A Rupee agreement with Russia would be beneficial to Indo-Russian trade

Since the current crisis in Russia has arisen out of western sanctions, a bi-lateral currency agreement would benefit both countries in the long run.


In 2013-14, the Indo-Russian trade amounted to S6.01 billion with the balance of trade in favour of Russia, as Indian exports during the same period stood at $2.121 billion only.


Apart from major exports like pharmaceuticals ($535 million), other items such as electric machinery ($ 170 million) Iron and steel ($128 million) and agri-produce ($117 million) comprised our exports. Our bilateral trade with Russia is settled in US Dollars. It is projected that this may actually increase to over $30 billion by 2025, if our trade relations grow at current rates.


The recent happenings in Ukraine have been a damper. Because of Russia's annexation of Crimea and the resultant crisis in Ukraine, the Russian relationship with the West has deteriorated to the extent of attracting sanctions from the West, which is USA and Europe. Although Europe is heavily dependent upon Russian gas supplies, this intervention has not been taken kindly by them.


Russia has announced its plans to scrap the South Stream pipeline project to supply gas to Southern Europe without crossing Ukraine and has proposed an alternative gas pipeline via Turkey to whom it has offered gas at a discount. Gazprom is reported to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Turkey's Botas for the pipeline, proposed to run under the Black Sea. A lot of technical and commercial details will still have to be worked out on this project.


In the meantime, it is reported in the press that, Ajai Sahai, Director General and CEO of Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation has plans to meet the Commerce Ministry to seek their assistance if the Government can work out some sort of Rupee payment agreement with Russia, because of the fall in the Rouble-Dollar parity since the Rouble's free fall in the recent past.


It may be recalled that when the sanctions were imposed on Iran by Western Powers, led by USA, as both Iran and India were inter-dependent on oil supplies, to circumvent the impasse, a rupee account was set up in the UCO Bank, Kolkata, which was used as a conduit for settlement of trade between both the countries. Since the current crisis in Russia is similar, arising out of western sanctions, Ajai Sahai feels a similar proposal can be brought into use, by both Russia and India, as this will benefit both nations.


Also, during the recent visit of Russian President Putin, projects and other details worth much more than $20 billion were concluded as reported in the press, which includes, Essar's 10-year multibillion dollar oil deal; Alrosa's pact for direct sale of rough diamonds; NMDC-Acron of Russia's deal to acquire a potash mine in Russia among others. Recently, Russia also relaxed the rules to permit the importation buffalo meat from India.


An indepth study and initial limitation of Rupee-Rouble agreement stipulating the total value that can be made in this manner would be a good start. Because of the steep fall in Rouble realisation, Russia is bound to control or reduce its export of wheat and India may find it worthwhile to have an "understanding" of wheat export price, wihch would also help to stabilise the market.


However, all these may also depend upon how the proposed first visit of an American President, as Chief Guest on Indian Republic Day goes and the result of discussions during the visit that he may have with the Indian Government.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)




3 years ago

It will be good for India. But, will it suit Russia? Russia is reported to be moving to receiving payments in Gold or hard currencies that can be converted forth with to gold.Abd then there is the US Polyphemes with the Old Man of Islam athwart its shoulders like Sindbad of yore who will include India in the sanction block!

IED explosion in Bengaluru kills 1 and injures 3
The victim was on a visit to Bengaluru and had extended her stay with her family on the night the tragedy occurred
One person was killed and three others were injured in an Improvised Explosive Device blast in Bengaluru's Church Street. Two IEDs were set off near the Coconut Grove restaurant causing the explosion that killed the victim, Bhawani Bala, a resident of Chennai.
The IED wrapped in a plastic bag and suspected to have been placed in a bushy plant went off around 8.30 PM in front of Coconut Grove restaurant, Karnataka Director General of Police L Pachau told reporters.
Reports suggested that the IED was wrapped in Sunday's newspaper.
The victim was on a visit to Bengaluru and had extended her stay with her family on the night the tragedy occurred. Three others, including one of her relatives who was identified as Karthick, have been admitted to Mallya Hospital and HOSMAT Hospital.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddiramaiah announced a compensation of Rs5 lakh to the victim's family.
Police officials involved with the investigation described the device as a pipe bomb meant for a low intensity but high impact blast on account of it being packed with iron nails
As rumours started floating on social media and messaging services like WhatsApp, Police Commissioner M N Reddi sent out a message requesting citizens to maintain calm and that the there was no need for panic and that the probe was on.


Are women travellers' issues secondary for GVK's Mumbai Airport?

GVK says long queues for women is the Central Government’s Central Industrial Security Force's (CISF) responsibility and that stinking toilets are 'regularly monitored' for cleanliness


Last week when Dolly Thakore, noted TV anchor, dramatist and social crusader reached Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, she stood in a serpentine queue along with many other women as there was just one channel for security checks while for men there were six or seven of them.

Thakore faced a similar problem at the Jaipur Airport, and found this discrimination unfair. She shot off a letter to GVK, the private agency that is in a Private-Public Partnership with the government to run Mumbai Airport, requesting it to address this issue promptly. Thakore wrote to the Airport Terminal Manager, “While GVK has brought about transformation in comfort, convenience and sophistication of air travel, it seems to have ignored the New Woman on the every airport there is only one Security Check for women and the queues are endless, while there are 6 or 7 such for men. It is time the Airport authorities recognised the woman on the move. Would appreciate a response and prompt action please. Her letter also raised the issue of inefficiently maintained women's toilets. “Could washroom staff be more alert and available at all times to maintain standards,” her letter added.

In response, an unnamed person by the name of “Team - Customer Service & Quality” replied that it is the job of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and that they have shared her feedback with them. The letter of this anonymous officer states, “As you are aware that processes like Security at all Indian Airports are handled by the CISF, We have shared your feedback with the CISF, alternatively you may directly write to them at [email protected]. All passenger feedback pertaining to them are shared with them for improvement in their services. Our management regularly conveys meetings with these agencies to ensure all processes are streamlined and minimize passenger inconvenience.’’

The moot point is, if “passenger inconvenience” is their priority, are they blind to the fact that women stand in endless queues? Also, if the management is holding regular meetings, did they need a citizen to bring this inconvenience to their notice? Like most Public-Private-Partnerships, GVK too seems to be shrugging off the responsibility of passenger inconvenience by pointing to the government authority, in this case, the CISF.

As for the women’s toilets and their appalling state, the anonymous officer of Team- Customer Service & Quality casually replied, “We would also like to inform you that our housekeeping team regularly monitors cleanliness of washrooms as well as the entire terminal building at all given points. However they have been briefed to be more vigilant while on duty and to increase the frequency of the washroom checks to ensure cleanliness is maintained round the clock.’’ Anyone who has visited CSIA Airport is aware of the dirty toilets ever since the Airport has had a grand makeover. Is it enough for GVK to merely “brief” the attendants to be more vigilant?

Finally, as if rubbing salt in the wounds, the anonymous officer signs off “Our Vision for CSIA: To be one of the World's best airports that consistently delight customers and be the pride of Mumbai.’’



Letter by CSIA to Dolly Thakore


Dear Ms. Thakore,


Greetings from CSIA, Mumbai!


This is with reference to your feedback with us received through email dated 24/12/2014 regarding your experience at CSIA.

At the outset, please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused to you during your journey through Mumbai Airport. We understand your concerns and appreciate that you have brought them to our notice. As you are aware that processes like Security at all Indian Airports is handled by CISF, We have shared your feedback with CISF alternatively you may directly write to them on [email protected].


All passenger feedback pertaining them are shared with them for improvement in their services. Our management regularly conveys meetings with these agencies to ensure all processes are streamlined and minimize passenger inconvenience.

We would also like to inform you that our housekeeping team regularly monitors cleanliness of washrooms as well as entire terminal building at all given points. However they have been briefed to be more vigilant while on duty and to increase the frequency of the washroom checks to ensure cleanliness is maintained round the clock.

We wish you a pleasant journey when you next transit through Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai.

Yours sincerely,


Team - Customer Service & Quality
Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd.
Tel:  91 22 66852351 / 2306 / 2307 (D)
Fax: 91 22 66851572 (Office Hours)
Email: [email protected]


Our Vision for CSIA: To be one of the World's best airports that consistently delights customers and be the pride of Mumbai


(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)




3 years ago

If the editor feels that my comments are also worth publishing in the "Moneylife" Issue along with this story, it may be so done.


3 years ago

Good story readymade for my comments. I would say, it is worst for all passengers irrespective of sex or age.
The woes of passengers are unending. Yesterday( 28 Dec) I arrived from Jaipur by Go Air Flight G8392. Flight was late, I can understand the congestion to land .But then who is responsible for baggage delivery? Belt no 4 displayed delivery. A few bags came ,then it stopped. None was present either from GVK or Go Air to answer. After some time even the display also stopped and the passengers were running from one belt to another to find if new belt is being used.
I approached GVK counter girl to help. She said it is not their responsibility, the Airline has to manage. She took two of us to GOAIR office on 1 st floor. None was present .After some noise, a gentleman came representing Go Air( Sans Uniform or ID) and said he is trying to clear the fault in delivery. After 10 minutes wait, baggage started arriving. Total time wasted was about 25 minutes for collection of my bag.
After exit the real nightmare started which was a chaos worth remembering. Inside the arrival hall ,but before exit gate the 'Pre-paid Taxi Counter' was missing. Outside, as was prevailing earlier, this time there were neither sign boards for arriving passengers to go to any of the TAXI stands ( AC or non-AC)What was existing was a board- Car Pick Up or Fleet Cab.
Like me, there were many passengers with children who did not have any car to pick up but wanted only a public transport at the prevailing tariff. A GVK attendant told us that all Taxi/Auto stands are abolished in wake of the UBER TAXI rape case in Delhi. When asked what alternative is provided to carry us home with baggage, reply was none except to stand at the Fleet Cab plaque. Hardly any cab was available. A few arrived in between but quoted arbitrary fare ( About 3 times of regular taxi ) This was not affordable to many and to a few like me, it was better to walk with baggage sans trolly ( not allowed after the Car/Cab exit point) in toe till IOC petrol pump or opposite Sahara hotel to catch a cab or Auto.
Is it the standard and the upgraded facilities for harassed air travellers at GVK managed CSIA ? This was the worst scenario we Air passengers experienced. Now let the responsible and accountable authority ( Whether CSIF or GVK or some one else) tell who was responsible for this avoidable sufferings of Air travellers ?


p t suresh

In Reply to MOHAN SIROYA 3 years ago

Sir, it is not the lack of facility or anything like that. It is the mindset. If you don't feel responsible and accountable, whatever facility you build is not useful!

p t suresh

3 years ago

1. It should be made compulsory in all public service organizations to have a name and contact details of individual writing such letters. Team ... denotes no one is responsible in the team!!

2. Organizations/People who collects money for goods/services should be made accountable for the money they collect. Cost of each item of the service should be spelt out separately so that if the customer do not get a particular service, the customer should not pay for the cost of the same.

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