Companies & Sectors
CAG pulls up ONGC for being tardy in monetizing discoveries

According to CAG, while external benchmarking of performance was not done, nationally ONGC had among the lowest efficiency in drilling compared to private as well as central public sector enterprise like Oil India, which led to non-achievement of work commitments and payment of liquidated damages

New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) for not placing desired emphasis on discovering oil and gas and being tardy in monetizing its discoveries, reports PTI.
CAG's report on Hydrocarbon Exploration Efforts of ONGC, which was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, expressed concern at the company's lack of adequate efforts and results in new fields and wanted the Oil Ministry to reset annual targets set out in memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the company signs with the government.
"ONGC did not place the desired emphasis on its core exploration activity. Coupled with the low priority on exploration are the anomalies in MoU target setting and reporting as well as performance measurement which can potentially mislead the stakeholder," it said.
CAG said ONGC showcases a healthy reserve replacement ratio while production continues to remain static.
"ONGC was also tardy in monetizing its discoveries which contributed to low production," CAG said.
"While external benchmarking of performance was not done, nationally ONGC had among the lowest efficiency in drilling compared to private as well as central public sector enterprise (Oil India Ltd) which led to non-achievement of work commitments and payment of liquidated damages," it said.
The official auditor also noted several deficiencies in operations like procurement, hiring and contracting.
"Though ONGC operates in a field of cutting edge technology, it did not have a system of independent assessment of its technical capacity which fails to assure its stakeholders," it said. 
"Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas/ONGC ought to do a de-novo review of MoU targets placing desired emphasis on performance parameters directly linked to exploration.
"It should also be ensured that such targets and achievements are measured and reported on an appropriate basis to avoid misleading the stakeholders," CAG said.
Listing out deficiencies, CAG said less than 50 per cent of the Basins were only able to meet 2D/3D survey targets as ONGC was tardy in purchase of seismic survey vessel.
ONGC lost the weather window for doing such surveys in offshore areas, due to delay in giving away of survey contracts.
"There was a shortfall of 332,855 metres and 109 wells in ONGC's exploration performance. Except Western Offshore Basin, none of the other Basins could drill the targeted exploratory wells," it said.
While ONGC-owned rigs were less efficient than the hired ones, the company took 7% to 16% extra days for drilling when compared to its own norms.
It recommended a review of reserve replacement ratio (RRR) as a performance parameter for ensuring performance in exploration efforts.
"ONGC should formulate Basin wise norms...speed up its processes for placement of survey contracts and efficient coordination to bridge the gap between requirement and availability/utilisation of the equipment and services procured to meet its exploration goals," it said.
The company, CAG said, should introduce transparency and competitive tension in the process of hiring consultants/experts.
"As suggested by the Planning Commission and as decided by its Board, ONGC must carry out an independent assessment of technology in vogue in the company to provide an assurance that it is indeed up-to-date," CAG report added.


TRAI issues draft to amend ads on TV channel

As per the draft regulation, the Regulator would allow TV channels to show twelve minutes of ads per hour

New Delhi: In order to provide flexibility to broadcasters, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a draft regulation which, if finalised, would allow channels to show twelve minutes of advertisements on a clock-hour basis, reports PTI.


Sources said that as per the regulations released earlier TRAI had laid down that channels can show twelve minutes of ads per hour but commercial breaks should be so spaced that there is a fifteen minute gap between them.


"Some of the Broadcasters expressed difficulty in following such a rule especially in relation to the telecast of sports events and live programmes," a well-placed source said.


"Taking into consideration the issues raised by the broadcasters, the Authority has decided to review the Standards of Quality of Service (Duration Of Advertisements in Television Channels) Regulations, dated 14 May 2012," TRAI said in a statement.


In a note TRAI has put on its website, it said "the quantum of permissible duration of advertisements carried in the television programmes has been specified in the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994."


"It is worth mentioning here that the provisions in the principal regulation does not attempt to disturb the time limit fixed by the central government of twelve minutes and so the same duration was prescribed in the principal regulations dated 14th May 2012," it added.


In the new draft note on its website, TRAI said the duration of advertisements carried, during the programmes, in the TV channels is closely related to the quality of viewing experience of the consumers.


"Accordingly, the Authority has decided that the restriction on maximum duration of advertisements carried in the programmes of a TV channel, as prescribed in the Cable Television Networks rules, shall be regulated on a clock-hour basis," TRAI said in its draft amendment statement.


Sonia asks Congress to 'stand up and fight aggressively'

Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party, Sonia Gandhi prefaced her remarks by flagging the party is now 'entering a period in which elections will consume much of its time'

New Delhi: Accusing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of making 'political bread and butter' by holding Parliament to ransom by 'blackmail', a combative Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday took the battle to the opposition camp and asked her party to 'stand up and fight aggressively', reports PTI.
Rallying the party behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the coal block allocation issue, she accused BJP of acting with 'wanton irresponsibility'.
"We will not be deflected by the intemperate Congress bashing by the opposition. Let us stand up and fight. Fight with a sense of purpose and fight aggressively. We have many achievements. We have nothing to feel defensive about," Gandhi said.
Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) here, she prefaced the remarks by flagging the party is now 'entering a period in which elections will consume much of our time'.
With the Monsoon session nearly washed out over the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report issue, Gandhi laid the blame squarely on the BJP alleging that holding Parliament to ransom was the political bread and butter of the opposition party.
"It's targeting of the Prime Minister on the coal issue is entirely politically motivated. The Prime Minister has laid a detailed statement...That statement is clear, comprehensive and cogent. It completely exposes the BJP and its false propaganda," the Congress chief said.
She wondered as to "how many times will we have to witness this deliberate and cynical disruption that the BJP has made a habit of?" 
Gandhi asserted that the government and Prime Minister are always prepared for debate and discussion any issue, on any CAG report or for that matter on "any perceived shortcoming on their part".
"But the proper forum for this is an acting and involved Parliament, not one that is held to ransom by blackmail, which has become the political bread and butter of the BJP, much to the concern of even some of its allies".
The Congress President's remarks assume significance as they come in the backdrop of unease in some allies of BJP like JD-U over the continued disruption of Parliament.

In her first public response on the coal block allocation controversy that has paralysed Parliament with BJP adamant on the Prime Minister's resignation, Gandhi devoted a major part of her address targeting BJP.

"This attitude of 'our way or no way' makes a mockery of the vision of our founding fathers and of the Constitutional framework; they so painstakingly built for us. Parliament is not being allowed to function and fulfil its proper Constitutional role and duty. This is the handiwork of just one party - the BJP. This one again shows up the scant respect it has for democratic values," Gandhi said.

Gandhi, who is also the CPP Chairperson, took a dig at BJP leader LK Advani by remarking "what else can we conclude when its senior most leaders refers to our government as 'illegitimate', thereby mocking the people of India for the convincing mandate they have given us."

The Congress chief said that it was condemnable when there was need to work together across party lines to tackle serious issues facing the people like drought, price rise and economic slowdown, "the country's principal opposition party is acting with wanton irresponsibility".

In the backdrop of the government's move to bring FDI in multi-brand retail facing stiff opposition from some parties including UPA ally Trinamool Congress, Gandhi said, "Many economic policies require a larger political understanding and agreement both within the UPA and with other political parties as well."

She said that Congress was striving sincerely for this consensus both within and outside UPA. "In a democracy, dialogue, debate and discussion are the only way forward. But the opposition especially the principal opposition party, has to come forth and show a sense of responsibility."




5 years ago

Well . very good! it is the leader who leads. Why cant she herself stand up and fight ? She must come out and face the press. Will she?

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