Archive

Posts Tagged ‘congress’

Air India and Hydrocarbon losses – “Honest” PM Manmohan Singh

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

“Honest” PM Moneymohan Singh in action yet again. For an economist, seems surprisingly ignorant of profit/loss economics when it comes to serving the CONgress party. But wait! Profit for the party and loss for the country!

On December 30, 2005, the United Progressive Alliance government moved uncharacteristically fast. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh concurred with a note sent by a select group of ministers on a commercial contract on the very day it reached his office.  Soon after, the aviation ministry under then minister Praful Patel informed the national carrier Air India about Singh’s decision. Air India promptly acted on it – all on the same day.

This contract was a Rs 33,197-crore deal Air India , signed with Boeing and General Electric to buy 50 planes. The sequence of events on that winter day is marked in red in a recent audit report of the aviation sector by the Comptroller and Auditor General, or CAG.

As it turned out, the plane acquisition deal triggered Air India’s nosedive. At the time of the deal, the airline was still in the black, with a net profit of Rs 96.3 crore on an income of Rs 7,630 crore in 2004/05. The airline had a Rs 1,801 crore balance sheet, of which debt was Rs 1,262 crore. Five years later in 2009/10, it would report a loss of Rs 5,552 crore – about twice the size of Sikkim’s economy – on an income of Rs 13,402 crore, along with a staggering debt of Rs 38,423 crore.

The single-day clearance is one of a number of dubious government decisions highlighted by the report. Similar revelations have also been made in another CAG report on the hydrocarbons sector. Both strongly criticise the government’s functioning, pointing out failures and systemic flaws in its processes.

http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/cag-report-indicts-civil-aviation-and-hydrocarbons-sectors/1/18990.html

Nuke deal swindles Indian nation

October 2, 2008 3 comments
Interesting times these. The american congress passed the nuke deal (must be a darn good deal for the yanks to pass up on this one then) in the midst of seemingly far more serious issues. Or perhaps they realized that part of the $700 billion needed to supposedly rescue the american economy, (estimates say around $150 bill could be the cost borne by India for importing american reactors) could come from selling obscenely expensive, mostly obsolete n-tech to India. If the Indians had even the slightest clue of statecraft, the vulnerable americans who will be desperate for any business for their huge arms industry in the coming years as their economy contracts, could have been pushed to give large political concessions without any strings attached, given the huge amount of arms, aircraft etc that India purchases from them. Instead the Indians have chosen to be subservient to them precisely when they are going to be increasingly weak.
Nicholas Burns the chief negotiator from the american side for the deal plainly said that “No aspect of this deal recognises India as a nuclear weapons state.” As per Burns, the deal is the first step for Indian dismarmament. He and american officials while urging Congress to pass this “landmark” deal believe that 90% of Indian reactors would be under IAEA safeguards within a generationWhile there are far, far more serious issues the country has to deal with, the Manmohan-Sonia combo interestingly decide to stake their govt’s very existence, quite magically, precisely on an issue which would actively involve foreign players and which seriously impinges on Indian defence preparedness.

Quite puzzling is this obsession with “solving” Indian power needs by precisely using that source of technology which strangely coincidentally, would invite intrusive inspections and also give enormous leverage to an assorted variety of countries belonging to the NSG cartel. Remember that the NSG itself was created as a result of Pokharan-1, and they have now seemingly magically cozied upto their former nemesis — India. Must be the irresistible Manmohan magic. Also interestingly, Australia which is a central part of this cartel, with huge Uranium supplies, does not have a single reactor itself.

Just as the americans have succesfully played the bait and switch policy to the hilt, the drumbeaters for the deal in the Indian media, have no qualms about constantly changing their rationale for the deal. Karan Thapar (in an interview with Arun Shourie, read at http://arunshourie.wordpress.com), when pointed out that the NSG provided no assurances for fuel supply, went to the extent of saying that America and the 123 agreement itself were irrelevant for the deal and we could instead deal with the French and Russians! So what about the part that these same guys have been dishing out, that its time that India and the US engaged like “friends”? Small details like the deal’s name actually being “Indo-US” nuclear deal do not seem to matter for Sonia’s water bearers like Thapar! These same guys used to previously spin that the Hyde act was irrelevant and its the 123 agreement that mattered!  Incidentally, american president Bush recently told Congress that the 123 agreement was not legally binding as far as assured fuel supply to India was concerned thus confirming Shourie’s observations. K Subrahmanyan another “defence analyst” who has supported the deal from the start recently posited that India’s place firmly belonged in the NPT in the future. Remember that one of the main preambles of the NPT is disarmament. In fact all signs seeem to indicate that the Congress seems to be returning to chacha Nehru’s famed idea that “we didn’t need an army as we were a peaceful country”. Manmohan himself had strongly criticized Pokharan-2 and severely cut spending on nuclear preparedness as finance minister.

What this deal really is about, is that the Congress party which simply lacks the wherewithal to stand on the strength of performance, would like to ensure that there are other powerful outside forces on its side should it ever need a stout stick to beat the BJP with, should the BJP come to power and be seen as misbehaving by Congress standards.

Historically the Congress is a party that has been at ease with having outside forces having a significant say in India’s internal matters. This deal is going to come to haunt us repeatedly in the future quite like Nehru’s inviting the UN to decide the J&K issue has.