of the Indian Council of Arbitration by the Ministry of Commerce and joined the institution as a Founder Member of the Council. The Chamber also actively supported the organisation of the Indian International Trade and Industries Fair which was held in Madras and which proved to be one of the largest exhibitions of its kind in Asia. The term of Shri M. V. Arunachalam concluded with the 55th AGM which was held on 31st August 1965 and inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Thiru M. Bakthavatsalam, Chief Minister, Government of Madras. The meeting proved to be a useful interaction as the Chief Minister had outlined programmes for the development of the agriculture industry.
SHRI A. P. JAMAL 1965-1966
Shri A. P. Jamal was the President of the chamber when the nation witnessed the unfortunate war between India and Pakistan. The Chief Minister of Madras, Hon’ble Thiru M. Bakthavatsalam, convened meetings to seek the cooperation of the business community which was attended by Shri A. P. Jamal. Appeals were made by the SICCI to its members to contribute for the National Defence Fund and maintain the supply of essential commodities. The Government of Madras had announced an increase in sales tax on a number of commodities and the Chamber requested for discussions with the State Sales Tax Advisory Committee which was favourably considered by the government. It was noted that Central Government’s assistance to the State was lowered during the period of war due to rise in defence expenditure. The Chamber also took up matters relating to the fixation of tariff by the State Electricity Board through the Madras State Electricity Consultative Council. The Government of India had introduced Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and SICCI’s suggestion to constitute a Standing Advisory 175
Committee was accepted. A conference bringing together all the affiliated bodies of SICCI was also organised to discuss matters pertaining to trade. The Chamber had brought out a useful publication on food supply which was released by Hon’ble Shri C. Subramaniam, Minister for Agriculture, Government of India. The Chamber was also given a seat on the All India Board of Technical Studies in Management and also on the committee constituted by the Director General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Calcutta. Shri A. P. Jamal, President, SICCI joined the FICCI Business Delegation to Europe and the U.S. to explore the possibilities of increasing trade and industrial collaboration. The Chamber had useful interactions with Mr. G. R. Bal, Member, Company Law Board and subsequently organised a Seminar on Company Law which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. C. R. Pattabiraman, Minister for Law, Government of India. A high power business delegation from Japan visited the chamber to promote Indo – Japan trade which was followed by the visit of a team from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi. The 56th AGM of the Chamber was held on 27th June 1966 under the Presidentship of Shri A. P. Jamal which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru M. Bakthavatsalam, Chief Minister, Government of Madras. Shri A. P. Jamal referred to the State of the economy and described the effect of the devaluation of the Rupee. The Chief Minister responded by stating that the Rupee had to be devalued, as the long term needs of the economy had to be considered with the view to promote exports and bring about import substitution.
Mr. Mohamed Yunus, the noted diplomat who established the Pragati Maidan in Delhi seen visiting the SICCI
SHRI A. NAGAPPA CHETTIAR 1966-1967
Shri A. Nagappa Chettiar was the doyen of the leather industry and contributed significantly to the growth of this industry which was a large foreign exchange earner for the country. His term of office as President began with a visit of Hon’ble Shri Manubhai Shah, Minister for Commerce, Government of India. The visit of Hon’ble Thiru R. Venkatraman, Minister for Industries, Government of Madras which followed next was an opportunity for the chamber to positively impact the policy decisions of the Government. Under the Presidentship of Mr. A. Nagappa Chettiar special efforts were made to complete the construction of the Annexe portion of the Indian Chamber Buildings. Debentures were raised once again and subscribed by the Indian Bank which helped the Chamber complete the construction.
The Chamber’s Contribution to Agriculture Since agriculture was the foundation of any economy, Mr. A. Nagappa Chettiar, President took the initiative to set up an Agricultural Wing of the Chamber with top industrialists as Members. The constitution of the Agricultural Wing was timely, as the state government was contemplating taking 177
over the trading of food grains to maintain supplies and prices, a move which was eventually put off. On the suggestion of Shri M. V. Arunachalam, Past President of the Chamber to study the working of the Kamadhenu Department Store run by the government, a study was conducted. The Chamber, at the request of the Government of Ceylon began to supply the prices of essential food grains and pulses on a daily basis as these products were then being imported from India.
Shri A Nagappa Chettiar addressing the AGM in the presence of Shri C N Annadurai, Honble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
The Chamberâ€™s Contribution to Exim Trade:
On the suggestion of Mr. A. Nagappa Chettiar a State Export Advisory Board was set up under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister. Mr. A. Nagappa Chettiar also took efforts to suggest policy changes for the leather industry which not only employed large numbers of people but also contributed extensively to the nationâ€™s burgeoning foreign trade. In order to help the small-scale sector, and at the request of Small Industries Service Institute, the Chamber had agreed to provide the meeting hall at nominal cost to conduct short training programmes for the benefit of the small-scale sector. The Chamber also had brought out three publications namely, Export Import Policy, Family Welfare and a Commercial Diary giving useful information. The Chamber had also commenced a special service by providing export-import circulars on Government policy and procedures. The Chamber then commenced an Export Advisory Service to assist and guide members.
The Chamberâ€™s Contribution to Labour: The State Government had a scheme of awarding prizes to an outstanding businessman for which a committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of the Sheriff of Madras who worked in 178
Shri A Nagappa Chettiar interacting with Shri C N Annadurai, Honble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
consultation with the State Government. The Sheriff of Madras during the year was Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareef, Past President, SICCI. In view of the labour unrest during the year, and on the suggestion of Shri M. V. Arunachalam, Past President, the SICCI had constituted a Committee for Industrial Relations. The memorandum prepared by the Chamber was taken up with Hon’ble Mr. S. Madhavan, Labour Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu.
The Social Responsibility of the Chamber: The year 1967 marked the Diamond Jubilee of the Indian Bank and the Chamber joined in the celebrations and put up a neon signboard of the bank on the chamber building. The SICCI under the Presidentship of Mr. A. Nagappa Chettiar displayed its corporate social responsibility for collecting funds for the Bihar floods and also for cyclone relief in the coastal areas of the State. The chamber also responded to the appeal by the Sheriff of Madras and collected funds for Fire Relief. It also undertook the maintenance of a park near the Chamber’s building in Esplanade. However the maintenance of the park was then taken over by the Corporation of Madras as it was decided to erect a statue of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Madras Shri T. Prakasam at the park.
The Various Activities of the Chamber: The SICCI, among other activities took up issues with regard to Railways, central excise and sales tax. The SICCI expressed its view that an Expert Committee on the working of the Electricity Boards be constituted to study tariff before any increase could be proposed. The Chamber also had the privilege of receiving Mr. Ramabhai B. Amin, President FICCI on 15th July 1966 which strengthened the relationship with the apex body. A colloquium on industrial development was held to discuss the programme of industrialisation in the Southern Region after which a colloquium on food and agrobased industries was held. The Chamber had also arranged a meeting with Mr. C. R. Pattabiraman, Minister of State for Law relating to the changes in Company Law which were being proposed. The Chamber also joined in organising a reception in honour of Hon’ble Thiru C. N. Annadurai and his 180
Council of Ministers who were newly sworn in to lead the state. A memorandum of useful suggestions for the economic growth of Tamil Nadu was presented to the Honâ€™ble Chief Minister. In view of the need for cost reduction in industry consequent to the devaluation of the Indian Rupee the Chamber had organised a seminar on cost reduction. The SICCI had also organised a seminar on sales tax which was inaugurated by Shri G. M. Modi, President, FICCI. The Chamber participated in the meetings of the Central Excise Advisory Committee, the Telephone Advisory Committee, Southern Regional Export and Import Advisory Committee, Sugar Development Council and the Divisional and Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee. The Chamber also responded by submitting memoranda to the Select Committee on the Banking Regulation Act 1949 â€“ Amendment and the Insurance Bill which were proposed during the year. An important subject taken up by the SICCI during the year related to the Madras Buildings (Lease & Rent Control) Act 1960. The act proposed the rental bases of 6% and 9% on fair value in terms of Section 6 of the Act. In view of the anomalies of the rules, SICCI had suggested that the bases of rent be comprehensive and take into consideration existing rentals, increase in the cost of living, taxes, maintenance, etc.
The SICCI as a Founding Institution: On the suggestion of the UNCTAD it was decided to form Shippers Councils in developing countries to take up issues relating to high freight rates, inadequate sailings, port matters and other related problems affecting exporters. The All India Shippers Council (AISC) was formed by the FICCI at New Delhi and Shri A. Nagappa Chettiar took the initiative to form the Southern Indian Shippers Association (SISA) of which he was the Founder President. Shri L. N. Birla, President, All India Shippers Council organised a conference for the members of the shipping trade at Madras which was well appreciated by the participants. Shri A. Nagappa Chettiar was appointed as the Chairman of the Zonal Export-Import Advisory Committee constituted by the Minister of Commerce. Consequent to the setting up of the Indian Council of Arbitration, New Delhi, a conference on International Commercial Arbitration was conducted in Madras and was inaugurated by Shri L. N. 181
Birla, President of the Council. The Chamber also responded to the suggestion of other institutions in the region to form a Consultative Council of The Chambers of Commerce and Industry in South India so that common problems relating to taxation, electricity tariff, etc. could be discussed.
The AGM & Hon’ble Thiru C. N. Annadurai’s Comments: The 58th AGM of the Chamber was held on 28th August 1968 which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru C. N. Annadurai, Chief Minister, Government of Madras. Mr. A. Nagappa Chettiar referred to the formulation of the Fourth Five Year Plan and felt the need for relaxation of the policy of industrial licensing. Hon’ble Thiru C. N. Annadurai, Chief Minister in his inaugural address, paid tribute to the services rendered by the Chamber and stated “Presidents of eminence in various fields of commerce and industry have been guiding the destinies of the Chamber which has attained a great stature and status, and the country expects much out of the efforts jointly and individually of the members of the Chamber.” He also referred to the development of agriculture and stated “unless the economics of agriculture is sound and right, the other sectors like industry cannot prosper and that is why this Government as soon as it came to power thought it fit to see that agriculture is strengthened”. He went to add that there was an ultimate connection between agriculture and industry. He further stated “industry is producing consumer goods. If agriculture production drops the consumer goods cannot be sold. Goods are produced not for exhibition, not for mere export – but for local consumption to raise the standard of living of the people. In this process, money will migrate from the rural part to the city while manufacturers will produce and sell consumer goods”. He agreed with the President’s suggestion to constitute an Expert Committee to study the cost structure of electricity tariff. He also assured industrialists that the State Government was prepared to give land for industry. The Chief Minister also stated that he was urging for the further development of the Neyveli Lignite project, the Tuticorin Port, and also the Salem Steel project. The Hon’ble Chief Minister also referred to the need for national integration and wished the Chamber success “towards a civilised life” and in raising the standard of living of the people.
SHRI K. GOVINDAN 1968-1969
Shri K. Govindan, President, SICCI welcomed Hon’ble Shri Fakruddin Ali Ahmed, Union Minister for Industry and Company Affairs when he visited the Chamber and discussed the need for industrialization of the backward areas in the southern region. The SICCI had also organised meetings with Mr. K. S. Sundarrajan, Chairman, CBDT, Mr. S. K. Dutta, Chairman, Company Law Board and Mr. R. J. Rebello, Chief Controller of Imports and Exports, Ministry of Commerce to create awareness on the various procedures & processes in taxation & exim trade for entrepreuners & professionals engaged in various business enterprises. Mr. R. Venkatraman, Member, Planning Commission visited the Chamber and spoke on the salient features of the Fourth Five Year Plan. Hon’ble Prof. Humayun Kabir, Former Minister for education, Government of India who declined Smt. Indira Gandhi’s request to take up the Governorship of Madras, also visited the chamber and interacted with the members. The Chamber in cooperation with the Tiruchirapalli District Chamber of Commerce organised a one-day Seminar in Tiruchirapalli on the utilisation of agricultural waste – an event that was timely and well appreciated. The Chamber 183
instituted an Export Advisory Trade Service and Labour Advisory Service for the benefit of the members.
Shri. K. Govindan welcoming Shri. Fakruddin Ali Ahamed during his visit to the SICCI
SHRI. MOHOMED ADAM SAIT April - September1969
Shri Mohomed Adam Sait was elected President at a special meeting on 10th April 1969 under the Chairmanship of Shri M. A. Chidambaram to fill the vacancy caused by the unfortunate demise of Shri K. Govindan who had been elected President earlier.
The Chamber’s Response to Nationalization of Banks: On the 19th July 1969 the President of India promulgated an ordinance known as the Banking Companies (Acquisition & Transfer of Undertakings) Ordinance 1969 to nationalise 14 of the largest private commercial banks in the country. Foreign banks in India and Indian scheduled banks having deposits not exceeding Rs. 50 crores were excluded from the act. The object was to bring the banking industry under social control for the benefit of a wider section of depositors, including Government bodies. The Chamber brought out a publication entitled “Business and Bank Takeover” where it was explained how the nationalisation would affect the flow of credit for private businesses. The Chamber had met the Select Committee on central excise to offer the SICCI’s views and recommendations on the subject. An expert panel from the chamber also met the Banking Commission and gave 185
their viewpoints relating to the social control of commercial banks. Shri L. K. Jha, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, whose tenure saw nationalization of 14 major commercial banks, visited the Chamber and addressed members on the credit policy of the Reserve Bank of India.
Chamber’s Response to Industrial Licencing Policy: The Chamber also published an important book titled “Industrial Licensing Policy” which was a critical review of the Dutt Committee’s Proposals on industrial licensing. The Chamber felt that while Government was ascribing more importance for the development of key industries in the Shri. L.K. Jha, Governor, Reserve Bank of India addressing the members of public sector, the licensing procedures and policies SICCI were bound to cause considerable difficulties for the growth of the private sector. The Chamber was critical, particularly, of the joint sector which was the establishment of industries by Government along with the private sector. The Chamber also felt that such a hybrid concept involving Government’s participation in equity would deprive the private entrepreneur from having effective control in running the industry. It was also not clear as to when and at what stage the private investor would be entitled to purchase Government equity, in case the private investor so desired.
Other Events of the SICCI: In view of the close relations with the FICCI, New Delhi an interactive meeting was held with Mr. R. A. Poddar, President, FICCI. Other distinguished visitors during the Presidentship of Shri Mohomed Adam Sait included Dr. P. K. Banerjee, India’s Ambassador to Thailand and Shri V. T. Narayanan, 186
General Manager, Southern Railway. Some of the high-profile teams that visited the chamber during the year included the USSR Trade Delegation and a Study Team from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade which analysed the export potential of Tamil Nadu in detail. The 59th AGM was held on 29th September 1969 which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The President Mr. Mohomed Adam Sait referred to the state of the economy and in particular the contribution of Hon’ble Thiru C. N. Annadurai to promote agriculture and industry. He quoted the words of Arignar Anna “Unless the economy of agriculture is sound and right, the other sectors like industry cannot prosper, and that is why this The visiting delegation from USSR Government as soon as it came to power has taken many efforts to see that agriculture is strengthened.” Responding to the address of the President, the Chief Minister was glad that he was requested to inaugurate the AGM and to unveil the portraits of Hob’ble Shri M. Bhakthavatsalam, former Chief Minister and Hon’ble Shri Arignar Anna, Former Chief Minister whose path he was following to make Tamil Nadu more prosperous. He felt that bodies like the SICCI served a useful purpose and his Government was keen to develop industry and trade. The Chief Minister referred to the speech of Arignar Anna earlier and stated that the Government was doing its best for the agricultural sector in the state. He also stated that the Government was making a study on promotion of exports and stated that the chamber’s recommendations would be duly considered.
DR. P. MARUTHAI PILLAI 1969 to 1970
During the term of Dr. P. Maruthai Pillai, the Chamber had drafted a representation to the Prime Minister, relating to the need for improving various industrial sectors in Tamil Nadu like construction, agriculture among others, which had immense potential for growth and employment generation. The Chamber had also submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Industrial Development on issues pertaining to licensing and in particular took up the subject of de-control of cement. The Chamber also offered its recommendations to the Standing Committee on Shipping which was constituted by the Director General of Shipping, Bombay to discuss problems relating to shipping such as freight rates, absence of sailings, port matters and other related subjects at Chennai. The meetings were convened by the Freight Investigation Officer of the Directorate General of Shipping. In view of the problems faced by shippers who faced much hardships in exporting their products, a Shippers Conference was held in co-operation with the Southern India Shippers Association which was inaugurated by the Honâ€™ble Shri Raghuramaiah, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Transport and Shipping. 188
Dr. P Maruthai Pillai addressing the gathering at the innauguration of the Consultative Council of City Chambers in the Southern Region
Under the Presidentship of Dr. P. Maruthai Pillai the Chamber submitted its recommendations to the Railway Claims Committee, New Delhi. The Chamber also presented its representations on the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill 1969 and also on other subjects relating to sales tax. The Chamber had organised a function to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s Birth Centenary on 7th October 1969. The Chamber had also distributed books to students on the life and teaching of Mahatma Gandhi under whose inspiration the Chamber was started. Hon’ble Mr. C. Rajagopalachari, Former Chief Minister inaugurated the celebrations and distributed the books. The Chamber also had the privilege of interacting with Mr. Northcote Parkinson, the well-known British Economist. Though Mr. Parkinson was a renowned naval writer, it is for his non-naval book, “Parkinson’s Law”, that he is best known. He stated “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. The Chamber responded to the suggestion made by various organisations by taking the initiative to constitute a Consultative Council of City Chambers of Commerce in the Southern Region. The Consultative Council would bring together leading Chambers of Commerce from the States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Pondicherry to discuss common issues. The Council was inaugurated on 22nd August 1970 by His Excellency Mr. Dharma Vira, Governor of Karnataka while Sardar Ujjal Singh, Governor of Tamil Nadu was the Chief Guest. Dr. D. C. Kothari who was elected President, FICCI also addressed the conference. The Chamber had also brought out useful publications relating to taxation apart from its Directory of Members. Dr. P. Maruthai Pillai also took the opportunity of organising a Business Delegation of the SICCI to visit the countries of South East Asia namely Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan. The delegation led by Dr. P. Maruthai Pillai visited the ‘EXPO ’70 Exhibition which was the first world fair held in Osaka, Japan and identified many opportunities which ensured that the trip became a successful initiative. The 60th AGM of the SICCI was held on 30th September 1970 at which Dr. P. Maruthai Pillai in his welcome address referred to the need for uniformity of policies in the Southern States. Hon’ble Chief Minister Dr. M. Karunanidhi, in his message assured the business community of assistance by the Government of Tamil Nadu in their efforts to industrialise the State and wished the Chamber all success in the Diamond Jubilee year which followed. 190
DR. M. A. M. RAMASWAMY 1970-1972
The term of Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy was significant as the Chamber had completed sixty years of promoting economic growth and the President wanted to make the Diamond Jubilee Year a momentous one. A Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri M. V. Arunachalam while Shri K. S. G. Haja Shareeff was made Chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Exhibition Committee.
The Chamberâ€™s Contribution to the Industrial Growth: The President, Dr. M. A. M. Ramaswamy met Dr. M. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi relating to the industrialisation of Tamil Nadu, and the creation of industry specific hubs in various places in the State. The urgent need for the development of power to meet future requirements was also emphasised by him. The Chamber which was represented on the Industries and Township Advisory Committee of the State Government submitted its views on the creation of Satellite Towns near future 191
industrial hubs. A study made by the Industries Department on the Export Potential of Tamil Nadu received valuable inputs from Chamber.
The Diamond Jubilee Initiatives:
Dr. M Karunanithi, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu addressing the AGM of the chamber
An “All India Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition” was conducted from 24th December 1970 to 15th February 1971. This was followed by the Diamond Jubilee Economic Conference on 30th and 31st January 1971 and the Diamond Jubilee Commemoration Meeting was held on 14th July 1971. These programmes have been well described in a separate chapter on Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. Dr. M. A. M. Ramaswamy also took up an important step of air-conditioning the Conference hall of the Chamber to ensure the comfort of the dignitaries, visitors and members.
Other SICCI Events: The SICCI during the year had responded to various issues pertaining to Income Tax, Central Excise, Railways and Sales Tax. The Chamber’s views were also communicated through various committees such as Central Excise Advisory Committee, Sales Tax Advisory Committee and the Committees of the Railways namely the DRUCC, ZRUCC and the Regional Railway Equipment Committee. The SICCI also gave evidence on the Central Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1970 which was referred to a Select Committee of Parliament. The Chamber along with the Consultative Committee of City Chambers of Commerce joined in hosting a reception to Dr. D. C. Kothari on his election as President of the FICCI, New Delhi. A reception was also organised for His Excellency Shri K. K. Shah on his taking over as Governor of Tamil Nadu. A seminar on “Today’s Children in Tomorrow’s World” 192
Dr. M.A.M Ramasamy, President, SICCI honouring Dr. M Karunanithi, Honâ€™ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
was held followed by a Seminar on “Spread of Investment Habit” in cooperation with the FICCI. The Chamber had also appeared before a Select Committee on the Payment of Gratuity and also submitted its recommendations on the working group on facilitation for export of Air Cargo. During the year 1971 there was war between India and Pakistan resulting in the creation of a new country – BANGLADESH. The Chamber rose to the occasion and assured its fullest cooperation to Government to keep up production and maintain the supply of essential commodities as well as contribute to the National Defence Fund. A number of Indian and foreign diplomats and trade delegations from Japan, France and Germany visited the Chamber. A business delegation from Japan seen here visiting the chamber
The Chamber’s Interactions at the AGM:
The 61st AGM was held on 23rd September 1971 under the Presidentship of Dr. M. A. M. Ramasamy which was inaugurated by Kalaignar Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who felicitated the Chamber on the completion of sixty years of the useful existence of the Chamber and the excellent manner in which the celebrations were conducted. He outlined the various measures initiated by the Government for the economic development of the State and hoped that with the co-operation of the industrialists, the State would be in the forefront of industrial growth in the country. He commended the Chamber for its useful service and wished the organisation all success. The 62nd AGM of the Chamber was held on 26th June 1972 which was again inaugurated by Hon’ble Kalaignar Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The President, Dr. M. A. M. 194
Ramaswamy referred not only to the state of economy of the country but also appreciated the progress made by Tamil Nadu under the Honâ€™ble Chief Minister and the effective co-operation rendered by him in connection with the success of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. The Chief Minister Honâ€™ble Dr. M. Karunanidhi, in his response stated that the State Government would do its best for the development of both agriculture and industry and looked forward for a closer co-operation with the leaders of business to promote industrial development. While hailing the Chamber for the valuable services rendered, he wished the organisation and its members all success in their endeavours.
The chamber playing host to the visiting delegation from Japan
DR. S. NARAYANASWAMY 1972-1974
During the tenure of Dr. S. Narayanaswamy, the subject of General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Bill 1972 was referred to a Select Committee of Parliament and the Chamber submitted its views to the committee stating that there was not only the inadequacy of compensation, but also the creation of monopoly. The other responses by the Chamber relate to the Companies (Amendment) Bill 1972, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Bill 1972, the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Second Amendment Bill 1972 and the Gratuities Act 1972. A Seminar on Banking entitled “Towards Better Customer Relationship” was organised with the participation of Dr. R. K. Hazari, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India. Another valuable event was on the subject of “Changing Consumer and Marketing Opportunities in the Seventies”. A conference on “Economic Planning for Progress” was organised which was addressed by Dr. Malcom Audisheshaiah, Vice Chancellor, Madras University and Chairman, Madras Institute of Development Studies. A seminar on ‘Planning for Adequate Power’ was held on 6th January 1973 and addressed by Mr. R. Venkatraman, Former Minister for Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu and Former Member, Planning Commission. 196
Some of the important visitors to the Chamber included Mr. Bose Mallik, Chief Controller Import & Export, Ministry of Commerce, Mr. V. Siddharthachari, Ambassador designate to Czechoslavakia and Mr. Vinod Parekh, Chairman, State Trading Corporation. The SICCI responded to the Direct Taxes (Amendment) Bill 1973, seeking incentives for industries in backward areas and pleaded to exempt the value of equity shares under section 5 of the Wealth Tax Act held by assesses of industries in backward areas to a period of ten years. A memorandum to the Government of Tamil Nadu relating to rationalisation and simplification of Sales Tax was also submitted. The 63rd AGM of the SICCI was held on 11th August 1973 which was inaugurated by Dr. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu. Dr. S. Narayanaswamy in his welcome address referred to the state of the economy and the global unstable monetary scene, where the â€œaccumulation of gold of highly developed European countries, and the depletion of the gold deposits at Fort Knox, America indicated that countries which have a high GNP have nearly the same wholesome respect for gold as the Indian housewife whose importunities on the gold front were sought to be stifled on the pompous assumption that she is economically illiterate!â€? Dr. S. Narayanaswamy welcomed the sanctioning of the Tuticorin Thermal Project which would increase power availability for the State. He also referred to the shortage of iron and steel and the lapses in the development of infrastructure. He felt that the policy of canalisation of exports of semifinished hides and skins, resulted in difficulties which only hindered this personalised business. Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister in reply, stated that Tamil Nadu had successfully 197
Mr. S. Narayanaswamy unveiling the portrait of Mr. C. K. Duraivelan, Past President of the Chamber.
implemented the family planning programme. The food situation was satisfactory and agricultural development had been given much attention by assuring cultivators of supplies of essential inputs besides rural electrification. As regards power, the Government had just lifted the power cuts and the announcements that the thermal power projects at Tuticorin and Mettur would be implemented shortly, apart from the second mine commissioned at Neyveli indicated the improving power scenario in the state. He assured that adequate power would be supplied for industries. The state government was formulating the next five year plan and due importance to infrastructure had been given. The Chief Minister also stressed on the need for more Central Government investments in the public sector in the state. He advised businessmen to avail of the services of institution such as TIDCO, SIPCOT, SIDCO and TIIC as the Government wanted to use the “skill of the private sector”. He stated that the State Government would “always be a friend to create a healthy atmosphere for the growth of industry”. A meeting with the Industries Minister took place on 23rd July 1974 where the subject of a surcharge of 15% on captive generation was discussed as this was a financial burden to industry. The SICCI also took up the restriction placed on the supply of fuel oil, and the problems which would arise if a switchover to coal had to be made, as coal was already in short supply in the state. The Government also introduced a Bill for acquisition of electricity supply undertakings in the state, and the chamber responded by appealing for a fair compensation. The SICCI took the initiative to organise a conference on “Science - Industry Cooperation” which was inaugurated by Dr. Y. Nayudamma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology. A seminar on ‘Foreign Collaboration in Industries’ was organised with the active participation of the Indian Investment Centre, New Delhi and the SIPCOT, which was inaugurated by Hon’ble C. Subramaniam, Union Minister for Industrial Development, Science and Technology. A workshop on “Family Planning in the Organised Sector” was held with a Keynote Address by Dr. Cherif Y. F. Hetata, Subregional Adviser on Labour and Population, ILO, which was well appreciated. A Seminar on Company Law was also held during the year. Some of the important visits during the year were that of Mr. C. D. Khanna, Chairman and Managing Director of the IFCI, Mr. R. S. Bhatt, Chairman, India International Centre for the development of 198
small industries, Mr. V. Ramanathan, General Manager, Southern Railway, Mr. H. B. N. Shetty, IAS, Director of Industries and Commerce, Mr. R. V. Raman, IAS, Secretary, Union Ministry of Industrial Development, Air Marshal P. C. Lal, Chairman and Managing Director of the Indian Airlines, Smt. Champakalakshmi Venkatachalam, Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board. The 64th AGM of the Chamber was held on 10th July 1974, at which Dr. S. Narayanaswamy, referred to the state of the economy and the issues pertaining to industry as well as trade, apart from the need for a closer interaction between business and Government. The AGM was inaugurated by the Honâ€™ble Thiru S. Madhavan, Minister for Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu while Dr. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister also sent a message which was greatly appreciated.
MR. K. S. G. HAJA SHAREEFF 1974-1976
Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareeff, MLA, was elected as President at the 64th AGM held on 10th July 1974. As a member of the legislative assembly and leader of the opposition representing the Congress he also took up matters relating to trade and industry. Matters pertaining to legislation received prompt attention and the Chamber took up matters relating to the Estimates Committee of the Lok Sabha (Shipping and Transport), Essential Commodities Act 1955 (Amendments), Prevention of Food Adulteration (Amendment) Bill and the Defence of India (Packaged Commodities) Order 1975. As far as visits and other programmes were concerned, the Chamber was privileged to receive Mr. K. K. Birla and also the Honâ€™ble Shri H. M. Trivedi, Minister of State for Shipping and Transport. A workshop on Export Promotion in Tamil Nadu State was cosponsored by the IIFT, New Delhi which was followed by a Seminar on Food Problems and Prospects to highlight the problems relating to food adulteration and packaging. The visit of Shri K. Swaminathan, General Manager, Madras Telephones was another eventful meeting. The 65th AGM was held on 28th August 1975 which was inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Thiru S. J. Sadiq Pasha, Minister for Industries and Electricity, Government of Tamil Nadu. Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareeff 200
Shri KSG Haja Shareef, President, SICCI honouring Shri R Venkatraman
Shri. Mohanlal Sukhadia innaugurating the 66th AGM
Shri KSG Haja Shareef seen with Mr. K. Sreenivasan, Chairman, National Textile Corporation
in his address welcomed the 20-point economic programme to stimulate the economy. The problem of rising prices affected the weaker sections of society and the credit squeeze by banks affected the flow of credit to trade and industry. Tamil Nadu was fortunate that there was no power cut in the State. The President urged Government to expedite the second mine cut at Neyveli besides setting up thermal stations in minor ports such as Pondicherry, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Tuticorin while coal supplies could be made by sea. The President urged Government to ensure that the proposed Leather Export Development Corporation and the headquarters of the merged Leather Export Promotion Council be situated at Chennai. He pleaded for better civic amenities. Honâ€™ble Thiru Sadiq Pasha, Minister for Industries and Electricity, Government of Tamil Nadu who inaugurated the AGM referred to the implementation of the 20-point economic programme in Tamil Nadu and the efforts taken by Government to stabilise prices. While the expansion of the Neyveli project was cleared he hoped for increased power supply for industries in Tamil Nadu. The 202
Government had also set up a â€˜chaser cellâ€™ to clear applications for pending projects. He also stated the assistance to the leather industry would be given and Government would endeavour to provide better civic amenities to the citizens. During the year 1975, a number of activities relating to customs and central excise, sales tax, railway matters such as classification of safety matches under formats etc were taken up. The exemption of excise duty on bicycles was another subject taken up strongly. Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareeff also felt that the Compulsory Deposit Scheme in the Union Budget would affect savings. He also took up the subject of exemption of sales tax on items meant for export. The Urban Land Ceiling Act 1976 saw several anomalies and the difficulties caused to industry and was taken up by the Chamber. The half-yearly meeting of the Chamber was inaugurated by Shri R. V. Subramanian, Advisor to the Governor of Tamil Nadu. Meetings were held with Mr. V. V. Badami, Commissioner of Income
Shri KSG Haja Shareef receiving Mr. Baldev Parischa, Chairman, Industrial Finance Corporation of India
Tax, Mr. Ghulan Ghose, Managing Director, Agricultural Finance Corporation Limited, Mr. Carl Winquist, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, Mr. S. J. S. Chatwal, Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia and Mr. Y. R. Dhanush, Indian Ambassador to Mongolia. The year continued with meetings with the visit of numerous high-profile dignitaries, namely, Mr. H. D. Bhalla, Indian Ambassador to Paris Mr. Raghuraj, Chairman, IDBI, Mr. M. S. Nair, High Commissioner designate to Malawi, Mr. Harish Mahindra President FICCI and Mr. S. R. Mehta, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes. A function was organized to facilitate Mr. M. V. Arunachalam on his election as President of the FICCI on 10th May 1976 which was well attended. Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareeff also arranged a high profile meeting with Mr. Fakruddin Ali Ahmed, President of India, while a reception to H. E. Shri Mohanlal Sukhadia, Governor of Tamil Nadu was held jointly with other city Chambers. The Chamber had also brought out a number of useful publications relating to labour, income tax and also the Packaged Commodities (Registration) Order 1975. The 66th AGM was held on 30th August 1976 which was inaugurated by H. E. Shri Mohanlal Sukhadia, Governor of Tamil Nadu. The declaration appeared to have injected a new dynamism and discipline in the functioning of the Government machinery as there was an absence of strikes and lockouts resulting in increased industrial growth. Mr. K. S. G. Haja Shareeff called for the creation of more industrial complexes in backward areas and the creation of an agro-based complex in the Tanjore belt. With regards to the civic amenities, he urged for the early implementation of the Krishna Water Project for the supply of drinking water to Madras City. The creation of a second beach at Ennore was another subject referred by him, apart from cleaning up the Buckingham Canal. He also stressed the need for an airport at Tuticorin. H. E. Shri Mohanlal Sukhadia, Governor of Tamil Nadu referred to the implementation of the 20-point economic programme which had brought gains for the economy, particularly good industrial relations which was necessary for industrial growth. There was also a situation of drought and relief measures were initiated by Government. The Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi had proposed to visit the drought-hit areas of the State. The Governor hoped for increased interaction between Government and business. 204
Mr. AL. LAKSHMANAN 1976-77
During the term of Mr. AL. Lakshmanan an interactive meeting with Honâ€™ble Shri Raj Bahadur, Union Minister for Tourism & Civil Aviation was held to discuss issues relating to infrastructure and tourism where the need to expand the Madras airport, was stressed upon. Some of diplomats who visited the Chamber were Mr. K. Prathap, Indian Ambassador designate to Tunisia, Mr. I. Topaloski, Yugoslavian Ambassador to India, Mr. C.V. Narasimhan, Under-Secretary General, United Nations, Mr. A.N.D. Haksar, Indian High Commissioner to Kenya and Mr. R. Van Roy, Consul General of Belgium in Bombay. However, much importance was attached to the visit of Mr. Bum Suk Lee, Ambassador of South Korea when discussions were held relating to trade and economic co-operation between India and South Korea. His strategic visit paved the way for greater South Korean investment in Chennai. Another significant visit was that of Dr. S. Nagano, President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry along with a high-power business delegation, and this event highlighted Tamilnadu as a prospective place for Japanese investment. 205
Mr. Raj Bahadur, Union Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation addressing the members of the SICCI
The Chamber had also arranged a number of meetings with officials of the Tamilnadu Government, which included the visit of Mr. Harbans Singh, I.A.S., Member, Board of Revenue, on the urban land tax and the Urban Land Ceiling Act. The visit of Mr. K.S. Sivasubrahmanyan, I.A.S., Chairman, SIPCOT highlighted the Governmentâ€™s role & measures for industrialization. Other visits of significance included Mr. C.R. Krishnamurthy, Commissioner of Income tax and Mr. T.K.A. Devan Mohamed, I.A.S., Commissioner, Corporation of Madras. An interactive meeting was held with Mr. T.V. Venkataraman, I.A.S., Chairman, Madras Port
Trust. Mr. S.P. Ambrose, I.A.S., Chairman, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board visited the SICCI and discussed the problems and prospects for power development in the State. Another highlight was a meeting with Mr. S. Raghavanandam, Minister for Labour, Government of Tamil Nadu, wherein the Industrial Relations policy was discussed. A seminar on Indo-Italian economic co-operation was organized by the chamber where Dr. Cesare Rossi, founder-President of the Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce & Industry highlighted the opportunities and scope for the bilateral development. A seminar on Integrated 206
Mr. Harbans Singh, Member, Board of Revenue addressing the SICCI Members
Rural Development, was hosted by the chamber which was presided by Mr. Ramakrishna Bajaj, Chairman, Rural Sub-committee FICCI. A meeting was organized with Mr. R.M. Sambamurthi, General Manager, Southern Railway, where many subjects relating to Railways, were taken up for discussion. The visit of Air Marshall, Mr. P.C. Lal, Chairman, Indian Airlines, was another significant event during the year. The term of Mr. AL. Lakshmanan ended at the 67th AGM which was inaugurated by His Excellency Shri Parabhudas Patwari, Governor of Tamilnadu. Mr. AL. Lakshmanan welcoming Mr. Haksar, Indian High Commissioner to Kenya
Mr. Al. Lakshmanan pointed out that the 25% export duty on semi-finished leather was adversely affecting the leather industry. A reference was made to the impact of single point Sales Tax of 8% on chemicals and dyestuff.
Mr. AL. Lakshmanan, President, SICCI addressing a seminar on Integrated Rural Development in the presence of Mr. Ramakrishna Bajaj
Mr. C.K. DURAIVELAN 1977-78
During the tenure of Mr. C.K. Duraivelan, Mr. Zulfiquarulla, Union Minister of State for Finance visited the chamber and interacted with the members on issues relating to Direct and Indirect taxes. This meeting was followed by the visit of Mr. Narasingh Yadav, Union Minister of State for Law, Justice and Company Affairs, where matters relating to simplification and rationalization of Company Law, were taken up. A number of meetings were also held relating to foreign trade, which included visits by diplomats, such as Mr. Vinaya Varma, Indian Ambassador designate to Ethopia, and the visit of Mr. N.K.Krissa, Ambassador designate to Zaire. Mr. K.V. Seshadri, Chief Controller of Imports & Exports, visited the chamber and discussed policy and procedures relating to the exim trade. Dr. R. Trioli, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Trade, Italy, visited the chamber and interacted with the members. The heads of missions at New Delhi, of Thailand, Zaire and Iraq, visited the chamber during the year. Several trade delegations including a high power trade delegation from Pakistan, a World Bank Team led by Mrs. Cartina Wallich, a thirty member Nigerian Trade Mission, led by Chief A.O. Lawson, visited the Chamber and had valuable discussions. 208
Mr. C.K.Duraivelan, President, SICCI and Dr. A.C.Muthiah, Vice-President, SICCI handing over a cheque of Rs. 25,000 as the chamber’s contribution towards the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Flood Relief Fund to Hon’ble Thiru M.G. Ramachandran, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Another event of significance was organized on Shipping with Hon. Shri Chand Ram, Union Minister for Shipping & Transport as the chief guest, at which the subject of preparing ports and the shipping industry to meet future needs, were discussed. The problems relating to telephones were discussed at a meeting with Mr. K. Swaminathan, General Manager, Madras Telephones. A unique event relating to the role of the business community in rural development was organized by the chamber
Mr. C.K Duraivelan, President, SICCI welcoming Mr. Chand Ram, Union Minister for Shipping and Transport, Govt of India
Hon’ble Mr. Zulfiquarulla, Union Minister of State for Finance addressing the members of the Chamber
and addressed by the Union Minister for Energy, Mr. P. Ramachandran. This event received extensive attention and was also attended by many dignitaries such as Mr. Bum Suk Lee, Ambassador of South Korea and Mr. M.V. Arunachalam, past-President of the FICCI. The increase of sales tax on cellulose and polythene films to 15% single point from the existing 4% multipoint, was opposed by the Chamber and was successfully reversed. As a part of corporate social responsibility, the Chamber had donated Rs.25,000/- to the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Thiru. M.G. Ramachandran, for flood relief. The term of Mr. C.K. Duraivelan concluded with the 68th AGM which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. K. Manoharan, Finance Minister, Government of Tamilnadu. The Chamber welcomed the constitution of an expert committee on Sales Tax, under the Chairmanship of Mr. S.R. Kaiwar and hoped that the views of the SICCI would be considered. The Hon. Minister responded and stated that Government would consider the suggestions and wished the SICCI all success.
Mr. C.K.Duraivelan, President, SICCI welcoming Hon’ble Mr. Narasingh Yadav, Union Minister of State for Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Govt of India
Mr. C.S. VIDYASANKARAN 1978-79
Mr. C.S.Vidyasankaran assumed office as the President of the SICCI at the 68th AGM of the chamber and under his guidance, the chamber was active in resolving the various issues that hindered industrial growth. Mr. C.S. Vidyasankaran, who was an expert on Company Law had organized many meetings of importance with foreign diplomats and visiting trade missions. A delegation from the European Economic Community visited the Chamber and discussed matters relating to trade and economic co-operation. A meeting with the Hungarian Trade Delegation was inaugurated by His Excellency Shri Prabhudas Patwari, Governor of Tamil Nadu. Some of the events of much significance, were the visits of Mr. P. Krishnamurthy, Secretary, Department of Company Affairs, Mr. T.A. Pai, former Industries Minister, Government of India, Mr. V.V. Badami, Chairman, Central Board to Direct Taxes and Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Seminars on ‘Commercial Arbitration’ and the ‘Role of Industries in Non-Formal Education’ were held to equip the business community with invaluable skills & exposure. 212
The 69th AGM was inaugurated by H.E. Shri. Prabhudas Patwari Governor of Tamil Nadu who appealed to the business community to co-operate with the Government, in holding the price line. He also stressed on the need to patronize khadi, village industries and the concept of village adoption as suggested by Mahatma Gandhi. Mr. S. Ramachandran, Honâ€™ble Minister for Electricity, Government of Tamil Nadu, who also attended the Annual General Meeting stated that the Government had planned to double the power generating capacity in the State and also emphasized the need to setup power projects in co-operation with the neighbouring States of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Mr. C.S. Vidyasankaran and the members of the Executive Committee seen here with H.E. Shri Prabhudas Patwari, Governor of Tamil Nadu.
Dr. A.C. MUTHIAH 1979 - 87
Dr. Muthiah’s youth, dynamism and vision enabled him to organize a number of important meetings, besides celebrating the Platinum Jubilee in a befitting manner. Interactions with Leaders: The image of the Chamber was greatly enhanced through an interactive meeting with Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. The Chamber also had organized a meeting with Mr. Harbans Singh, Secretary (Revenue) Ministry of Finance, Government of India, followed by the organization of a seminar on taxation, which was well appreciated. The visit of Hon’ble Shri. Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, Union Finance Minister was a strategic event, at which time important subjects relating to monetary and fiscal policies were discussed. The quality of the recommendations of the chamber and the productive interactions at this event resulted in Hon’ble Shri. Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, Union Finance Minister’s visit to the chamber the next year also. Hon’ble Shri. V.P. Singh, Minister for Commerce, Government of India and Mr. Y.V. Chavan, Chairman, Eighth Finance Commission were some prominent leaders who visited the chamber. At the meeting with Hon’ble Mr. P.A. Sangma, Minister of State for Commerce & Supply, the need to 214
take advantage of the liberalized export-import policy was highlighted. Some of the important meetings included the visit of Hon’ble Shri. G. M. Shah, Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir and Hon’ble Dr. Charanjit Chanana, Union Minister of State for Industry. The chamber also organized interactive meetings with Mr. S.S. Nadkarni, CMD of the ICICI and with Mr. N.N. Pai, Chairman, IDBI which served to enrich the knowledge of the participants. Among other visits of significance include the meetings with Mr. L.K. Jha, Chairman, Economic Administrative Reforms Commission, Hon’ble Dr. V.R.Neduncheziyan, Minister for Finance, Government of Tamil Nadu lighting the ‘Kuthuvilakku’ to mark the first meeting of the Chamber in the Mr. A. Ramachandran, Export Commissioner, M.A.Chidambaram Building Government of India, Mr. H.B.N. Shetty, I.A.S., Secretary, Rural Development, Government of Tamilnadu, Mr. T.K. Srinivasan, Deputy Chairman, Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission, Dr. K.S. Krishnaswamy of the Reserve Bank of India, Mr. Mani Narayanaswamy, CCI&E and Mr. Harmander Singh, I.A.S., Director General, ESI. The heads of the Central Board of Direct Taxes consistently visited the chamber to receive the invaluable inputs & recommendations of its members. Mr. Jagadish Chand, Mr. M.S. Narayanan, and Mr. O.V. Kuruvilla, were all successive chairmen, Central Board of Direct Taxes who visited the chamber. Similarly, Mr. K.N. Modi, Mr. Arvind Lalbhai, Mr. D.N. Patodia and Mr. R.P. Goenka were all Presidents of the FICCI whose visits to the SICCI helped strengthen the relationship between the two organizations.
Dr. A.C Muthian delivering the Presidential Address at the SICCI AGM in the presence of Honâ€™ble Shri M.G Ramachandran, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Visits by Diplomats: During the year, a number of foreign delegations and diplomats visited the SICCI, to promote trade and bilateral relationships. The chamber received trade delegations from the USSR Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry led by Mr. R. Kaku, a high power trade mission from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Leeds Chamber of Commerce & Industry, U.K., a delegation from Hungary led by Dr. G.Y. Oblath, a trade delegation from the German Democratic Republic, a trade delegation from Singapore, Malaysia and Japan respectively. The Hungarian Chamber of Commerce, led by Mrs. E. Keseru, Co-President had useful discussions at a seminar on â€œContacts to Contractsâ€?, during which a special certificate was presented to the SICCI as a token of appreciation on the role of the Chamber in improving Indo-Hungarian economic relations and also to mark the Platinum Jubilee of the Chamber. A delegation from seven selected African countries, viz. Kenya, Ethopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Zambia visited the Chamber and effectively interacted on increasing two-way trade and improving the economic co-operation. The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi organized a meeting to discuss the policy and performance of the 100% exportoriented industries. Senior diplomats representing the nations of the world used the SICCI as a platform to promote trade and relations. Notable among them include Dr. F. Romano, Trade Commissioner of Italy, Dr. S.A. Pavlov from the USSR Ministry of Foreign Trade and H.E Mr. Jean Cuendet, Ambassador of Switzerland. Mr. G. Sonck and Mr. Baron de Viron, were successive Consul Generals of Belgium stationed at Bombay who relied on the SICCI to promote the interests of Belgium in the southern region. The visit of Mr. Helmar Mueller from the German Democratic Republic, along with Dr. H. Eckert, 217
Dr. A.C Muthiah, President, SICCI with Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, Honâ€™ble Prime Minister of India at the Platinum Jubilee Innauguration
Commercial Attache’, from the German Embassy was the beginning of a long term relationship which paved the way for closer ties between India and Germany. Subsequent dialogues were held with Dr. B. Biedermann, Ambassador of the GDR along with Dr. H. Eckert, Commercial Attache’ of the Embassy. The chamber also played host to numerous Indian diplomats who interacted with the members and shared their experience. Mr. Prakash Shah, Indian High Commissioner, designate to Malaysia, Dr. V.A. Seyed Muhammed, Indian High Commissioner, designate to the U.K, Mr. R.K. Anand, Ambassador of India to Senegal and Mr. Homi J.H. Taleyarkhan, AmbassadorDr. A.C Muthian honouring Hon’ble Shri M.G Ramachandran, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu designate to Italy were some of the senior diplomats who visited the chamber. The visits of Mr. K.R. Narayanan, Ambassador designate to the U.S.A. and that of his successor Mr. K.S. Bajpai, were quite strategic, considering the significance of Indo-U.S. economic relations. The visit of Mr. T.T.P. Abdullah, Ambassador-designate to Saudi Arabia was timely as one of the suggestions made, was to recognize the Chamber for issuing letters of recommendation to genuine businessmen visiting Saudi Arabia for business purposes and to attest documents pertaining to export trade to facilitate the growth of business.
Interactions at the AGM: At the 70th AGM inaugurated by Hon’ble Dr. M.G. Ramachandran, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. Muthiah expressed the felt need for more Central investment in the State, which had fallen from 8% to 4% and suggested the setting up of a petroleum complex including a naphta cracker unit in the Manali 219
belt. Dr. Muthiah felt that in order to facilitate constant interaction, Government could consider granting the chamber representation on the Boards of Government Promotional Institutions, such as the SIPCOT, SIDCO, TIDCO and TIIC which was promptly and favourably considered by the Chief Minister. He also suggested the reconstitution of advisory committees on subjects, such as exports, electricity, industry and commercial taxes which were accepted by the Chief Minister and implemented. The problems relating to Sales Tax and the need to increase the Dr. A.C.Muthiah, President, SICCI welcoming Mr. N.N.Pai, Chairman, IDBI exemption limit from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2 lakhs to benefit small trade was also highlighted. Hon’ble Chief Minister also readily accepted the suggestion of Dr. Muthiah to consider waiving at least a portion of the arrears of cane cess and purchase tax due to the state from the sugar industry. The Chief Minister sought the co-operation of the business community and the Chamber to make Tamil Nadu economically prosperous. The 71st AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. S. Thirunavukkarasu, Minister for Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu. Dr. Muthiah, while welcoming the incentives for industry and the catalytic role of development corporations such as TIDCO, SIPCOT, TIIC, SIDCO, etc., he felt that their developmental characteristics should be retained and not be saddled with the day to day management of the various units in which they had invested. He also requested Government to review the tax on power generated by the sugar industry. Hon’ble Thiru. S. Thirunavukkarasu welcomed the suggestions and was appreciative of the idea of establishing power stations by the private sector. He outlined the measures taken by Government for the development of backward areas, such as Ranipet, Hosur, Tuticorin and Cuddalore. The 72nd AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Dr. H.V. Hande, Minister for Health, Government of Tamil Nadu. Dr. Muthiah proposed the creation of a separate special zone with incentives for 220
the development of pharmaceutical industry, which had good scope. India manufactured such products to the tune of Rs. 1,500 crores per annum, but the share of Tamil Nadu was only to the extent of Rs. 60 crores. The Hon’ble Minister assured that the State Government would extend all assistance to industries that were keen to set up pharmaceutical products manufacturing units and hospitals in the State. The 73rd AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. K.A. Krishnaswamy, Minister for Dairy Development, Government of Tamil Nadu. Dr. Dr. A.C Muthiah welcoming Shri Pranab Mukherjee to the SICCI Muthiah welcomed the initiative of the Tamil Nadu Government to declare certain districts as backward for eligibility of incentives and felt that Government may consider smaller taluk areas for such eligibility. The 74th AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. C. Ponnaiyan, Minister for Law and Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu. Dr. Muthiah in his welcome address made the following suggestions for industrial development – (a) the continuance of concessional electricity tariff for five years for new industries (which had been withdrawn by the Government), (b) to make available the backward area subsidy for a minimum period of ten years even if the investment limit of Rs.30 crores is exceeded so that projects with long gestation periods and requiring Government clearances and approvals from financial institutions can be undertaken with a measure of certainty, (c) to increase the duration of the interest free sales-tax loans particularly for the small scale sector. Dr. A.C. Muthiah also highlighted the problems caused to industries in the southern region consequent on the withdrawal of the freight equalization scheme by the Centre. The 75th AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. K. Rajaram, Minister for Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu. Dr. Muthiah welcomed the initiative taken by the Government of India by de-licensing 221
twenty-five industrial sectors and also the provision for the exemption of the MRTP as well as the FERA companies from licensing in respect of twenty-three industrial sectors. He was glad that the recommendations of the Abid Hussain Committee for rationalization of industrial and foreign trade policies were accepted. Thiru. K. Rajaram in his reply stated that a State Industrial Advisory Committee with sub committees for different subjects, was constituted which will help Government to revise policy and procedures. He stated that Government would investigate Hon’ble Thiru K. Rajaram, Minister for Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu the possibility of re-cycling waste water to help addressing the members industry. He was of the view that industrial complexes could be set up in every district and appealed to the Chamber to come forth with their proposals. The 76th AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. M. Arunachalam, Union Minister for Industrial Development, Government of India. Dr. Muthiah welcomed the pragmatic policy of liberalization to allow production in excess of the licensed capacity if 10% of the additional production was exported. He mentioned that the number of Letters of Intent and foreign collaborations were also on the increase which indicated that liberalization that began with Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, was yielding results. A plea was made by the Chamber that taluks without industry should also be made eligible for availing the Central subsidy, similar to the concessions given to ‘no industry districts.’ He further expressed the need to establish a petrochemical complex near Nagapattinam, the setting up of an integrated steel plant at Salem, and to allow the private sector to manufacture products required by the defence sector. He also urged Government that the private sector be permitted to foray into power generation which would help to solve the problem of power shortage. Mr. M. Arunachalam, in his reply stated that under the new industry policy of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister, industry 222
was freed from excessive controls and the longstanding need of the industry for positive deregulation had begun. This would in the long run make Indian industry more competitive. The 77th AGM was inaugurated by Dr. V. R. Nedunchezhiyan, Minister for Finance, Government of Tamil Nadu. As this was the first meeting in the new ‘M.A. Chidambaram Conference Hall’, a kuthu vilakku was lit up by the Hon’ble Minister to mark the occasion. In his address Dr. Muthiah called for implementation of the liberalized policies of Government as the Dr. V.R. Nedunchezian, Minister for Finance, Govt of Tamil Nadu at the SICCI AGM technology gap between India and the developed nations had been widening and India was turning to be a high cost economy. He felt that there was a need to revive the stock market and welcomed the decision of the Government to allow the Private Sector to enter into the field of mutual funds by giving similar concessions. He further advocated the further development of infrastructure and the modernization of the Madras Port. He also expressed the need to review the sales tax structure and to bring about uniformity among the various States. Dr. Nedunchezhiyan stated that the new policy of economic liberalization would encourage the private sector to play a bigger role in industrial growth, ushering modernization and increasing exports. The 77th AGM was also an occasion during which the Platinum Jubilee Commemoration Volume was released by Mr. M.G.K. Nair, Chairman & Managing Director, Indian Bank and the first copy was presented to Hon’ble Dr. V.R. Nedunchezhiyan, Minister of Finance, Government of Tamilnadu.
Initiatives of the Chamber: The Chamber actively took up the subject of the proposed levy of Entry Tax by the Government of Tamilnadu in their Budget for the year 1983-84. It was proposed that an Entry Tax of 2% on goods 223
moving into the Corporations and Municipalities in Tamil Nadu State would generate revenue to meet the needs of Government. However, considering the hardship that would be caused to the entire business community, the Chamber had arranged a meeting with Dr. M.G. Ramachandran, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who agreed to keep the proposal in abeyance and constitute a committee to formulate alternative sources of revenue. He also invited the Chamber to be represented on the committee. Based on the suggestions of the committee, no Entry Tax was levied and instead Dr. A.C. Muthiah receiving a memento from Shri.C.Subramaniam, former Union an increase in the tax of petroleum products Finance Minister was introduced. Shri Rajiv Gandhi who was then a Member of Parliament was visiting Chennai at that time. He heard about the initiatives of the chamber and appreciated the views of the SICCI in this regard. An important subject taken up with the Government of Tamilnadu related to the need for grant of mining leases for twenty years, for industries such as cement, gypsum, etc., to enable them to make long term plans. Dr. A.C. Muthiah consequent on the ordinance by the Central Government to mop up black money under the Bearer Bond Scheme, suggested that Government may also consider similar schemes for Bearer Shares, which would provide income tax relief and also revive the capital market, thereby acting as a catalyst for industrial development. The Chamber had also actively engaged itself in improving civic amenities in the region and had a series of meetings with CMDA on the subject of de-congesting Madras city by shifting selected wholesale markets to peripheral areas. A CMDA- Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex Advisory Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. H.M. Singh, I.A.S., had useful interactions with the Chamber, which ultimately resulted in the shifting of the wholesale market to Koyambedu to the advantage of all concerned. Likewise the shifting of the bus stand was another welcome feature. 224
The Reserve Bank of India had set up an expert committee on exchange control regulations under the Chairmanship of Mr. M.S. Patwardhan and to receive suggestions for improvement. The views of the SICCI were given to the Committee.
A Selection of Events Hosted by SICCI: The Chamber conducted a seminar on the problems and prospects of Indo-EEC Relations in 1982 which was addressed by Mr. Jos Loeff, Deputy Director General for External Relations, EEC. A seminar on “Telecommunications for Development” was organized by the Chamber to mark the World Communication Year 1983 with the active co-operation of the Madras Telephones. It was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri. V.N. Gadgil, Union Minister of State for Communications and coincided with the launching of a satellite INSAT-1B into outer space. The Chamber had also organized seminars on “Export Finance” and “ECGC”. A seminar on “Industrial Development of Tamil Nadu” was addressed by Hon’ble Thiru. C. Ponnaiyan, Minister for Law & Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Chamber had conducted a Korean Catalogue Exhibition in co-operation with the Embassy of Korea, which attracted many visitors. The chamber organized an interactive meeting with Hon’ble Shri. A.P. Sharma, Union Minister for Shipping & Transport, which was attended by Mr. V. Selvaraj, I.A.S., Chairman, Madras Port Trust, and Admiral Krishan Dev, Vice Chairman, Shipping Corporation of India. Dr. Muthiah referred to the long association of the Chamber with the Madras Port Trust since the Chamber’s inception in 1910 when the organization was represented on the Madras Port Trust Board. Considering the Chamber’s contribution to the development of the Port, Dr. Muthiah requested the Hon’ble Minister to consider granting one seat as Trustee, which was promptly given.
SICCI Platinum Jubilee Celebrations Perhaps the most significant event during the tenure of Dr. Muthiah was the Platinum Jubilee Celebration which was inaugurated by Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India on 27th March1987. The Platinum Jubilee Celebration has been dealt in greater detail in the chapter on Jubilees of the Chamber. 225
Mr. N.S. SIAMWALA 1987-88
Mr. N.S. Siamwala was elected President at the 77th AGM and during the period the activities of the Chamber continued in many spheres. A trade delegation from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, a delegation from Germany and Singapore visited the SICCI and interacted with the members. As in the past, the Chamber organized a Symposium on the Union Budget and the post budget recommendations were presented to Mr. N.D. Tiwari, Finance Minister, Government of India. A function was organized to honour Dr. A.C. Muthiah for the valuable services rendered by him for the growth and development of the Chamber and for helping the SICCI celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in a befitting manner. The function was presided over by Mr. C. Subramaniam, former-Union Finance Minister and tributes were paid by leading personalities. Dr. Muthiah was also appointed Hony. Consul for Belgium and his initiatives served to improve two-way economic relations between India and Belgium further. During the Presidentship of Mr. N.S. Siamwala, an interactive meeting was held with Mr. R.N. Malhotra, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, where the issues in the monetary policy was discussed in detail. 226
The visit of Mr. P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs was useful, as a number of subjects relating to finance, power, industrial development and security, were discussed. Meetings were held with Mr. T. Kim, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and Mr. L.M. Menezes, I.A.S.,
Mr. N.S.Siamwala, President, SICCI interacting with Shri. R.N. Malhotra, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
Special Officer, Corporation of Madras. A conference on industrial and technological development with special reference to small-scale industries was organized by the chamber and Mr. N.S. Siamwala, President, SICCI welcoming Shri. T.S. Krishnamurthy, Commissioner of Income Tax was inaugurated by Mr. M. Arunachalam, Union Minister of State for Industrial Development, Government of India. Mr. K.S.G. Haja Shareeff, President, FICCI delivered the valedictory address. A seminar on consumer protection was organized by the chamber to commemorate the year as 1988 was incidentally the â€œYear of the Consumer.â€? The 78th AGM was inaugurated by Mr. M. Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Indian Bank. The Indian Bank with which the Chamber had close connections since inception had always co-operated with the Chamber in various matters to the benefit of both institutions.
Dr. M.A. ALAGAPPAN â€“ 1988-90
SICCIâ€™s Interactions with the Government: Dr. M.A. Alagappan was elected President at the 78th AGM and during his term the activities of the Chamber with the Centre and State Governments had increased, particularly with the newly formed Government of Tamil Nadu with Dr. M. Karunanidhi, as Chief Minister. Dr. M.A. Alagappan, President, SICCI, took the opportunity of meeting Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu and felicitated him on winning the elections. A number of suggestions relating to commercial taxes, power development, infrastructure and incentives to attract NRIs, were also submitted by him. Dr. Alagappan welcomed the proposal to revive the Legislative Council and felt that representation should also be given to business organizations like the SICCI. Shri Mohammed Yassen, Ministry of Communications, Government of India visited the chamber and he highlighted the technical advancement made by the Department of Telecommunications in setting up a satellite-based data switching network which would provide instant communication of data to any remote corner through computer terminals. Mr. Abid Hussain, Member, Planning 228
Commission, Government of India, visited the chamber and the suggestions made by Dr. M.A. Alagappan on the needs of industry, such as power and infrastructure were well received. The Chamber also had a meeting with Mr. Ram N. Malhotra, Governor, Reserve Bank of India where the subject of monetary policy and credit availability for industry was discussed. Hon’ble Dr. J. Jayalalitha, who succeeded Dr. M. Karunanithi as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, convened a meeting of Industrialists and Chambers of Commerce which was attended by Dr. M.A.Alagappan, President, SICCI welcoming Shri. Abid Hussain, Member, Dr. M.A. Alagappan, President, who stressed on Planning Commission, Govt of India the need for the development of infrastructure and a pragmatic policy of taxation. The Chamber’s memorandum indicated that the turnover tax of 2.5% for sales above Rs.10 crores was the highest in the country and needed reduction.
SICCI’s Interactions with Diplomats: The visits of Mr. Sibghat Mansoor, Embassy of Pakistan, New Delhi, H.E. Al-Ansari Ali Zakaria, Ambassador of Kuwait, H.E. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, New Delhi, H.E. Mr. Jean-Pierre Zehnder, Ambassador of Switzerland and Dr. S.S. Saxena, Director General, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, were quite interactive and productive. The chamber also had a meeting with H.E. Mr. Michael Cheok, High Commissioner for Singapore in India, which was followed by the visit of a Thirty-Member Singapore Trade Delegation, led by H.E. Mr. Peter Sung, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & National Development, Republic of Singapore. The visit of Dr. V.R. Panchamukhi, Director, Research & Information System for the Nonaligned and other developing countries discussed matters pertaining to increased economic co-operation in the SAARC region. The recommendations from this event paved the way for greater cooperation among the SAARC forums. 229
The visits of Mr. Erwin Sigl, Consultant, World Bank, Dr. Robert Stern, Professor of Economics, University of Michigan, USA and Dr. Stephan Golub, Professor of Economics of Swarthmore College, USA provided invaluable insights into the economic scenarios across the world. Mr. N.N. Jha, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka visited the chamber and highlighted the ample opportunities that were available for the development of Indo-Srilankan Economic Relations. A high-level trade delegation from Nepal visited the chamber and discussed the Nepal-India Joint Communique’ which provided tariff concessions for mutual benefit.
Other Significant Interactions of the SICCI: Mr. Moosa Raza, I.A.S., Chairman & Managing Director, Trade Fair Authority of India, New Delhi visited the chamber and he highlighted the significance of increasing exports through participation in the Trade Fairs held abroad. An interactive meeting was organized with Mr. T.N. Pandey, Chairman, CBDT at which a number of issues relating to the policy and procedures in direct taxes were discussed. The Madras Metropolitan Development Authority had formulated a masterplan with the horizon year 2011 and the views of the Chamber relating to the growth of trade, commerce and industry, were put forward at an interactive meeting and were well received. In view of the importance of insurance in a growing economy, the visit of Mr. S.V. Mony, Chairman, General Insurance Corporation of India, Bombay, provided an opportunity to discuss new policy issues relating to insurance. The Chamber consistently worked with the FICCI as the Presidents of the apex body Mr. Raunaq Singh, followed by his successor Mr. S.K. Birla, visited the chamber and interacted with the members.
Events of the SICCI: A one-day workshop on ‘Family Welfare’ in the organized sector in co-operation with the Family Planning Foundation of India was inaugurated by Tmt. C.K. Gariyali, I.A.S., Director, Directorate of Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu. A Seminar was organized by the chamber on ‘Industrial Design’ in co-operation with the German Consulate which was of great value for the participants. A workshop was organized by the chamber on ‘Factoring Services’ which was well received. An ILO/CIE ‘National Programme for Employers’ Associations was inaugurated by Dr. M.A. Alagappan, President, SICCI and President, All India Organization of Employers, New Delhi. The Chamber participated in the Southern Regional Trade Conference, organized by the FICCI at Madurai, at which a number 230
Dr. M.A. Alagappan at the meeting with Dr. M. Karunanithi, Honâ€™ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
of Ministers of the Tamil Nadu Government, were also present.
Dr. M.A. Alagappan at a meeting with Shri. P. Chidambaram
The Chamber in co-operation with the US Consulate General, Madras had organized a Catalogue Exhibition of Equipment relating to Tourism, which was inaugurated by Mr. Rajendra K. Dheer, Consul for Commercial Affairs, U.S. Consulate General. A Seminar on ‘Europe 1992’ was organized which highlighted the significance of India’s economic co-operation with the countries of the European community.
SICCI’s Interactions at the AGM: The 79th AGM was inaugurated by Thiru. Nanjil K. Manoharan, Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu at which Dr. M.A. Alagappan expressed his appreciation of the steps taken by Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to accelerate economic growth in the State and to develop the backward areas with good infrastructure which would in the long run promote the growth of agriculture and industry. Thiru. K. Manoharan stated that the suggestions of the Chamber relating to power industry and commercial taxes would be examined by Government and suitable action would be initiated. The 80th AGM was inaugurated by Mr. S.K. Birla, President, FICCI. Dr. M.A. Alagappan referred to the state of the economy and felt that the year 1991 was one of considerable importance as this was the first year of the Eighth Five-Year Plan. He welcomed the new policy of liberalization and hoped that the economy would make rapid strides in the forthcoming decade. Mr. S.K. Birla in his reply visualized a picture of globalization which showed the way for the future growth of business. He felt that productivity, technology and quality were needed for survival in the international market. The 81st AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri. Rameshwar P. Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance. The President expressed his appreciation of the bold decision taken by Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao , Prime Minister and also Dr. Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister to transfer gold from the 232
reserves of the RBI and to bring in about US $500 million to help the foreign exchange situation in the country. He commended the initiative of the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Dr. J. Jayalalitha for meeting with the business community which demonstrated her priority for the rapid industrialization of the State.
The Economic Liberalization of India: The year 1991 was significant as it marked a new era in the economic history of India. The vision of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to liberalize the Indian economy and place it on the path towards globalization was fulfilled by his successor Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, Prime Minister, and Mr. Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister of India. The new industrial policy enhanced the limit of foreign equity, besides removing the restrictive provisions in the MRTP Act, thereby helping to promote more investment in the country. Shri. G.M.Shah, Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir at a meeting at the SICCI
The Chamber and the nation were plunged into grief on 21st May 1991 as Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was brutally assassinated and the tragedy had affected the whole country. He was a man of great vision and was at least fifty years ahead of time. During his visit to the Chamber on 27th March 1987, he felt that “before the centenary of the Chamber, India should be in the front rank of the industrialized nations of the world and enjoy a reputation for full employment at home and quality products abroad”.
Dr. N.C. KRISHNAN 1991-92
The year 1991-92 was a significant year since there was a major shift in the economic policy with focus on liberalization and globalization. The term of Dr. N.C. Krishnan began with a meeting with Mr. Daniel Moore of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi at which the scope for increasing industrial cooperation was discussed. Another constructive meeting was held with Ms. Priscilla Williams, High Commissioner of New Zealand. The Chamber had organized a meeting on â€˜Approach to the Eighth Five-Year Planâ€™ which was inaugurated by Shri Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of India, who in his address referred to the new economic policy under which the private sector would be given more opportunities to setup industries in areas which were hitherto reserved for the public sector. The Chamber had also arranged an interactive meeting with Mr. G. Asvathanarayan, Chairman, Export Credit Guarantee Corporation where the new policies and procedures relating to risks in export promotion were discussed.
The Chamber had also organized a conference on taxation which was inaugurated by Mr. T.C.A. Ramanujam, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and important suggestions were forwarded to the Union Finance Minister. The visit of Mr. Robert Van Wemmel, Chief Representative, General Bank (Belgium) served to highlight the new line of credit in financing export of capital goods from Belgium to India. The SICCI organized a meeting with Dr. Ram K. Iyengar, Additional Director General, CSIR who emphasized on the need for innovation in industry. This was followed by the visit of a high-level delegation from Malta where discussions were held on the possibility of increasing exports to Europe through Malta. Dr. Raja J. Chelliah, Chairman, Taxation Reforms Committee met representatives of the Chamber at which Dr. N.C.Krishnan, President, along with tax experts submitted a memorandum on the reforms that were needed. A seminar on the ‘Role of Banking and Financial Services in the Changing Economic Environment’ was held and addressed by Mr. M. Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Indian Bank and Mr. M.V. Arunachalam, former President, SICCI and FICCI. The Chamber had organized a ‘Symposium on the Union Budget’ 1992-93, which was followed by a high-level meeting to discuss the Union Budget with the participation of Hon. Shri Rameshwar Thakur, Minister of State for Finance, Government of India. The Chamber had a meeting with a High-Power Sales Tax Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. B. Vijayaraghavan at which a plea was made for the reduction in the turnover tax of 2.5% as the levy was too steep. It was also felt that the Value Added Tax (VAT) recommended by the Raja Chelliah Committee be introduced after discussions with all assessees. The Chamber had also organized a Catalogue Exhibition on New Products from the U.S.A., while also organizing an interactive meeting with Ms. Tracy Mardigian, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S.A. The chamber hosted various diplomats and business leaders including H.E. Mr. C.V. Ranganathan, Ambassador of India to France, Mr. G. Sundaram, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Mr. K.R. Sinha, Consul General of India to Chicago, U.S.A., Mr. G.V. Ramakrishna, Chairman, Securities & Exchange Board of India and Mr. A. Balraj, I.A.S., Chairman, Chennai Port Trust. 235
The 82nd AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri R. Venkataraman, former-President of India. Dr. N.C. Krishnan, President referred to the new economic policy of liberalization and globalization where major changes were effected in fiscal, monetary, and credit policies apart from changes in the MRTP, Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and the devaluation of the Rupee. He also referred to the measures undertaken by the Tamil Nadu Government with Dr. J. Jayalalitha as Chief Minister, and the incentives announced by her to promote rapid industrial development of Tamil Nadu State. Hon’ble R. Venkataraman referred to the Swadeshi Movement of Mahatma Gandhi when the business community then had also responded to the call for economic nationalism. He stated that the 21st Century would be bright for India and will not come like ‘Manna from Heaven’ unless businessmen dedicate themselves to the task of building up the economy. He referred to the diversion of financial resources to the stock market and the inevitable crash which followed. He advised businessmen to obtain loans from financial institutions rather than opt for their equity participation. He also shed light on the policy of disinvestment of the public sector and the new opportunities for the private sector in the global arena. He expressed his appreciation of the role played by the Chamber in the task of economic development and the contribution of Dr. N.C. Krishnan as President of the SICCI.
MR. S.RM.PL. SUBRAMANIAN 1992-93
The visit of Mr. S.L. Mallick, Ambassador of India to Vietnam provided an opportunity to understand the scope of investment into Vietnam which was also an excellent market for Indian goods. The meeting was followed by a useful interaction with Mr. Abid Hussain, former-Ambassador of India to the USA on the significance of Indo-US economic relations. Other meetings of significance were with Mr. B. Berg from Sweden, Sir Nicholas Fenn King, British High Commissioner, Mr. S.A. Govindaraj, Member, Budget, CBEC, Mr. N. Vaghul, Chairman, ICICI, Mr. Daniel B. Conable, Agricultural Counselor, U.S. Embassy, Mr. S. Mathur, Department of Company Affairs, Government of India, Mr. R.S. Rathore, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes and with Mr. Farooq Sobhan, Bangladesh High Commissioner. The visit of Mr. Kantikumar R. Poddar, President, FICCI further strengthened the relationship between both organizations. A Symposium on the Union Budget was held where a detailed analysis of the implications of the changes in direct and indirect taxes was made by experts in the field and was followed by the presentation of a detailed memorandum to the government. The Chamber also suggested for a reduction in import 237
duty on raw material as compared to finished products to help the manufacturing sector in India. A special reference was made for the reduction of import duty on basic raw material used for the cutting tool and gear cutting tool industry. A conference on foreign trade policy reforms was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. Pranab Kumar Mukerjee, Minister for Commerce, Government of India. The leather industry in Tamil Nadu was identified as an important foreign exchange earner and considering its potential for further growth, a seminar on the Prospects and Investment Opportunities in the Leather Industry was held Mr. S.RM.PL. Subramanian welcoming the South African Delegation to the chamber which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. P.K. Kunhalikutty, Minister for Industries, Government of Kerala. The Government of Tamil Nadu had organized a seminar on Industrial Opportunities in Tamil Nadu, which was inaugurated by the Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the views and suggestions of the Chamber were presented to the Hon’ble Chief Minister at the event. A seminar was also held on “Patent Information for Technology Development and Global Business” to familiarize businesmen with patent information and methods of accessing them. Mr. S.RM.PL. Subramanian also visited Madurai and addressed a meeting organized by the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce & Industry and also addressed the AGM of the North Malabar Chamber of Commerce, Calicut. A training programme on the export potential of fruits and vegetables was inaugurated by Mr. Joy Oommen, I.A.S., J.D.F.T. who stated that there was an expanding market for organic fruits and vegetables. A workshop on “Improve your Business” was jointly organized by the International Labour Organization and the SICCI was held at Chennai and Madurai which were facilitated by Dr. Rajen Mehotra, Consultant, ILO. 238
The 83rd AGM was inaugurated by Dr. C. Rangarajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India. Dr. C. Rangarajan outlined the various measures that were taken under the new economic policy which was introduced in July 1991 and the new opportunities that had become available to the private sector.
Mr. S. RM.PL. Subramanian, President, SICCI delivering the Presidential address in the presence of Dr. C. Rangarajan, Governor, the Reserve Bank of India
Mr. N. KASI VISWANATHAN 1993-94
The visits of H.E. Mr. C.P. Bastola, Ambassador of Nepal, Mr. Nicholas Bridge, High Commissioner of New Zealand, Mr. Darren Gribble, Australian High Commissioner, and Mr. Ephraim Dowek, Ambassador of Israel served to promote bilateral trade and industrial collaboration. Mr. A.M. Swaminathan, Secretary, Co-operation, Food & Consumer Protection, visited the chamber and discussed various aspects relating to food and civil supplies. Mr. Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, visited Chennai and had a useful interaction with the members of the chamber during which he stated that the import of capital goods for the new fertilizer industries was totally exempted from customs duty while there was also a reduction on railway freight on fertilizers. Mr. N. Kasi Viswanathan, President, felt that the subsidy which was withdrawn on ammonium chloride should be continued. A seminar on â€œHow to Combat Alcoholism and Drug Addiction among Industrial Workersâ€? organized by the chamber, was well received by industry. The SICCI in co-operation with the Air Force Station, Avadi, Madras, Ministry of Defence, had jointly organized an Exhibition cum Seminar at the Air Force Station, Avadi, Madras. The object of the Exhibition cum Seminar was to indigenize the equipments 240
Dr. Manmohan Singh, Union Finance Minister addressing the members
and reduce the imported spares used by the Indian Air Force. Other important interactions were organized by the chamber with H.E. Mr. Riaz Khokar, High Commissioner of Pakistan, and Dato. V.K.K. Teagarajan from the National Chamber of Commerce, Malaysia. The SICCI also had the privilege of welcoming Dr. Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister, Government of India and his interactions with the members of the chamber Mr. Kasi Viswanathan, President, SICCI interacting with Dr. M.S.Swaminathan were highly productive and valued. The Chamber had an important interaction with the Tenth Finance Commission headed by Mr. K.C. Pant where the Chamber handed over its memorandum which emphasized on the need for the consignment tax to be dropped and the switch over to the Value Added Tax, after prior discussions. The Chamber had also taken up other subjects relating to sales tax with the Government of Tamil Nadu consequent on the withdrawal of the single point tax system with respect to a number of commodities and the switch over to the multipoint tax system. The Chamber had also taken up the subject of increase in the scale of rates on containers by the Madras Port Trust, after which the port responded favourably. The 84th AGM was inaugurated by Mr. P. Chidambaram, Minister for Commerce, Government of India, at which the Chamber emphasized the need to increase Indiaâ€™s share of world trade which stood at 0.5% to a higher level. The Chamber also felt that the commercial foothold of the Indian Embassies abroad required further strengthening in order to gain invaluable market intelligence. Mr. P. Chidambaram emphasized on the need for the private sector to co-operate with Government to achieve the objective of a higher rate of economic growth.
MR. AL. VADIVELU 1994-98
Mr. AL. Vadivelu was elected President at the 84th AGM and his tenure served to help the chamber continue the exemplary services rendered to the industry and the state, thereby extending the legacy of the SICCI.
Events of the SICCI: An International Exhibition & Seminar on Biotechnology was held from 10th to 12th April 1996 to highlight the business opportunities in this area. The exhibition named Bio-Ind 1996 was inaugurated by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, internationally renowned agricultural scientist and Chairman of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation. The Chamber organized a Seminar on the companies Bill 1997 which was inaugurated by Mr. T.S. Krishnamurthy, Secretary, Department of Company Affairs. Mr. G.V. Ramakrishna, Chairman, Disinvestment Commission, Government of India visited the chamber and addressed the members on â€˜Corporate Governanceâ€™. The SICCI organized an interactive meeting with Mr. S. Sathyam, Chairman, Tariff Authority for Major Ports, which was considered significant in view of the increasing role played by the TAMP as a regulatory authority. 243
The Chamber had also organized a seminar on insurance which was addressed by Mr. Percy Chubb III, Director, Chubb Insurance Company, U.S.A. Other programmes of importance were a seminar on Biotechnology, a workshop on the Voluntary Retirement Scheme, and Benchmarking and Business Process Re-engineering seminar conducted by Dr. Rajan Mehotra, Consultant ILO. A Round Table Discussion on “Progress of Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President, SICCI delivering the welcome address at the Countries moving from a Government Owned interactive session on Indo-US Trade and Investment Opportunities to a Privately Owned Insurance Industry” was organized by the SICCI which was addressed by Mr. Kevin Cronin, National Insurance of Commissioners, U.S.A. The chamber organized an interactive meeting with Mr. Moosa Raza, I.A.S., Secretary, Ministry of Steel, Government of India where the participants were able to discuss various issues hampering the growth of the Steel Industry. A meeting with Dr. Raja J. Chelliah, Chairman, National Institute of Public Finance & Policy was organized on the theme ‘Economic Nationalism & Self-Reliance’, where the subject of the revival of the capital markets was discussed. The SICCI with the Department of Trade and Industry of the United Kingdom organized a British Catalogue Exhibition from 28th to 30th April 1998, which was inaugurated by Mr. Sidney H. Palmer, British Dy. High Commissioner, Chennai.
The Activities of the Chamber: The Chamber actively participated in the fourth meeting of the Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Business Council, which was inaugurated by Mr. P. Chidambaram, Minister of State for Commerce, Government of India. Dr. M.A. Alagappan, Past President, SICCI and Chairman of the Indian side of the Indo Sri Lankan Joint Business Council conducted the meeting. Mr. Hans Peters from the World Bank visited the chamber and interacted with the members on the subject of multimodal transport relating to the southern region. The Government of Tamil Nadu, under the leadership of Dr. J. Jayalalitha constituted a High-Level Committee on Vocational Education under Dr. H.S.S. Lawrence, who was 244
Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President, SICCI presenting a memento to Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koo, Chief Minister of Penang, Malaysia 245
later christened “Father of Vocational Education in TamilNadu”, with laudable objectives to promote employment and entrepreneurship. The SICCI was given representation and Shri. J. Prasad Davids, Secretary, was a member of the Committee which after many sittings and discussions, submitted a memorandum to the Government. This High-Level Committee produced a report of 435 pages along with a new syllabus for 104 vocational courses in the areas of Engineering & technology, Commerce & Business, Agriculture, Home Science and Health. The Chamber had also made a representation to the Union Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President, SICCI presenting a memento to H.E Mr. Jose P. Del. Rosario Jr., Ambassador of Philippines in India relating to the proposals of the Union Budget for 1996-97 requesting the Government to reconsider the withdrawal of the exemption under 80 HHC of the Income Tax Act on export profits for 100% E.O.Us while also seeking for the abolishing of the newly proposed Minimum alternative Tax. In cooperation with the ILO – IPEC – AIOE the Chamber had undertaken a Project on the Elimination of Child Labour under which a series of meetings and seminars were held to create awareness on the need to eradicate child labour. The Chamber undertook a study on child labour in the stainless steel industry and suggested measures to solve the problem. It is of much credit to the chamber’s action that legislation was subsequently introduced to prevent child labour while sensitizing the society against this social menace. The chamber also maintained its relationship with the national apex body as successive presidents of the FICCI, Mr. A.K. Rungta, and Mr. A.S. Kasliwal, visited the chamber and interacted with the members. An Eight-Member Business Delegation led by Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President, visited Germany from 26th to 28th November 1997 to promote trade and joint ventures in various fields. The delegation 246
held discussions at Berlin with the BerlinBrandenburg Entrepreneursâ€™ Association (UVB) which was followed by business meetings at Dresden and Potsdam. The visit to Germany was made possible due to the efforts of Dr. H. Eckert, who had earlier led a business delegation from Germany.
Interaction with Diplomats: The SICCI organized business interactions for various trade delegations from across the world and helped them in promoting bilateral relations. The SICCI hosted a high-power delegation from the U.K., led by the Honâ€™ble Mr. Richard Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President, SICCI presenting a memento to Mr. Percy Chubb III, Needham, Minister for Trade, which was followed Director, Chubb Insurance Company, USA by business delegations from New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. The SICCI also welcomed a German business delegation led by Dr. H. Eckert which paved the way for closer ties with Germany. A high-level business delegation from Philippines visited the SICCI and it was felt that there was ample scope for technology transfer in agro-based industries and dairy development. Mr. Ashwin C. Muthiah, Hon. Consul General for Philippines in Chennai felt that there were good prospects for joint ventures in infrastructure, particularly port development. The visits of a Japanese Small & Medium Enterprises Mission, British Agro-Food Mission, the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, New Zealand, were other useful interactions. The Chamber also hosted a Canadian Business Delegation led by Mr. Murray Jans of which Mr. Thomas Bata, Chairman, Bata group was a member. A meeting with a high-power delegation from Luxembourg led by Mr. Georges Wohlfart, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was held at which a memorandum of understanding between the Chamber and the Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg was signed. 247
Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President, SICCI presenting a memento to Mr. G.V.Ramakrishna, Chairman, Disinvestment Commission
The chamber had the privilege of hosting H.E. Mr. Jim Edgar, Governor of Illinois, U.S.A., who expressed his appreciation for the work done by the chamber and further highlighted the importance given to India. The Chamber had also organized an important meeting with H.E. Mr. Richard F. Celeste, Ambassador of the U.S.A. in India, where he felt that the Indian industrial and business community needed to impress on policy makers that a free market was necessary for strengthening democracy.
A group of representatives from the CIS countries along with the faculty of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi visited the chamber and discussed the scope for collaboration in the field of leather, textiles and engineering. H.E. Nguyen Chi Vu, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr. J.H.J. Jeurissen, Ambassador for Netherlands, Mr. Francis Sermet, Department of Economic Affairs, Switzerland, Mr. Meir Eshet of the Embassy of Israel, New Delhi, were some of the diplomats who visited the chamber to promote bilateral trade. H.E. Mr. Frank G. Wisner, U.S. Ambassador to India who visited the Chamber, felt that there was a great appreciation of the initiatives made by India in liberalization and was of the view that there would be increased flow of investment to industry, infrastructure, and services such as insurance. A seminar on Indo-South African Economic Co-operation was organized and was inaugurated by Mr. J. Matsila, High Commissioner of South Africa in New Delhi. The Chamber had also organized meetings with Mr. Derrick Widmer, President, Swiss-India Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Rob Laurie, High Commissioner of Australia in India, Mr. Jacques De Vos, Consul General of South Africa at Bombay and with H.E. Mr. Eddy Baldewijns, Minister for Public Works, Government of Flanders, Belgium. The other meetings of significance were with the Trade & Investment Mission from Malaysia led by Honâ€™ble Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, Chief Minister of Penang, Malaysia, H.E. Mr. Jose P. Del. Rosario, Jr. Ambassador of Philippines in India and Mr. Jiro Aiko, Chairman, The Standing Committee of the Japan-India Business Co-operative Committee. 248
Interactions at the AGM: The 85th AGM was inaugurated by Dr. Debi Prosad Pal, Minister of State for Finance, Government of India. A reference was made to the new economic policy which commenced in mid 1991 and had begun to bear fruit. Mr. Vadivelu stated that the recommendations of the Chelliah Committee which were being implemented would help Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President, SICCI interacting with Dr. M.S.Swaminathan at the revive the economy further. The Chamber also Round Table on Agricultural Development in Tamil Nadu sought for the implementation of the Malhotra Committee’s recommendations, permitting the entry of new insurance companies, both domestic and foreign to operate in the country. The 86th AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. B.B. Ramaiah, Minister of State for Commerce, Government of India. Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President referred to the 9th Five Year Plan (1997-2002) and felt the need for a swift implementation. He was of the view that Corporate Tax for domestic companies at 40% together with a surcharge of 7.5% would work out to 43% and needed reduction. Hon’ble Mr. B.B. Ramaiah in his reply stated that Government was focussed on advancing exports to improve the position of balance of payments of the country. The 87th AGM was inaugurated by Dr. Raja J. Chelliah, Chairman, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. Mr. AL.Vadivelu, President called for the adoption of a long-term fiscal policy to enable industry to plan their activities taking into account the tax implications. Dr. Chelliah felt the need to adopt a three-pronged approach for the growth of the economy viz. policy changes to revive the domestic business, carefully phased reduction of import duty, and a proper policy for foreign direct investment. The 88th AGM was inaugurated by Mr. Sudhir Jalan, President, FICCI, at which concern was expressed by Mr. AL. Vadivelu, President regarding the slowdown in global economic growth affecting the developing countries. Mr. Sudhir Jalan, President, FICCI was hopeful that increased capital expenditure will rejuvenate the steel, cement, transport sector, capital and consumer goods industries. 249
DR. C.N. GANGADARAN 1998-2000
The Promotion of Foreign Trade: Dr. C.N. Gangadaran was elected President at the 88th AGM and the first activity of the chamber was the interactive meeting with H.E. Mr. A.V. Chettiar, C.B.E., Vice President of Mauritius. Mr. Amrilon Hellery, Minister for Economic Affairs, Embassy of Israel, New Delhi, Mr. Rik Daems, Kingdom of Belgium and H.E. Mr. Andras Dallos, Ambassador of the Republic of Hungary in India were all some of the high-profile dignitaries who visited the chamber to interact with the members. SICCI also organised interactive events with business delegations from Namibia, Taiwan and Botswana, apart from a meeting with Mr. Massima Boggi of the Swiss Embassy. The chamber hosted Mr. Rik Daems, Belgian Minister for Telecommunications and Public Companies who discussed the scope for collaboration in the field of telecommunications. A high-power American Business Delegation from Singapore and from West Midlands, U.K. visited SICCI to promote bilateral trade and commerce. H.E. Mr. Walter Gyger, Ambassador of Switzerland to India, Mr. Dov Segev Steinberg, Consul General of Israel, Mumbai and Honâ€™ble Mr. Jim Elder, Deputy Premier of 250
Dr. C.N.Gangadharan welcoming H.E. Mr. A.V. Chettiar, C.B.E., Vice President of Mauritius
Queensland, Australia were some of the important guests of the SICCI who helped identify the global opportunities for Indian businessmen.
Service to the Members: The SICCI had organized its post-budget Symposium on the Central Budget which was addressed by Mr. Sukumar Shankar, Member (Customs) Central Board of Excise & Customs, while Mr. P. Bhaskardoss, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust also addressed the Chamber. The chamber also organized a Seminar on Bar Coding which was addressed by Mr. Ravi Mathur, Director, EAN / India. The Government of Tamil Nadu had in their Budget for the year 1988-89 announced a ‘Samadhan Scheme’ for assessees of sales tax and details of the Scheme were explained, by Mr. K.A. Mathew, I.A.S., Secretary, Commercial Tax and Ms. Yasmin Ahmed, I.A.S., Special Commissioner, Commercial Taxes. The SICCI had also organized a seminar on ‘Mergers, Acquisitions and Takeovers’ which was inaugurated by Mr. T.S. Krishnamurthy, Secretary, Department of Company Affairs, Government of India. The chamber organized various important events that were much valued by the members. Some of the important events include the ‘Seminar on Basics for Exporting and Importing’, ‘U.S. Catalogue Exhibition – Infrastructure 2000’ and the ‘Seminar on Commercial Arbitration’ which was inaugurated by Dr. A.R. Lakshmanan, the then Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court. The Chamber in co-operation with the FICCI and the Ministry of Commerce had organized a
Dr. C.N.Gangadharan presenting a memento to Mr. Rik Daems, Minister of Telecommunications, Belgium
Seminar on India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement which was addressed by Mr. K.G. Balakrishnan, Chairman of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Business Council and other Leading Speakers. The visit of Mr. G.P. Goenka, President, FICCI was yet another important event which also served to strengthen the chamberâ€™s ties with the FICCI. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, the Chamber had in co-operation with the ILO and FICCI organized a seminar on Prevention of Alcoholism with the participation of the TTK Hospital, Chennai. Dr. C. N. Gangadharan at the SICCI Workshop on VAT which was one of the first to be organized in the region
Interactions at the AGM:
The 89th AGM was inaugurated by Mr. P.I. Suvrathan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Power, Government of India, who stated that distribution of power could be privatized and Government was in favour of allowing the private sector to enter the area of power generation. Dr. C.N. Gangadaran, President referred to the Private Sector Power Policy announced by Government in 1991 and felt that a well defined roadmap with the full co-operation of the State Governments was required to provide the private sector with the required confidence to invest in this sector. The 90th AGM was inaugurated by Mr. A. Somasundaram, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India, Chennai, at which he expressed his satisfaction at the better economic performance over the 1980s in terms of higher GDP growth. He felt that there was a need to upgrade banking technology through information technology and electronic fund transfer. 253
After the inaugural address, the newly created website of the Chamber was inaugurated by Dr. A.C. Muthiah, who appreciated the services rendered by Dr. Gangadaran and hoped that the new website would be a source of useful information to the business community. Mr. R. Muthu, President-elect referred to the contribution of Dr.Gangadharan to the area of taxation and felt that his presence in the Tax Reforms & Revenue Augmentation Commission proposed by Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu would be useful. The Commission under the Chairmanship of Rajah J. Chelliah was to make recommendations for the fiscal policy of Tamil Nadu.
MR. R. MUTHU 2000-03
Mr. R. Muthu was elected President at the 90th wanted incentives and excise exemptions to be AGM and was instrumental in helping the chamber given on power saving equipments. It was felt that separate funds needed to be created for transition seamlessly into the new century. Research & Development. The chamber also SICCI on Energy: organized a â€˜Workshop on Energy Efficiency and A meeting with Parliamentary Sub Committee Business Partnershipsâ€™ in collaboration with on Energy was held at which the Chamber had USAID. The Chamber also had the opportunity made a number of important recommendations of tendering evidence before the Electricity Bill which were well received and acknowledged by 2001, before the Parliamentary Committee on the Standing Committee. The SICCI called for the Energy headed by Mr. Santosh Mohan Dev at State Electricity Boards to function commercially which the recommendations made earlier were and for generation, transmission and distribution strongly reinforced. of power to be separated. The chamber also favoured the privatization of distribution and 255
Mr. R. Muthu welcoming Honâ€™ble Mr. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir to the chamber
SICCI & Taxation: The Chamber was invited to attend a Pre-Budget Meeting with the Hon’ble Minister for Finance and Law, Government of Tamil Nadu at which a plea was made for the simplification of the sales tax structure. The Chamber held a Symposium on the Union Budget which was inaugurated by Mr. A. Balasubramanian, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes which was followed by another meeting with Mr. Sukumar Shankar, Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs. A meeting on Value Added Tax (VAT) was addressed by Mr. Pawan Kumar Aggarwal, Professor, National Institute of Finance and Public Policy at which the Chamber among others made several recommendations relating to VAT. The SICCI called for a threshold limit for registration of Rs. 30 lakhs and for the creation of a facility for voluntary registration. The chamber advocated for the turnover tax on non-VAT persons with turnover above Rs. 5 lakhs and felt that there should be freedom for states to choose threshold for turnover tax. It was opined that the method of computation needed to be based on tax credit and the Central Sales Tax could be continued for the present and phased out over time.
A seminar was organized in co-operation with the Government of Tamil Nadu on the Value Added Tax (VAT) which was was inaugurated by Thiru. S.M. Veluchamy, Hon’ble Minister for Commercial Taxes, Government of Tamil Nadu. Dr. Raja J. Chellaih, Chairman, Tax Reform and Augmentation Committee delivered the keynote address and highlighted salient features of VAT.
SICCI & Foreign Trade: A Round Table Meeting on “Strategies for Development of Port Infrastructure to boost International Trade” was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri. Ved Prakash P. Goyal, Union Minister for Shipping who referred to the advantages of privatization of port terminals and other infrastructure projects. In view of the importance of shipping in facilitating trade, the Chamber had arranged a meeting with Mr. D.T. Joseph, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping on “The Role of Minor Ports and the Development of Coastal Shipping.” A seminar on Letters of Credit and International Trade Finance was organized in collaboration with ICC, India. The seminar was addressed by Mr. A. Vellayan, President, ICC India and Mr. Gary W Collyer, Advisor, Banking Commission, ICC Paris. SICCI had also organized another seminar during the year on, “WTO Agreements – Implications for India” which
The SICCI in co-operation with the U.S. Consulate General at Chennai had organized a “Seminar on Globalization: Impact of WTO on Developing Countries” which was addressed by Dr. Richard Hayness, U.S. Consul General and Mr. K. Skandan, I.A.S., Secretary, Industries Department, Government of Tamil Nadu.
was also in collaboration with ICC India, New Delhi. The chamber also organized a Workshop on Documentary Credits in International Trade Finance which was greatly appreciated by the participants. The chamber organized an interactive meeting with Mr. Mike Hall, Head of International Division, British Airways who stressed the need for increased services from Chennai to London. A conference on Globalization & Export Competitiveness was inaugurated by Mr. T.C. Venkat Subramanian, CMD, Export-Import Bank of India, at which information of the lines of credit offered were highlighted.
A seminar on Role of Arbitration in the Code of Civil Procedure Bill Amendment Act 1999 was held in collaboration with Indian Council of Arbitration, New Delhi. The seminar was addressed by Mr. Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Law, Justice, & Company Affairs, Government of India and Dr. A.C. Muthiah, President, Indian Council of Arbitration. Mr. R. Muthu, President, led a delegation to Colombo, Sri Lanka and addressed a meeting on the Indo Sri Lankan Free Trade Agreement. He also emphasized on the need strengthening economic ties further. Later the Chamber had urged the Government of India for the release of quota for the export of onions to Sri Lanka which was favourably considered.
SICCI & Agriculture: A seminar on the ‘Indian Fertilizer Industry – Vision for the New Millennium’ was organized in collaboration with FICCI and was inaugurated
by Mr. Suresh P. Prabhu, Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers. Dr. A.C. Muthiah, pastPresident, SICCI addressed the seminar and referred to the frequent changes in the subsidy policy which caused difficulties for the industry.
The Chamber also organized a seminar on Urban Traffic Management in co-operation with the Chennai City Traffic Police which was inaugurated by Dr. R. Rajagopal, Director General of Police, Chennai.
The chamber organized a Workshop on Improving Quality of Food Products for International Markets in collaboration with International Life Sciences Institute which was well received.
A Round Table Meeting on Police Reforms was inaugurated by Mr. N. Vittal, Former Central Vigilance Commissioner and addressed by eminent persons in this field.
Other Initiatives of the Chamber:
Significant Meetings with Diplomats:
The SICCI organized a meet on â€œBusiness and Interactive meetings were hosted with H.E. Dr. Corporate Environmental Strategyâ€? at which the Mohamed Sahbi Basly, Ambassador of Tunisia need for clean environmental technology and investment in research was emphasized by Mr. David W. Monsma, International Consultant on environment. A meeting was organized with the Sub Committee on Industrial Policy and Promotion of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce and the need for industrial growth in the region was discussed. The chamber organized an interactive session with Mr. Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir who highlighted the business potential in Kashmir for various industries. In view of the importance of town planning and civic amenities the Chamber had interactive meetings with the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and with the Corporation of Chennai. 259
to India, Mr. David Aphek, Ambassador for Israel to India, Mr. Elyes Kasri, Ambassador of Tunisia to India, H.E. Mr. Ladislav Volko, Ambassador of Slovak Republic, New Delhi, Mr. R. Sivaratnam, Chairman, Sri Lankan Export Development Board and Mr. Sushil Premchand, President, Swiss India Chamber of Commerce.
offering suitable prices for purchase. He felt that while VAT may be applicable for industry and in the case of trade there should be prior discussions before implementation. He stated that SICCI would be glad to associate itself in the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-07) which has many laudable objectives. Hon’ble Thiru. C. Ponnaiyan The chamber hosted numerous dignitaries from in his inaugural address referred to the need for Switzerland including Mr. Philip Erzinger from St. Gallen, Mr. Joseph Renggli, Consul General of Switzerland, Mumbai, Mr. Joseph Koch, Head, Swiss Business Hub Mr. Francis Sermet from Canton of Vaud, Ms. Brigitte Bruhin, Head of Relations with India and Central Asia, Government of Switzerland who were some of the important guests to promote bilateral trade. It was noted that the Swiss Technology Venture Capital Fund was willing to help small and medium enterprises in India to establish joint ventures with Switzerland.
Interactions at the AGM: The 91st AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. C. Ponnaiyan, Minister for Finance & Law, Government of Tamil Nadu. Mr. R. Muthu in his Presidential address stressed on the need for the increased generation of power and the encouragement for wind energy producers by
Mr. R. Muthu welcoming Hon’ble Thiru. C. Ponnaiyan, Minister for Finance & Law, Government of Tamil Nadu to the AGM of the chamber
rural development and the initiative taken by Government to develop wasteland. He appealed to the business community for their co-operation in industrializing the State and also to help in developing the rural sector.
The 92nd AGM was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. P.S. Ramamohan Rao, Governor of Tamil Nadu. He stated that the policy of liberalization that was pursued for a decade was yielding positive results. He welcomed the constitution of Tax Reforms, the constitution of the augmentation Commission headed by Dr. Raja J. Chelliah and hoped that a pragmatic tax policy would be framed.
The 93rd AGM was inaugurated by Dr. A.C. Muthiah, President, FICCI. Mr. R. Muthu in his welcome address paid tributes to the significant contribution of Dr. Muthiah for the growth and development of the Chamber which had elevated the institution to greater heights. He referred to various legislations which were enacted by Government in the post-liberalized period under The Governor commended the work of the Honâ€™ble Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Chamber under the Presidentship of Mr. R. Muthu of India. At the State level the Government of Tamil Nadu, headed by Honâ€™ble Chief Minister Dr. J. Jayalalitha had come forward with bold measures to restructure the economy. Dr. A.C. Muthiah in his inaugural address referred to the mounting fiscal deficit of 10% of the GDP which was expected to have adverse effects on the economy. He also felt that the rate of bank interest needed to be lowered further and the concern about Government relating to non-performing assets was not as serious as it appeared since it was only 5% in the case of India in relation to China which was much higher. He referred to the role of the FICCI in the changing economic scenario and hoped that the SICCI, Mr. R. Muthu welcoming H.E. Mr. P.S. Ramamohan Rao, Governor of Tamil which was a founder member will grow in strength Nadu to the SICCI AGM to be of service for the growth of business, the and appealed for the co-operation of industry State and the country. with Government for the ultimate benefit of the State and Society. 261
MR. R. VEERAMANI – 2003-05
Under the Presidentship of Mr. R. Veeramani, the chamber actively promoted foreign trade and strived to foster business growth.
Events organized by SICCI: The chamber organized a seminar on ‘Issues concerning anti dumping’ which was addressed by Mr. PVR Raman, IRS, Member, CBEC. Various events were hosted by the chamber to showcase the business potential in various nations of the world. A seminar on Investment Potential at Mpumalanga (South Africa) was followed by a Seminar on Doing Business with Taiwan which was addressed by Mr. V.S. Karunakaran, Director, SISI. The SICCI also organized a meeting on Investment Potential in Tunisia which was addressed by H.E. Mr. Elyes Kasri, Ambassador of Tunisia which was followed by a meeting on Indo-Thai Economic Relations addressed by Ms. Ubolphan Klykoom, Ministry of Commerce, Thai Government. The SICCI hosted an event on Indo-Japan Economic Co-operation which was addressed by Mr. C. Ramachandran, IAS, (Retd.). The Chamber conducted a Workshop on Market Access for India’s Export under the WTO Regime which was addressed by Dr. H.A.C. Prasad, Economic Advisor, 262
Government of India. The SICCI organized a seminar on the Role of Institutional Arbitration which was facilitated by Hon’ble Justice Mr. V.S. Sirpurkar, Madras High Court. An interactive seminar on European Union’s Asia Invest was addressed by Dr. Henrich Poell, Head Delegation for European Union, New Delhi. The SICCI also organized interactive meetings to promote IndoDutch Economic Relations with Mr. Jan Willem Vader Mark of Royal Netherlands Government and another meeting to promote Indo-Czech Economic Relations which was addressed by Ms. Irena Krasnicka, Consul General Czech Republic. The Mr. R. Veeramani, welcoming Hon’ble Minister Shri. Dayanidhi Maran SICCI organized a workshop on TDS which was facilitated by Justice. AR Lakshmanan, Hon’ble Judge, Supreme Court of India. In view of the importance of port security, a workshop on the ISPS Code was conducted, which was well attended by representatives from the shipping industry. A Management Development Programme on the Role and Responsibilities of Directors was conducted by the Chamber and inaugurated by Dr. V.L. Dutt, past-President, FICCI. As in the past years, the Chamber conducted a Symposium on the Union Budget which was inaugurated by Dr. Raja J Chelliah, Chairman, Madras School of Economics. A programme on combating child labour in cooperation with the ILO was inaugurated by Dr. Santosh Babu, IAS, Additional Labour Commissioner, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Chamber organized a seminar on Company Law which was addressed by Mr. Samir Biswas, Department of Company Affairs, Government of India. A programme on Important Tools for International Trade was addressed by Mr. B. Sambamurthy, Executive Director, Indian Bank, Chennai, while the Seminar on Cyber Laws, E-Commerce & E-Payments which followed was quite timely. The SICCI welcomed the French Delegation from the Port of Le Havre led Mr. Peter Van Roey as the team 263
Mr. R. Veeramani handing over the Tsumnami Relief donation cheque to the Honâ€™ble Chief Minister Dr. J Jayalalithaa
explored opportunities to improve bilateral trade. The SICCI also hosted esteemed members of the diplomatic corps such as Mr. Jaromir Novotny, Ambassador, Czech Republic, Mr. Ton Sinh Thanh, Minister Counselor, Embassy of Vietnam, H.E. Mr. Vyachesv I. Trubnikov, Ambassador of Russian Federation and Prof. Geza Feketekuty, President, Institute for Trade & Commercial Diplomacy, Washington DC. The Chamber conducted a Workshop on Business with Latin America which was inaugurated by Mr. R. Viswanathan, IFS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and addressed by Mr. T.C. Venkat Subramanian, Chairman & Managing Director, Exim Bank, Mumbai. The chamber also organized a seminar on â€˜Issues before the Developing Countries: WTO Talks and its Implicationsâ€™ addressed by Dr. S. Narayan, Former Economic Advisor, PMO. The Chamber also organized a meeting with H.E. Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda where the scope for Indian investment was discussed. Hon. Mr. Paul Holloway, Minister for Industry and Trade, Government of South Australia visited the chamber and discussed the scope for increasing the trade between the two countries. A Round Table Meeting on Fringe Benefit Tax was held with the participation of Mr. Santosh Datta IRS, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax I and Mr. P.K. Sridharan, IRS, Chief Commissioner II which was much valued by the participants especially from the corporate sector.
Visit of the SICCI High-Power Delegation To South Africa The SICCI under the leadership of Mr. R. Veeramani had led a delegation to South Africa to promote bilateral trade between the two countries from 4th to 9th July 2005. Interactive meetings were arranged with the Chambers of Commerce at Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Cape Town and Pretoria. Memoranda of Understanding were signed with the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce 265
& Industry, Durban Chamber of Commerce, Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce and Cape Regional Chamber of Commerce to promote the interests of India & South Africa. The delegation also called on Ms. B.B. Harrison, IFS, Acting High Commissioner of India at Pretoria. The Chamber had organized a meeting relating to the business opportunities in South Africa which was a follow-up of the visit of the SICCI delegation to South Africa earlier. The meeting was addressed by H.E. Mr. Francis Moloi, High Commissioner of South Africa at New Delhi.
Tsunami Rehabilitation – ILO The Tsunami struck Chennai and the East Coast of South India on 26th December 2004 and brought about human suffering and devastation on an unprecedented scale. In this regard, the Director General of International Labour Organization (ILO) for South Asia, Mr. Van de Laan, New Delhi visited Chennai to examine the possibility of assisting employers’ organizations which had involved themselves in the task of Tsunami rehabilitation. The meeting decided to form a task force comprising representatives of the Employers’ Federation of South India, the SICCI, and the Standing Committee of Public Sector Enterprises (SCOPE). It was decided that the EFSI would co-ordinate the programme of rehabilitation and the place chosen 266
was Colachel in Kanyakumari District which was one of the worst-hit areas, necessitating the need for such a programme. Mr. J. Prasad Davids, Advisor, SICCI attended all meetings and also periodically visited the site of the Tsunami. The entire cost was borne by the ILO and the following activities were taken up for skill development â€“ tailoring, coir rope making, processing coconutbased products, envelope making and formation of self-help groups. The James Memorial Trust coordinated the work at the site at Colachel. The Chamber had also made a generous donation of Rs.2 lakhs which was given to Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for tsunami relief.
Interactions at the AGM: The 94th AGM was inaugurated by Mr. M.B.N. Rao, Chairman & Managing Director, Indian Bank. Mr. R. Veeramani in his welcome address expressed concern at the combined fiscal deficit of the Central and State Governments. He also felt that the Kelkar Task Force on implementation of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act needed to bring about financial discipline. Mr. R. Veeramani referred to the monetary policy and the banking scenario and felt that the raising of the cash reserve ratio had drained over Rs. 8,000 crores of liquidity from the banking system which was no longer considered necessary. Mr. R. Veeramani also felt that India which had the fourth largest GDP in the world accounted for less than 1% in the share of world trade which indicated that efforts will have to be made to promote exports. Turning to State matters, he urged the Government of Tamil Nadu to conduct monthly meetings relating to VAT to ensure that the transition to the new system was smooth and efficient. The Chamber had also brought out a CD on industries in the four States which was released on the occasion. Mr. M.B.N. Rao, Chairman & Managing Director, Indian Bank referred 267
to the points raised by Mr. R. Veeramani, President and stated that the object of the new monetary policy was to bring down inflation and also step up credit for the genuine needs of the manufacturing and trading sector. He also felt that the needs of agriculture would have to be met and called upon leading business houses to adopt villages to provide these areas with basic amenities as suggested by Mahatma Gandhi, father of the Nation. The 95th AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister of Communications & IT, Government of India. Mr. R. Veeramani in his welcome address referred to the need for the lowering of broadband charges to serve various sections of society. He felt that apart from the development of software, India and Tamil Nadu will have to lay emphasis on the manufacture of hardware. India’s consumption of electronic goods based on semiconductors had reached over Rs.45,000 crores in 2004 and was expected to reach Rs.450,000 crores by 2015. Hon’ble Thiru. Dayanidhi Maran responded to the various points made by Mr. R. Veeramani, President, SICCI and felt that IT should penetrate various sectors of education and felt that information technology should extend to the two-tier cities of Tamil Nadu.
MR. S. RAMANATHAN â€“ 2005-07
Under the tenure of Mr. S. Ramanathan, the chamber focussed on specific sectors such as Information Security, IT Hardware, Water Management, Environment, Taxation that helped the chamber carve a niche for itself.
Promoting Foreign Trade: Mr. S. Ramanathan, President, SICCI welcomed Mr. Rama Sithanan, Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Mauritius who commended the initiatives of SICCI and discussed about the opportunities for investment in Mauritius. Hon. Mr. Ramakrishna Padayachie, Deputy Minister for Communications, Republic of South Africa, visited the chamber and addressed the members on the scope for investment in South Africa. This was followed by the visits of H.E. Mr. Joel Subusiso Ndebele, Premier of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa and H.E. Mr. Francis Moloi, High Commissioner for South Africa in New Delhi who elaborated the advantages of doing business in South Africa. 269
Mr. S. Ramanathan, presenting memento to the Honâ€™ble Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Union Minister for Panchayat Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports
A conference related to the enlargement of the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement was organized by the SICCI which was addressed by Mr. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Hon. Minister for Commerce, Trade and Consumer Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka. The conference was co-sponsored by the Export Inspection Agency, Government of India. The presence of H.E. Ms. Nirupama Rao, IFS, Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka added value to the event and her address was well received. The Chamber hosted various international business delegations including a trade delegation from Mauritius led by Mr. Daniel N.C. Hin, a trade delegation of the Thai Chamber of Commerce led by Mr. P. Sutivong, Chairman and a delegation led by Dr. Yen – Shiang Shih, Vice Minister, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan. In view of the importance of Singapore in South East Asian economic affairs, a seminar was conducted on the subject of doing business with Singapore which was addressed by Mr Allan Tay from Singapore. Other meetings of importance were with Mr. Michael Freytag, State Minister for City Development & Environment, Hamburg, Germany, Mr. Robert Maxian from Slovakia, Mr. Vijaikumar, Additional Director (EU), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, New Delhi, H.E. Mr. Ivan Nemeth, Ambassador of Hungary, Ms. Jenifer Young, International Trade Specialist, Washington, Dr. Kebschull, Hony. Chairman, IGEP Foundation, Germany and H.E. Ms. Patricia L. Herbold, Ambassador of the US in Singapore. The Chamber also had the privilege of arranging a meeting in honour of Mr. Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia who expressed the need for closer economic ties between the two countries. The Chamber also organized interactive meetings with Mr. Jean Louis Poli, Trade Commissioner, Embassy of France, Mr. Morten N. Nielsen from Denmark, Mr. Hans Wolff, Agriculture Counselor, Royal Netherlands Embassy, New Delhi and H.E. Mr. Halil Akinci, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey. Under the Presidentship of Mr. S. Ramanathan, the Chamber had successfully organized the visit of a trade delegation to Bangkok and Thailand, where the prospects for increased trade and industrial collaboration was discussed.
The SICCI & IT: The Chamber had organized a Round Table Discussion on IT Hardware – Unleashing India’s Manufacturing Potential which was inaugurated by Dr. C. Chandramouli, IAS, Secretary, IT, 271
a Round Table Meeting on Fiscal Stabilisation and Debt Sustainability at which Mr. S. Venkitaraman, former Governor of the RBI was the guest of honour.
The SICCI & the Development of Tamil Nadu: The Chamber had made a useful study on the Economic Agenda for Accelerating Growth in Tamil Nadu which covered the potential for growth in agriculture, industry, infrastructure and the services sector. The Chamber had also suggested the setting up of an Economic Advisory Council under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister to provide guidance for developmental plans in various sectors. In view of the importance of water, the Chamber had organized a seminar on the subject which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. Durai Murugan, Minister for Public Works, Government of Tamil Nadu and addressed by Hon’ble Thiru. Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, Minister for Urban Development & CMDA. The Government of Israel also actively participated in the programme. The UN (Habitat) had initiated a programme to celebrate the World Habitat Day on 22nd November which was addressed by Mr. R. Santhanam, IAS, Vice-Chairman, CMDA. The Chamber had also arranged a function to felicitate Dr. Raja J. Chelliah who was honoured by the Government of India for his contribution for the Taxation Policy in the country. A Seminar was organized on Export Management which was inaugurated by Mr. Sai Kumar, IAS, JDGFT. In view of the growing importance of VAT, the SICCI had arranged a seminar on VAT which was addressed by Smt. S. Malathi, IAS, Special Commissioner & Commissioner, Commercial Taxes. The World Environmental Day 2007 was celebrated by the chamber and addressed by Hon’ble Thiru Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, Minister for Urban Development & CMDA who outlined the plans of the government for the development of the state while at the same time safeguarding the environment.
Interactions at the AGM: The 96th AGM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Union Minister for Panchayat Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports. Mr. S. Ramanathan in his welcome address referred to the vision of the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to “Provide the Urban Amenities to Rural Areas” (PURA) by 20/20 and called for a dedicated attempt to reach that goal. Hon’ble Shri. Mani Shankar 272
Government of Tamil Nadu. A Panel Discussion on Strategies for entering into new markets for the Semiconductor and Electronic Hardware was addressed by Ms. Poornima Shenoy, Chairperson of India Semiconductor Association. Mr. David T. Hopper, Consul General of the USA inaugurated a Round Table Meeting on Intellectual Property Rights which was greatly appreciated by the participants. Mr. S. Ramanathan presenting memento to H.E. Ms. Nirupama Rao, IFS, Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka
SICCI & Industrial Growth:
The Chamber had also organized an interactive meeting addressed by Hon. Mr. Jayaram Ramesh, Union Minister of State for Commerce & Industry on the scope for increasing India’s leather exports. A seminar relating to organic shrimp farming was held with a useful presentation by Mr. Markus Stern from Switzerland. Mr. Yuen Chuan Chao, President, Taiwan Development Trade Council visited the chamber and interacted with the members.
SICCI & Banking: In view of the importance played by banks and financial institutions in promoting industrial development, a conference on ‘Recent Developments in the Banking Sector’ was held at which Mr. S. Gopalakrishnan, Banking Ombudsmen for Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and Dr. K.C. Chakrabarty, Chairman & Managing Director, Indian Bank made useful presentations. A valuable background paper entitled “Redesigning Corporate – Banking Relationship” was also released by the SICCI. An interactive seminar on the union Budget was inaugurated by Dr. K.C. Chakrabarty, CMD, Indian Bank where the various budget proposals were analysed and the recommendations by the expert panel were then forwarded to the government. During the Presidentship of Mr. S. Ramanathan, a programme on Emerging Issues in Corporate Taxes and Services was organized which was followed by 273
Mr. S. Ramanathan welcoming Honâ€™ble Shri. Narendra Modi
Aiyar in his inaugural address expressed the hope that the business community would come forward to develop the concept of the rural business hub. The 97th AGM was inaugurated by Dr. Parthasarathi Shome, Advisor to Finance Minister, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, as Honâ€™ble Thiru. S.S. Palani Manikam, Union Minister of State for Finance was unable to attend owing to unavoidable circumstances. Mr. S. Ramanathan emphasized on the need for a long-term stable fiscal policy to enable the corporate sector, plan well in advance to face global competition. He stated that there was a need for a reduction in corporate taxes as well as to streamline procedures relating to indirect taxes apart from a reduction in central excise. Mr. Parthasarathi Shome in his inaugural address stated that the views of the Chamber relating to Mr. S. Ramanathan along with Dr. K.C. Chakrabarty, Chairman & Managing long-term fiscal policy were quite welcome. He Director, Indian Bank felt that while the Government was endeavouring to bring down taxes wherever possible, the needs of agriculture, rural development and infrastructure had to be met. He also felt that there was ample scope for Government and industry to work together under the public-private partnership programmes. The Government of India which had successfully introduced the VAT, was now thinking in terms of introducing the Goods and Service Tax (GST) in the near future.
MR. M. BALASUBRAMANIAN 2007-09
Mr. M. Balasubramanian was elected President at the 97th AGM and was the first President of the chamber to represent the entertainment industry.
Summits Organized by SICCI: The Chamber had organized an Exhibition-cum-Conference entitled iSec 2007 on 26th and 27th October 2007 at the Chennai Trade Center, Nandambakkam in partnership with the Governments of Israel, Tamil Nadu and India which was inaugurated by Dr. Tmt. Poongothai Aladi Aruna, Minister for Social Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu and addressed by Mr. C. Chandramouli, IAS, Secretary, Information Technology Department. This unique event served to raise the awareness on being secure in a digital world while also showcasing the advancements in technology in this area. In view of the recent growth and significance of retail marketing, the Chamber had organized a Retail Summit entitled â€œEMERGING RETAIL PARADIGMâ€? which was addressed by top leaders viz. Mr. Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Industries, Mr. Radhakrishnan, CEO, Reliance Industries 276
and Mr. P.K. Mohapatra, President, Spencer & Co. Ltd. Mr. A. Satish Kumar, Managing Director, Henkel Ltd., served as the chairman of the Retail Summit organizing committee. This important event highlighted the need for the kirana merchants & neighbourhood stores to take the challenge of competing with the organized retail, as there was space for all the stakeholders in the retail trade to flourish side by side.
Mr. M. Balasubramanian honouring Dr. C. Rangarajan, Chairman, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Committee at the SICCI AGM
The Chamber had also organized the SICCI Agri Summit 2009, a two-day conference cum exhibition with the theme ‘The revitalization of Agriculture in Tamil Nadu’ at which Mr. S. Kosalaraman, IAS, Commissioner-Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu, participated and appreciated the efforts of the Chamber in promoting the agricultural sector. Arrangements were made for the simultaneous translation of the proceedings of the conference into Tamil through wireless headsets, which ensured the complete participation of the farmers. This event also served as a crucial meeting place for the agri businesses to get first hand information from the farmers while also interacting with the state government. The recommendations of the twoday event were then submitted to the Tamil Nadu Government for implementation.
Hon’ble Dr. Poonkothai Aladi Aruna, Minister for IT, Govt of Tamil Nadu at the SICCI iSEC Information Security Summit
Summary of SICCI Events: Mr. M. Balasubramanian also took initiative to organize a seminar on industrial policy and the SME which was addressed by Mr. Rajeev Ranjan, IAS, Industries Commissioner, Department of Industries & Commerce, Government of Tamil Nadu. This was followed by a conference on “Tax Issues in Cross Border Transaction and Tax Management”. A seminar on Current Business Opportunities for India in Malaysia and Singapore was inaugurated by Dr. S. Narayan, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Government of India. Dr. D.K. Srivastava, Director, Madras School of Economics, addressed a Seminar on ‘Hedging against Inflation’ which was followed by the visit of Mr. Gautam Bhattacharya, IRS, Commissioner-Service Tax, CBEC. In view of the importance of Cyber Crime a Seminar on Legal Issues on Cyber Crime was inaugurated by Justice Dr. A.R. Lakshmanan, Chairman, Law Commission of India and also addressed by Dr. C. Chandramouli, IAS, Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Government of Tamil Nadu. Mr. Rajiv Raizda, Joint Director, Export Inspection Agency conducted a programme on Certificate of Origin for Exporters. A programme relating to Tiger Protection inaugurated by Mr. Debendranath Sarangi, IAS, Secretary, Environment & Forests, Government of Tamil Nadu. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility the chamber conducted a Free Medical Camp for workers of the Ambattur Industrial Estate in association with AIEMA and the Sri Ramachandra Medical University where more than 1,800 employees and their families derived benefits from the health camp. The SICCI had submitted a comprehensive and useful Memorandum on “The Agenda For Comprehensive Industrial Growth and Investment in Tamil Nadu” to Hon’ble Thiru. M.K. Stalin, Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Chamber’s Memorandum touched on subjects such as the removal of regulatory burdens, creation of a petro hub near Ennore, attracting new industries, increasing power generation, urbanization, port development, export oriented units, special export zones and social infrastructure. The Memorandum was well received by Government. The chamber had also conducted numerous workshops on important and unique topics such as Human Sigma, Brand Risk Management, Strategic Costing etc which were all facilitated by experts and were much appreciated by the participants. The SICCI also organized a CxO Conclave on 278
Mr. M. Balasubramanian interacting with H.E Taarja Kaarina Halonen, President of Finland
Marketing & Strategy which was a premier event bringing together the top management executives for an interactive session that was addressed by experts such as Ms. Jessie Paul, Chief Marketing Officer, Wipro Technologies, Mr. N. K.Ranganath, Managing Director, Grundfos Pumps, Dr. Madhukar Gangadi, Founder, MedPlus among others.
Delegation to Vietnam: Under the Presidentship of Mr. M. Balasubramanian, the Chamber had organized the visit of a high power business delegation to Vietnam between March 1-8, 2008. The delegation was led by Dr. A.C. Muthiah, esteemed past President and meetings were arranged with a cross section of the business community, political leaders and government officials. The delegation visited Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City. They called on the Deputy Premier of Vietnam, H.E. Mr. Hoang Trung Hai and discussed the scope for increased two-way economic co-operation. The SICCI also signed a MOU with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry and also met the Indian Ambassador, Mr. Lal T. Muana who emphasized on the advantageous framework offered by over 220 SEZs that Indian businesses could leverage.
The Visit of the King: The highlight of the tenure of Mr. M. Balasubramanain was the visit of H.M. King Albert II, King of the Belgians who led a delegation relating to Port and Shipping. The SICCI organized a CEO Panel Discussion on â€˜Belgian-Indian Cooperation in Port Activitiesâ€™ at which the King of the Belgians was the guest of honour. The presence of His Majesty and his address set the pace for discussions to promote Indo-Belgian Economic Ties especially in areas of logistics and Port Development. This event also witnessed the signing of the MOU between the SICCI and the Federation of Belgian Enterprises (FEB). The visit of His Majesty on was facilitated by Dr. A.C. Muthiah, past President and Hony. Consul for Belgium.
Other Important Visits: Under the Presidentship of Mr. M. Balasubramanian, meetings were also held with H.E. Tarja Kaarina Halonen, President of the Republic of Finland, Mr. Andrew T. Simkin, Consul General of 280
Dr. A.C.Muthiah welcoming H.E King Albert II, the King of the Belgians
the US, Chennai, Mr. Mohan Kumar, President, Indo-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Peter E. Specker, Consul General of Switzerland, Mr. Logie Naidoo, Deputy Mayor of Durban, South Africa and H.E. Ms. Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister, Trade & Industry, Government of South Africa. A meeting with a High Power Delegation from Bangladesh was addressed by Mr. Prashant Bhushan Barua, Foreign Secretary, Government of Bangladesh. Mr. R. Viswanathan, IFS, Indian Ambassador to Argentina addressed a seminar on business opportunities in the Latin American countries which was followed by a meeting addressed by Ms. Kristine Wood, Sr. Business Development Officer, US Export-Import Bank. Mr. Shahid Malik, High Commissioner, Pakistan High Commission addressed a meeting which was followed by the visit of Mr. Jean M. Deboutte, Ambassador of Belgium, New Delhi. A seminar on business opportunities in Vietnam was addressed by Mr. Vu Quang Diem, Ambassador, Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In view of the growing importance of Indiaâ€™s economic relations with Australia, the Chamber had organized an interactive meeting with Honâ€™ble Mr. Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia
Mr. M.Balasubramanian with the visiting South African Ministerial delegation interacting with H.E. Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Tamil Nadu
Mr. M. Balasubramanian at the signing of the MOU with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam
Meetings were also held with H.E. Mr. Rizali W. Indrakesuma, Ambassador of Indonesia, Mr. Wilfred Kenely, High Commissioner of Malta, Mr. Gerry Power of Canada, Ms. Eva Drdakova, Consul General of the Czech Republic, Mumbai and with Mr. MD. Silmi Abd Rahman, Director, MATRADE, Malaysia. Mr. Mehmet Gokay Ustun from Turkey visited SICCI and addressed members on “Turkey as New Growth Hub”. The SICCI had organized a meeting with H.E. Mr. Francisco L. Benedicto, Ambassador of the Philippines, New Delhi, to discuss two-way trade and economic co-operation. Mr. Ashwin C. Muthiah, Hony. Consul of Philippines in Chennai, was confident that bilateral trade between the two countries would increase significantly.
Interactions at the AGM: The 98th AGM was inaugurated by Dr. C. Rangarajan, MP & Chairman, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. Mr. M. Balasubramanian felt that inflation and the prevailing tight monetary policy had weakened economic growth. Industrial growth had made satisfactory progress and a suitable interest rate policy should enable Indian goods to be internationally competitive. Dr. C. Rangarajan, MP, in his inaugural address, stated that the year 1991 was an important landmark in the economic history of India. The country which faced a severe economic crisis triggered by a serious balance of payments situation, had to resort to emergency measures to make the situation normal. The crisis was turned into an opportunity and drastic changes were made in the economic policy. During the last one a half decades, India has made rapid progress with an average growth rate of 8.5% which indicated that India had shifted to a high growth trajectory. Dr. Rangarajan stated that the countries of the developed world and the US in particular, were affected by an unprecedented financial crisis. Therefore, there was a need to increase agricultural and industrial production, apart from bringing about fiscal management to sustain economic growth. There was a need to step up investment and to achieve a 9% growth in a sustained manner. As the sustenance of a buoyont economic growth depended on the close partnership between Government and business, he felt that the chambers such as the SICCI had a critical role in facilitating such a synergistic relatioship. 283
The 99th AGM was inaugurated by Honâ€™ble Thiru. M.K. Alagiri, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers, Government of India. Mr. M. Balasubramanian in his welcome address stated that the Government of India had set up petro hubs in seven different places in the country. He requested that Tamil Nadu State should also be included in this new proposal. He suggested for the provision of suitable incentives for cogeneration of power through sugar plants so as to fully utilize the various capacities of the sugar industry. The Honâ€™ble Minister stated that the suggestions made by the President would be given due consideration and appreciated the contribution and the services of the Chamber Mr. M. Balasubramanian honouring the Ambassador of Philippines to India for the economic growth of the State. He was H.E Francisco Benedicto. glad that his father Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, had also addressed the Chamber in the past and he too had the privilege of inaugurating the 99th Annual General Meeting.
MR. A. VELLAYAN – 2009-11
Mr. A. Vellayan was elected as the Centenary President at the 99th AGM inaugurated by Hon’ble Thiru. M.K. Alagiri, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers. In his special address Mr. A. Vellayan requested for the further development of the Southern Districts of Tamil Nadu in order to bring about balanced regional growth. He also recommended the movement of the gas grid from Kakinada to Chennai and onward to Tuticorin. Hon’ble Thiru. M. K. Alagiri, stated that the efforts would be made to bring the gas grid to Tamil Nadu upto Tuticorin once the legal hurdles were cleared. Under the dynamic leadership of Mr. A. Vellayan during the Centenary Year of the Chamber, a series of unique and valuable events were initiated by the SICCI to mark this once in a lifetime milestone.
SICCI & Shipping: Since the visit of the King of the Belgians, King Albert II, the SICCI and the port of Antwerp had built a strong relationship which resulted in Mr. Marc Van Peel, Vice-Mayor, City of Antwerp & Chairman, Port of Antwerp, Belgium first visiting the chamber and addressing the members on the need for 285
increasing trade and economic co-operation between Antwerp and Chennai. The comprehensive success of the interaction prompted the team from the Port of Antwerp, led by Mr. Marc Van Peel, to visit the chamber a second time to further explore opportunities in the maritime logistics sector. A two-day Southern Region Shipping Conclave was organized by the Chamber to help address the issues that hindered the growth of the shipping industry. The recommendations of the two-day event were submitted to Hon’ble Mr. G.K. Vasan, Minister for Shipping, Government of India who was the guest of honour for the valedictory session of the event. As a direct consequence of the SICCI Shipping Conclave, the Ennore Manali Road Mr. A. Vellayan honouring Hon’ble Shri. Salman Khurshid, Union Corporate Affairs Improvement Project (EMRIP) was announced by Minister at the Investor Awareness Conclave Hon’ble Thiru G.K.Vasan who also commended the role of the chamber in highlighting the problems in connectivity and other procedural issues. In order to facilitate seamless operations at the Chennai port, the SICCI invited all the stake holders together for an ‘Open House Meet with the CCHAA’. The Chennai Custom House Agents were able to interact with the various other agencies and with the port officials to improve the services rendered to the exim houses.
SICCI & Investor Awareness: The Chamber partnered with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, and conducted an Investor Awareness Conference titled “Informed Investor – An Asset to Corporate India” which was addressed by Hon’ble Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, Shri R. Bandyopadhyay, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate 286
Honâ€™ble Shri. P. Chidambaram, Union Minister for Home Affairs releasing the SICCI Postal Cover at the SICCI Centenary Celebrations
Affairs and Hon’ble Shri G.K. Vasan, Minister for Shipping, Government of India. The Hon’ble Mr. Salman Khurshid, released the Investor’s Guide to the Capital Market and also launched the Investor Awareness Web Portal in Tamil at this event. The grand inaugural session was followed by a panel discussion on ‘The Role of Investors & Regulators in a Challenging Capital Market’ which was effectively chaired by Mr. Jawahar Vadivelu, Vice-President, SICCI. Acceding to the request of the Hon’ble Shri. Salman Khurshid, the chamber conducted investor awareness meetings in over 22 cities all across Tamil Nadu and the Andamans in partnership with the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. This series of meetings served as an effective platform to reach across to Hon’ble Shri G.K.Vasan, Union Minister for Shipping and Shri. K. Mohandas, over 5000 investors in tier II & tier III cities with Secretary, Department of Shipping, Govt of India at the SICCI Shipping Conclave the aim of making them aware of their rights and responsibilities as investors. The Chamber organized a Workshop on Mitigating the Risk of Exchange Rate Fluctuations which served to help the members of the exim trade gain insights in hedging their risks.
SICCI and Agriculture: Owing to the overwhelming success of the first edition of the SICCI Agri Summit in Chennai, the second SICCI Agri Summit, an Exhibition cum Conference was held in partnership with the Government of Tamil Nadu at Madurai. The theme of the summit was “Sustainable Agriculture – lab to the land” and was inaugurated by Dr. Murugesa Boopathy, Vice Chancellor, TNAU while Mr. Atul Anand, Commissioner, Tamil Nadu State Agri Marketing Board delivered the valedictory address. The event 288
served as a forum for the members of the farming community to interact with the representatives from the state Government and agri businesses. The recommendations of the Agri Summit were forwarded to the Government of Tamil Nadu for their consideration.
SICCI & Foreign Trade:
Honâ€™ble Shri. G.K Vasan, Union Minister for Shipping releasing the Investorâ€™s Guide in Tamil in the presence of Honâ€™ble Shri. Salman Khurshid, Union Minister for Corporate Affairs.
The SICCI has been actively promoting foreign trade by primarily showcasing the investment potential of Tamil Nadu while also tirelessly striving to identify opportunities for industrial growth & investment in other countries. The Chamber jointly with the High Commission of Malta had organized an interactive Session on Emerging Opportunities between India and Malta addressed by H.E. Dr. Tonio Borg, Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and presided over by H.E. Mr.
Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Tamil Nadu. H.E Mr. Voroshilov Enkhbold, Ambassador of Mongolia visited the chamber and addressed the participants on the scope for increased cooperation between the two nations. The Chamber along with the City Chambers of Commerce had organized a business meeting with the Slovenian Delegation which was addressed by H.E. Mr. Janez Premoze, Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to India. The SICCI had also hosted a one-to-one business conclave with a business delegation from Netherlands led by Mr. A.J.C. Assink, Director, International Trade Department and had representatives from sectors such as stationery & promotions items, Shipping & logistics, glazed bricks & tiles, and baking industry. SICCI had also organized a meeting with the H.E. Miloslav Stasek Ambassador of 289
Czech Republic to India who spoke about strengthening the trade ties between India and the Czech Republic through active engagement and trade promotion.
SICCI & Management Development: The SICCI had organized an executive workshop on “Making Competition Irrelevant using Blue Ocean Strategy’ which served to equip business leaders with the art of effective strategy formulation & execution. A two-day workshop on ‘Strategic Excellence through Balanced Scorecard’ was conducted by the chamber to effectively train the participants on the balanced scorecard framework. The SICCI has been in the forefront of bringing advanced management thinking from across the world to the southern region helping businesses compete globally. For instance, a workshop was hosted in the nascent field of Neuro Marketing, which challenged participants to reach into the minds of the consumer in order to be successful in their strategic initiatives. The SICCI organized an Interactive Panel on Contract Employment Vs. Tenured Employment which was addressed by Mr. Hans Raj Verma, IAS, Commissioner of Labour, Government of Tamil Nadu. SICCI jointly with the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry also hosted an interactive event on ‘Arbitration – The Indian and International Perspective’ which had experts from Singapore and the UK share their experiences in institutional arbitration in their countries.
Other Initiatives of the SICCI: The SICCI chaired a Brainstorming Session on 290
Mr. A. Vellayan welcoming Dr. Subir Gokarn, Deputy Governor, The Reserve Bank of India to an Interaction Session
Energy & Climate Change in co-operation with the British Council, Chennai to create awareness on the importance of promoting green business practices. A panel discussion on Profitable Green Businesses with the participation of the US Consulate was held at which experts on environment shared their views. The chamber invited Dr. Subir Gokarn Deputy Governor, RBI for an executive breakfast meeting to voice the views of the chamber on monetary policy and to discuss the economic challenges before the nation. The chamber organized an Interactive Meeting with Dr. H.A.C.Prasad, Sr. Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India on the Economic Survey 2009-10. Dr. H.A.C. Prasad visited the chamber a second time to interact with the members on Mr. A. Vellayan presenting the recommendations of the Southern Region Shipping SEZ policies and issues that affected its growth. Conclave to Honâ€™ble Thiru G.K.Vasan, Union Minister for Shipping A Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha, headed by Prof. P.J. Kurien, Member visited Chennai and the Chamber gave evidence before the Select Committee on matters relating to the Commercial Division of the High Courts Bill 2009. SICCI organized an Interactive session on the Analysis of the Union Budget where Mr. Rajeev Ranjan, IAS, Industry Secretary, Government of Tamilnadu and Dr. D.K.Srivatsava, Director, Madras School of Economics shared their views. To commemorate the chamberâ€™s 100 years of service by the chamber, the SICCI Centenary Golf Challenge was held at the Madras Gymkhana Club. This event enjoyed much success and saw participants from various sections of the society including business leaders, diplomats and celebrities come together to tee off on the putting green. 291
Being a socially responsible institution, the SICCI organized a One Day Free Medical Camp in partnership with the Sri Ramachandra Medical University and AIEMA at the Ambattur Industrial Estate for the workers of the estate and their families. Mr. Rajendran, IAS, Chairman and Managing Director, SIDCO inaugurated the event and appreciated the initiative of the chamber. The chamber jointly with the committee of trade and industries, Associations and chambers of Tamil Nadu organized a ‘mourning and condolence meeting for the victims of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami tragedy’. People from various walks of life came together, to express their solidarity with a nation that was trying its best to cope with one of the biggest natural disasters in recent times.
SICCI Building Renovation: Mr. A. Vellayan, President, SICCI felt that the chamber which had evolved into a modern institution while still being motivated by traditional values, needed a modern secretariat to serve the business community effectively. Hence the office of the SICCI was professionally renovated to reflect the chamber’s contemporary outlook. The documentation service of the chamber was also streamlined to offer higher comfort and quality of service to the exporters. Under the guidance of the president, the old office of the chamber was rented out to augment the revenue of the chamber to serve the members better. The signage at the façade of the SICCI building was also changed to significantly improve the visibility of the chamber, especially at night.
THE SICCI…Then, Now and Tomorrow When celebrating the past there is opportunity to reflect and then look to the future. Promoting the economic development of the southern region with a focus on the state of Tamil Nadu is the mission of the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry - a 100 year old organisation focused on innovation, efficiency, transparency, integrity, and attention to the individual. Tamil Nadu is a unique and progressive community in a lot of ways, and deserves a chamber that is equally unique and progressive. The comprehensive role of the chamber over the past 100 years could be understood from the comments of Dr. M.A.M Ramasamy, the Diamond Jubilee President of the chamber who said, “Over its long career the Chamber has seen many changes in its history and there is little doubt that it is destined to see many more in the future. There will inevitably be big changes in the pattern of commerce & industry and the problems facing businessmen will become more and more complex. The Chamber will be called upon increasingly to shoulder additional responsibilities to meet the new challenges. We have to be prepared to meet these challenges with the same qualities as have distinguished our activities in the service of commerce and industry…” The Indian Economy is showing consistent broad based growth in the face of global turmoil. It is hence critical to build on this momentum by creating access to business opportunities and establishing relationships with key decision makers. This is vital to fostering a more favourable environment for business and a sustained economic growth in India. Mahatma Gandhi had the following advice for the chambers of commerce: “You should regard yourselves as trustees and servants of the poor. Your commerce must be regulated for the benefit of the toiling millions”. Following this advice, the SICCI will continue to facilitate inclusive economic growth while continuing to impact the policies that shape the long term industrial climate through meaningful networking opportunities, business delegations and policy forums. Our marketplace is constantly changing – paradigms are shifting – and economic conditions are dynamic with new demands - which create new expectations for proactive and responsive leadership by The Chamber and our members. The Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry has traditionally been playing the vital role in the business community of being an advocate and leader 295
for business interests in the southern region. It is perhaps the most behind-the-scenes, yet most important role the Chamber plays in the region - advocating for the success of the business community in a vibrant and diverse economy. We seek favourable conditions for business in so many ways from keeping taxes low, to providing a skilled and stable workforce, to opening up opportunities in foreign markets, to helping the businesses run more efficiently and provide them invaluable market intelligence. Today, as businesses and communities are more dependent upon each other for their success, the chamber’s role has evolved. The SICCI today helps build stronger communities by keeping its membership focused and involved in top business, civic and social issues and priorities in the community. In the words of Mr. A. Vellayan, the Centenary President, SICCI, “ We decided to focus the Chamber’s activities on a few niche sectors such as agriculture, shipping, taxation, investor awareness, corporate governance and environment. Rather than have the usual routine meetings, we decided to provide focused attention and service by going into depth in each of these areas and aiming to deliver tangible results to our member constituents by acting as a conduit between the government and business. This approach has helped the Chamber in enhancing its brand equity as a service oriented and dynamic industrial body”. Hence the Chamber of Commerce is a hugely influential organisation, widely recognized as the voice of Tamil Nadu’s Businesses. It remains an independent, not-for-profit business support and networking organisation that puts the needs and interests of its members and stakeholders at the heart of everything it does. The Chamber would surely continue its yeoman service rendered to the community at large, in the future as well, as succinctly summarized by Dr. A.C.Muthiah, the Platinum Jubilee President of the Chamber, “During its long history the Chamber has witnessed many changes and has played its rightful role as an effective liaison between the business community and the Government so that a synthesis of approach in implementing the country’s economic policies could be achieved. I am proud that SICCI has kept pace with a fast evolving environment, and has kept itself relevant over these hundred years. I have no doubt that the Chamber would certainly acquit itself to meet the growing needs of the business community in the next century”. 296