Skip to main content

Senior scribe and consultant asks Government of India not to “bribe” Pak with gas when India needs it most

Aiyar
By Our Representative
This has come from one of the most influential scribes on economic affairs of India. Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, who is consulting editor of the Economic Times and has been a consultant to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, has revealed that the Government of India is all set to come up with a “ridiculous proposal” — of supplying Pakistan five million units of imported gas per day, enough for two large power plants, at a time when India is “desperately short of gas”. He advises Government of India not to “bribe Pakistan with gas” when we need it more.
Suggesting the proposal to give gas has been floated at a time when “many Indian power plants lie closed for want of gas”, Aiyar says, “The consequent power shortage translates into lakhs of farmers with idle tubewells, hundreds of industries without power, and hence thousands of people without jobs.” The situation is such that “one industry is buying gas from coal mines at $22unit, five times the government controlled price of $4.2unit, indicating high scarcity.”
Giving details of the proposal, Aiyar says, “India imports gas from the Gulf. Pumping it to Wagah will entail much cost and energy. The Jalandhar-Wagah pipeline will cost Rs 500 crore”. He wonders, “Don’t we have better uses for scarce funds? Pakistan is believed to have offered a price that covers costs of transporting gas to the Wagah border. So what? Surely Pakistani consumers must compete with Indians in open auctions. If Indians are willing to pay $22unit, how can Pakistan be offered a lower price?”
Aiyar asks, “Indian consumers pay 5% import duty on gas. Yet the government proposes waiving import duty for sales to Pakistan. Why favour Pakistanis over Indians? Why deprive Indians of gas to meet Pakistani needs? Diplomats claim the gas deal will improve Indo-Pak relations. I am all for it, but why in this manner?”
Aiyar says, “As a free trader, I favour lifting all barriers to trade and investment between the two countries. But Pakistan says no. For decades, it refused to normalize economic relations till the Kashmir dispute was resolved, which meant forever. In recent years, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif have spoken of normalizing relations. Yet neither has found it politically possible to take the first step: giving India equal trade access with all members of the World Trade Organization.”
Pointing out how India has been trying to unreasonably woo Pakistan, Aiyar says, “India has long granted Pakistan most favoured nation (MFN) status, but Pakistan has refused to reciprocate — an explicit declaration of hostility. Two Pakistani leaders have promised MFN status but not delivered. Clearly, Pakistan is not ready for normalcy.”
Saying that he is not “among those seeking to ban economic relations with Pakistan till it stops aiding terrorists”, Aiyar says, “I believe India must give Pakistan MFN status. But if Pakistan refuses to reciprocate, it is plain silly to try and bribe it into friendship through gas deals at the expense of Indian consumers.”

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.