(All documents mentioned in this note are available on our site www.indiaagainstcorruption.org)
In the Nira Radia tapes, Ranjan Bhattacharya (Vajpayee’s son in law) is heard telling Nira that Mukesh Ambani told him –"Congress to ab apni dukaan hai." Facts below show that both Congress and BJP are in his pocket.
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has the contract to extract oil from KG Basin. Under an agreement of 2009 with the government, they are supposed to sell gas at $ 4.2 per mmBTU upto 31st March 2014. Midway now, RIL is demanding that the price be increased to $ 14.2 per mmBTU. Jaipal Reddy resisted that and he was thrown out.
Jaipal Reddy had prepared a note for EGOM, in which he mentioned that acceptance of RIL’s demand would mean an additional profit of Rs43,000 crores ($8.5 billion) to RIL(in 2 years) at current levels of low production. Most of this gas is used in fertilizer and power production. Increasing gas price would mean an additional financial burden of Rs 53,000Crores ($ 10.5 billion) on central and state government (copy of relevant page of EGOM note is attached as annexure 1). This would in turn mean higher electricity and fertilizer prices in the country or a higher subsidy burden.
In order to pressurize the government, RIL substantially reduced its production of natural gas. Total consumption of natural gas in the country is 156 mmscmd. According to agreement, RIL was supposed to produce 80mmscmd (more than 50% of the total demand) from 2009. However, they are producing just 27 mmscmd, almost a third of their commitment. Production has been artificially kept low to blackmail the government. They are not just hoarding the gas, but also forcing various consumers to buy gas from abroad. Gas from abroad costs around $ 13 per mmBTU.
RIL’s stand is simple – "hum to gas $14.2 par hi denge, lena hai to lo, nahin to jao." Who does this gas belong to? According to Supreme Court of India and the Indian Constitution, this gas belongs to the people of India. Complete surrender of UPA before RIL indicates UPA’s inability to run governance in accordance with the Constitution.
Drastic reduction in production has forced many gas based power plants in the country to shut down or run at much lower capacity. According to media reports, almost 9000 MW of gas based power plants are lying idle.
Today, power from gas based power plant costs around Rs 3 per KWH. If gas price is increased from $ 4.2 to $ 14.2 as demanded by Reliance, power rates would go upto Rs 7 per KWH. That’s too expensive. At that cost, most of these plants would have to permanently shut down.
This is not the first time that a union minister has been eased out at Mukesh Ambani’s insistence. In 2006, when RIL had to get its capex increased from $ 2.39 billion dollars to $ 8.8 billion dollars, Mani Shankar Iyer was removed and a more Reliance friendly MurliDeora was brought in.
RIL got this contract during NDA regime in the year 2000. The contract was meant to favor RIL right from the beginning. In any business, increase in costs means decrease in profits. However, the NDA government , signed a contract dictated by RIL wherein an increase in cost by one rupee meant additional profits of RIL by almost Rs 2.2. Isn’t it strange? A parameter called Investment Multiple has been defined in the contract as under:
Investment Multiple (IM) = Total Revenue / Total Investment
According to the contract, till IM is below 1.5, RIL takes away more than 80% of profits and government gets less than 20% of profits. It is only when IM becomes more than 2.5 that government gets 85%. This means, RIL has a huge incentive to keep IM below 1.5 by increasing the expenditure artificially. Thus if Reliance were to increase expenditure from 1 Billion to 2 Billion on a revenue of 5 billion, their own net income would go up from 1.6 Billion to 3.5 Billion. This is what the CAG has stated in para 8.1 of its performance Audit of Hydrocarbon PSCs. (extract from executive summary of CAG as annexure 2)
In 2004, RIL submitted an Initial Development Plan (IDP) saying they would produce 40 mmscmd for an investment of $ 2.39 billion. All this happened when Ram Naik was the petroleum minister in Vajpayee regime.
Within 2 years, RIL submitted another plan saying they would produce 80 mmscmd for an increased investment of $ 8.8 billion. Doesn’t that sound strange? To double production, you increase your investment by four times? Having put the initial infrastructure in place, it should have cost lesser to create additional production capacity.
Mani Shankar Iyer, who was the then Petroleum minister, would not have allowed this. So, Mani was shunted out of petroleum ministry and Murli Deora, famous to be Reliance man, was brought in January 2006. Despite strong protests by some MPs like Tapan Sen, Deora approved $ 8.8 billion expenditure. By
allowing $ 8.8 billion expenditure, in effect, Deora allowed a future revenue of over Rs 1 lakh crores ($ 20 billion dollars) for RIL.
CAG has remarked that there is strong evidence that RIL is gold plating its capital expenditure. Expenditure has been artificially increased (for reasons mentioned above). For instance, RIL is required to place orders for its plant, machinery and other requirements through international competitive bids. CAG alleges that bids were arbitrarily rejected to favor some parties. Just one company namely Aker group got many contracts (see annexure 3, which is an extract from CAG report). Is this group related to RIL? Is RIL siphoning off money through this method?
RIL’s pressure tactics:
RIL signed a contract with NTPC in 2004 to supply gas for its power plants at $ 2.34 per mmBTU for 17 years. It signed a similar contract with RNRL to supply gas at $ 2.34 per mmBTU. However, RIL went back on its word. Under RIL’s pressure, EGOM headed by Sh Pranab Mukherjee, revised gas price in September 2007 to $ 4.2 per mmBTU. NTPC and RNRL were forced to accept gas from RIL at revised price. By doing this, Pranab Mukherjee headed EGOM gave an undue benefit of Rs8000 crores to RIL.
What is RIL’s actual cost of production?
Cost of production is much less than $ 2.34 per mmBTU. (Copy of extracts from an SC order Annexure 4).RIL had actually signed long term agreements with NTPC and RNRL for supplying gas at that rate for 17 years. This means that at $2.34 per mmBTU also, RIL was making adequate profits. India is getting gas at $ 0.9 per mmBTU from Oman. Gas rates in Canada are at $ 1.74 per mmBTU. This means that at $ 2.34 per mmBTU also, RIL was making huge profits.
RIL sold out nation’s resources:
Ownership rights of this gas belong to the people of India. RIL is just a contractor hired by GOI to extract gas. Strangely, RIL sold 30% stake in 21 of 29 oil blocks to British Petroleum in July 2011 at $ 7.2 billion. Government gave approval to RIL to do that. How can they do that? It is almost like – I hire a driver to drive my car and that driver sells off my car after a few days.
Performance of RIL so far has been much worse than perhaps the worst performing government department.
Has any government department fared as badly? If this had happened in any government department, it would have been ripped apart by all government agencies and media.
RIL scam akin to coal scam:
This scam is on similar lines as Coal block allocation scam. Coal blocks were given away saying that coal production was less in the country and private sector participation would increase coal production. Rather than produce coal, the private parties hoarded coal blocks to sell them at appropriate time in future.
In this case also, oil blocks were given away to RIL on the excuse that oil and gas production in the country was less and private sector participation would bring "efficiency". Rather than the production going up, RIL is hoarding the gas.
Role of PM:
RIL’s request for increase in gas prices was turned down by Ministry of Petroleum under Jaipal Reddy and EGOM several times in the last 2 years. EGOM had fixed $ 4.2 per mmBTU price for RIL upto 31.3.2014. When Jaipal Reddy did not budge, RIL approached the PM. PM was very sympathetic to RIL. PM requested Ministry of Petroleum to seek AG’s opinion on whether gas prices could be increased midway as demanded by Reliance. It is strange why did the PM not show similar concern when NTPC was forced to accept higher gas price from RIL? Why is the PM not pulling up Reliance for not producing 80 mmscmd gas as per their commitment? Why did the PM not seek legal opinion when country’s interests were at stake? Why is PM showing so much interest when RIL interests are at stake?
Notice to RIL by Jaipal Reddy:
When RIL failed to meet its production targets, Jaipal Reddy decided to disallow their capital expenditure. In the first instance, a notice for disallowance of $ 1 billion expenditure was sent to RIL (Annex 5). This would mean a loss of $2.2 (11,000 Crores) billion to RIL, if we consider IM ratio. Next year, this disallowance could be $ 1.5 billion, which would mean a loss of $ 3.3 billion (16,500 Crores) for RIL.
That is the reason why Mukesh Ambani got restless. And that is the reason why Jaipal Reddy was transferred out.
Real reasons for price rise in the country:
This episode explains the real reasons for price rise in the country. The government seems to be succumbing to illegitimate demands of some powerful corporates in the country (like RIL in this case). Benefits provided to RIL in this case contributed to price rise in power and fertilizer sectors. Similarly, on one hand, government says that they do not have Rs 35,000 crores to provide LPG subsidy to the people, on the other hand, the government bends backwards to provide benefits to these corporate.
RIL blackmailing should be immediately stopped. Their KG Basin contract should be cancelled. Government should immediately put in place adequate systems to get full production from KG Basin at cheapest prices for the country.
Annexure 1: Note Prepared for EGOM
Annexure 1_Note Prepared for EGOM
Annexure 2: Executive Summary of CAG Report
Annexure 2 3_CAG Exec Summary
Annexure 3: CAG Findings Related to KG Block Annexure 3_CAG Chap4 - Findings Related to KG Block
Annexure 4: Supreme Court Order Annexure 4_SC Order
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
If Mr. Reddy is Mr. Kejriwal inside the govt., then unusually, he has the confidence of his party and govt. I cannot say, why he is seen as corporate affairs minister, and petroleum minister. I never was aware of him being petroleum minister.
''Can you think of any politician in America who can single-handedly question Exxon Mobil?
Reddy is an Arvind Kejriwal inside the government.'' Sheela Bhat
''A government source, privy to information about the Reliance-petroleum ministry face-off, reveals that when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened on the issue some six months ago, Jaipal Reddy knew his days as petroleum minister were numbered.
Before demitting office, Reddy's team at the petroleum ministry made out a water-tight case to ensure that only in an exceptional case would Reliance get more price for its gas before 2014.
"It will be impossible for Reliance to get more price for its gas before 2014," the government source said, explaining the significance of Reddy's notes on the Reliance file. Even if the company get it to increase the price by Rs 1, it will be surprising," the source added.
The Congress party will not be in a position to allow the government to hike Reliance's gas price since it has been widely reported that the government's estimate stated that the Andhra Pradesh and central governments stood to lose $6.3 billion if Reliance's demand for a higher price was accepted.
When the panel of secretaries, the prime minister's economic advisory council, the petroleum ministry and the minster have put their reservations against Reliance on record, how can the Congress party ignore the facts to help Mukesh Ambani?
'The RIL formula may be taken up for approval only after a policy is put in place. Prima facie, the formula seems to suffer from several infirmities...' the panel of secretaries has noted in writing.''
Does anyone know, Sachin's party? I didn't consider that he belonged to any party. No one has mentioned his party.
If he did say this, he appreciates that he doesn't like the situation, and nor does the Congress. The situation in India is, that people are 'developing' the lives of tribals, because there will be no forests left. This is not because of any govt., but because of the people of our nation. If we have a democratic govt., and the people act in a manner, which aids and abets corruption, then the govt. has to act in the interests of the people. In reality, the govt. in a democracy has no power, the power being vested in the people. The good sense of the people must prevail. When the govt. is seen to be tryng to unfluence people in a democracy, while also trying to safeguard their current interests, the govt. is perhaps called many unhappy terms.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT