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Flat on the Ground

October 4. 1969 and machinery, and exemption from excise duties and sales tax for five years. First, backward areas generally coincide with those tracts where agricultural productivity is even lower than average. The primary condition of raising income and employment in such areas, therefore, is the drawing up and implementation of programmes for irrigation and other inputs, together with better communications. Second, fiscal incentives for industry are meaningful and attractive only when there are markets which yield profits on which taxes do not have to be paid. Unless there is a reasonable assurance of markets and piofits. i e. a sufficiently high level of productive, public and private, developmental expenditure the incentives will remain on paper. Third, small industries about which one hears so much can flourish only if they are based upon prosperous agriculture, transport or large industry in the neighbourhood; they cannot survive out in the wilderness. Finally, incentives must have a cut-off point at least in the sense of a limit on budgetary revenues foregone BUSINESS EVER since 1929, when R Seshasayee returned after training in electrical engineering from the US to start power generation and supply (especially for rural Madras), the Seshasayee brothers, who had launched their business career in road transport operations, have gone into industry in a pioneering way. Power, basic chemicals and aluminium have been their mainstay, their brief interlude with Elphinstone Cotton Mills in the 1950s notwithstanding. While these are important industries, none of them is a money-spinner. Sesha- sayees have had a surprisingly small controlling block in their companies. Yet they have been able not only to retain control of the group but also to secure funds from financial institutions. This was partly because of the managing agency agreements but also because Seshasayee^ had acquired a reputation for good management and won the confidence of investors and financial institutions on account of their technical competence.

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