I Was Not Allowed To Work Peacefully

Muthiah R Pillai
Former president, Confed-ITA

Muthiah R Pillai, former president of Tamil Nadu based Confed-ITA is now a relieved man. After handing over the reigns to the new team at the recently-concluded Confed-ITA summit, he looks back his stint as president and shares his memories with Channel Times.

Excerpts from the interview

CT: How has the leadership of Confed-ITA helped you?

Pillai: It has helped me a lot. A year of presidential role will help anyone change their attitude. One will learn patience, listen to other ideas and will help in having an organized, balanced work-life. I would tell it has increased my tolerance level.

CT: You assumed office during the most crucial period for the industry. Explain your journey as president.

Pillai: Yes. I assumed office during the most cursed era of the channel business. For the last one year, online is killing the traditional business and I think this is the biggest challenge that every partner is facing. During my tenure, I preferred self-discipline and organized way of functioning. I wanted everything to be put in record, right from registration of the association to consolidation of database. In the EC meet we brought in floor discipline and we banned visitors. We even made seating arrangements accordingly and brought EC to the fore-front.

CT: Your performance was appreciated only as a chairman of the summit, does that mean you were a failure as president?

Pillai: The concept of ‘Akshayam’ was based on two key agendas — generate funds and have cordial relationship with vendors. With the success of these two agendas, we had an unforgettable summit last year in Coimbatore.

During my tenure I was not allowed to work peacefully. A few former officer bearers still wanted to control the association either being in the front or the back. There will always be a war between the old school of thoughts versus new line of ideas. Many good projects were put on hold because of these hurdles. In spite of that we conducted all the EC meetings, GB meet, a meet with all the vendors to discuss the emerging online threat in the state and around I participated in around 12 district associations meeting . I also played a key role in the Karnataka’s state association formation meeting and MAIT forum in New Delhi.

My request to the past office bearers (that includes me and my team) is to allow the new team to function peacefully and not try to take control of things. They can come into picture only if they are asked for.

CT: You had promised to enhance relations with the government, but nothing has happened.

Pillai: You are wrong. I had an interaction with the IT secretary of the state and explained the activities of the association. However, I was told that there is no space or domain, where our partners can be made use of.

CT: Which is your favorite association in Tamil Nadu?

Pillai: If you ask me, I will tell Tirunelveli District Association (CDAT) has been a constant player and has been prompt in every action. Other than that my favorite has always been the Tirupur Association which has done wonderful job during my tenure- be it a cricket tournament, member welfare or contribution towards Confed-ITA.

CT: There were questions raised by Confed-ITA and Tirunelveli for appointing people favouring you as election officer. Your take on that.

Pillai: I would like to clarify that both are two different cases altogether. Appointment of the VP as election officer was to have additional support and coordination and make the process easy. This was taken in a wrong way, but they should know that there is no room in the bylaw for the the existing office bearers to get reelected. The local association issue was intentional and targeted towards me with wrong intentions.

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