Companies & Sectors
How to reduce the demand-supply gap in urea

The Department of Fertilizers has been aware that gas is in short supply and LNG prices are high. What are the options open for the government to meet the demand for 30 million tonnes per annum of urea

India needs 30 million tonnes of urea every year to meet the current agricultural needs of land under cultivation. Domestic production of urea is about 22 million tonnes and the shortfall of 8 million tonnes is met through imports at an average cost of $400 per tonne. 

 

Thanks to the long-term agreement signed with the Oman-India Fertilizer Company, we obtain 2.5 million tonnes from it, leaving 5.5 million tonnes to be obtained from other sources.

 

The allocation of natural gas to urea plants in India has been insufficient resulting in imports of LNG at about $20 per mmBtu (million metric British thermal units). The main supplier of gas, Reliance Industries has had a great fall in production, and it is hoped that this will increase now onwards.

 

It must be borne in mind that the price of gas in exporting countries is very low. For instance, in the case of Oman Oil Company's joint venture with Iffco/ Kribhco, gas is supplied by it at $3 per mmBtu, which, due to the high cost of liquefaction, transportation, regasification, etc shoots up the price to $12-$14.

 

Unfortunately, domestic gas supplies are inadequate and do not meet the full requirement of the fertilizer industry, and even at the present price of $4.2 per mmBtu, the government has to subsidize the cost of urea for supplies to the farmers. The proposal to increase gas price to $8.40 will only mean a greater subsidy to this industry so that farmers do not suffer.  At the same time, the government cannot afford to withdraw this subsidy and leave the pricing of urea to the manufacturers as elections are round the corner.

 

For more than a decade now, 13 years to be precise, there has been no urea plant that has come up in the country primarily due to the fuel supply situation.

 

So, in January this year, when the government invited proposals under the new investment policy, the response has been overwhelming in as much as 15 applications were received, which are all in this field, showing keen interest either to expand their existing units or to put up new units, probably at new locations.

 

The reason for this encouraging response is simple. The government underwrites the entire production of urea and the investors will be able to have a profitable return of 15%-20% on equity.  Of course, there is no guarantee for supply of gas, which is set to go north by April next year.  In any case, an average of 18-24 months is required to set up new plants and investors will have to come out with their innovative ideas for ensuring fuel supply.  Expansion of existing plants may be much shorter, but still the fuel supply issue will have to be tackled.

 

The Department of Fertilizers has been mulling on this idea for some time now as it is fully aware that gas is in short supply and LNG prices are high. What are the options open for the government?

 

The first one is to investigate the question of capacity expansion at the Oman plant.

 

The second is to start serious talks with the Emirate of Qatar, which is the largest supplier of LNG to India. It would be prudent, economical and viable and positively cheaper to set up the urea plant in this emirate, and import the urea into the country.

 

The third is to persuade NRI businessmen residing in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to set up a urea plant in places like the Jebel Ali Free Zone where it is not even mandatory to have a local partner or sponsor to set up industries.

 

At the moment, therefore, it is futile to think of putting up any new plant in India until gas supplies are sufficiently large enough to meet the existing demand of the units.  Or else, the existing units come up with alternative fuel arrangements to ensure production and supplies.

 

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was 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.)

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America’s long civil rights march, complete with stops and starts

Last month's Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act was just the latest move in a 150-year dance between the high court and Congress over the protections owed this country's African Americans

Ever since the War of the States, Congress and the Supreme Court have clashed over the question of civil rights. Congress would move to guarantee certain rights for black Americans and the Supreme Court would turn around and limit those rights. At other times, the Supreme Court would expand these rights only to have Congress ignore them.
 

An instructive example: At the Civil War’s end, Congress passed the most sweeping civil rights legislation this nation has ever seen, and the Supreme Court swiftly moved to stifle the reach of those laws. Its rulings in the late 1800s – most notable in Plessy v. Ferguson -- would usher in nearly a century of Jim Crow.
 

Conversely, the path to civil rights reveals points where the Supreme Court has grown impatient with Congress’ unwillingness to protect the rights of black citizens. The best known example of this, of course, was the revolutionary Brown v. Board of Education decision that dealt the knockout blow to the doctrine of separate but equal treatment for black Americans. But it would take Congress more than a decade to actually force school desegregation.
 

Depending on your politics and the direction of the latest ruling at any given time, the court has been either radically activist in expanding civil rights or radically activist in stepping on the legislative branch to restrict these rights.
 

Last month, the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the outcry against an activist court rang anew. Many criticized the ruling as an extreme example of judicial overreach. They said the 5-4 decision that broke down along ideological lines trumped Congress’ expansive constitutional authority to enact legislation to enforce the amendments guaranteeing black Americans the right to vote and equal protection under the law.
 

But Lawrence Goldstone, author of “Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by The Supreme Court, 1865-1903,” said in an interview that every Supreme Court Justice is an activist. The makeup of the Court has always determined its stance on civil rights.

Those on the Court claiming to be strict constructionists, he said, are living out a fantasy.

“The language of the Constitution is intentionally vague; it is such that there is no one interpretation that is obvious and clear to everyone,” Goldstone said. “You’ve got a document and you’ve got nine people who are reading the document and saying this is what I think it means. No one person has a monopoly on understanding and interpreting the Constitution. And so then it becomes political.”
 

When considering last month's rulings on affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act, it is useful to take the long view of the push and pull between Congress and the Supreme Court when it comes to civil rights. The long arc of history might bend toward justice, but there’s always been a lot of pendulum swinging along the way.
 

View an interactive timeline of America's long civil rights march.

 

Courtesy: ProPublica.org

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Now, SEBI says it has no information on surveillance either!

The market regulator claims it does not have information on surveillance, inspection and prosecution. This is an unbelievable admission since it spends over Rs50 crore of taxpayers’ money

In response to Moneylife’s Right to Information (RTI) appeal, the Indian capital market watchdog, Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has made a surprising admission: it does not have information pertaining to its surveillance, inspection and prosecution activities!
 

We had filed an RTI on how its state-of-the-art surveillance systems, the Integrated Market Surveillance System (IMSS) and Data Warehousing Business Intelligence System (DWBIS) fared by asking the following simple questions:

  • How many detected cases had resulted in prosecution?
  • How many detected cases had resulted in consent orders?
  • How many detected cases were dismissed due to lack of evidence?
  • How many detected cases are still pending for investigation?

 

The PIO (public information officer) at SEBI, however, denied the information. The PIO on 7 May 2013, vide CPIO/AKS/AJ/325-2013/10853, stated “It is informed that the information sought by you is not available with the concerned department of SEBI.” The entire story can be accessed here.
 

We then filed our first appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA) at SEBI. In the appeal, we requested the FAA to direct the PIO to forward the RTI application to the concerned department that has the information. The FAA, however, rejected the first appeal.

 

Vide its order AAO/1691/RTI/07/2013, dated 5 July 2013, S Raman, the FAA stated: “I do not find any reason to disbelieve the response provided by the respondent (SEBI). In this context, I note that the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr Vs Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors (Judgement dated 9 August 2011), had held that: ‘The RTI Act provides access to all information that is available and existing. But where the information sought is not a part of the record of a public authority, and where such information is not required to be maintained under any law or the rules of regulations of the public authority, the Act does not cast an obligation upon the public authority, to collect or collate such non-available information and then furnish it to an applicant.’ In view of these observations, I find that the respondent cannot be obliged to provide the information sought by the appellant through the instant query.”
 

It is pertinent to note that the data related to surveillance is clearly disclosed in SEBI’s annual reports. However, SEBI has published only the aggregate data but not the specific information which we had specifically asked for. The annual report does not mention how many cases were detected by the IMSS and DWBIS systems, respectively, for which it has spent so much taxpayers’ money. Why it has not disclosed this information remains a mystery.
 

SEBI has spent so much money on beefing up its surveillance mechanisms. It has 48 people on staff as of 31 March 2013, and has so far spent collectively over Rs50 crore of taxpayers’ money, on the state-of-the-art  IMSS and DWBIS. It has also employed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to take care of its DWBIS. Yet, there are continued cases of brazen manipulation, which is covered in every issue of Moneylife, under the ‘Unquoted’ section. You can check our unquoted section online here. Moneylife even had an exclusive cover story on the same which can be accessed here.

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COMMENTS

sathyacumaran

3 years ago

madam sucheta dalal thanks for inhuman service we are there to back you but since we belong international media and channel group and once if we put anything in black and white this would flare up and spoil the whole indian capital market and we as an journalist we have solid facts of corruption in sebi bse nse but this would affect the indian capital market as well as indian administrative that is reason why we just backing your organisation i myself is affected person but i can represent but this should not affect the indian economy and indian capital market and stock broking house how shri Chidambaram collapased all the NBFC where by name person in their mid forties have lost their jobs and their curse would sure affect the future prospectus of present finance minister similar situation should not happen that is reason why we are asking the ngo's like your organisation to fight and we would like to give the inputs you know our pen is mighter than sword but that as basis we should not spoil the indian capital market and make many upcoming and promising stock analyst career and existing dealer and relationship manager should not loose their jobs because of our writing hence we are hear to back you and by your fighting we are expecting some justice and some redressal for our problem please conisder our problem and fight for it madam we do appreciate your bold step in this venture

sathyacumaran

mm sundram

3 years ago

there is a department in SEBI called "Integrated Surveillance Depratment" in SEBI's administration in which the officials named as Shri Sujit Prasad, GM Shri Avarjeet Singh, DGM Shri Debashis Bandyopadhyay, DGM Shri Manoj Kumar, GM Shri Avneesh Pandey, GM Shri Manojan Karayi, DGM are working and it is shown by the SEBI itself in the volunatary Disclousre and in SEcond Appeal the Money life team can ask this questions as to why the FAA and CPIO from the sEBI denied the information and also ask the penalties (u/s 7(2), RTI Act 2005)with penal charges.

SuchindranathAiyerS

3 years ago

The PMO has nothing on coal allocation either. This beats having to burn the erchives

nagesh kini

3 years ago

Dubeyji should stop using words like 'cribbing' when he obviously doesn't know what they stand for.
On the contrary satyacumaran in his exhaustive mails has made a very convincing case.
That SEBI PIO has more to hide than disclose is apparent from their responses. In fact he failed to face the Money Life Team that sought a RTI Sec.4 on-site inspection, amply proves it!

nagesh kini

3 years ago

Dubeyji should stop using words like 'cribbing' when he obviously doesn't know what they stand for.
On the contrary satyacumaran in his exhaustive mails has made a very convincing case.
That SEBI PIO has more to hide than disclose is apparent from their responses. In fact he failed to face the Money Life Team that sought a RTI Sec.4 on-site inspection, amply proves it!

REPLY

uttamkumar dubey

In Reply to nagesh kini 3 years ago

thanks nagesh!Sorry for the wrong usage.

But I wanted to know where is the solution in such cases.How can smart and inttelligent ppl contribute instead of commenting onlne.

uttamkumar dubey

3 years ago

Now as the thing is known widely with sufficient proof, that this govt represents all sorts of inefficiency and corruptions, are we coming on roads to oppose them.

Can @Moneylife offer us opportunity to do something real instead of cribbing online.Cribbing is good if it reach to masses.

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to uttamkumar dubey 3 years ago

Sure Mr Dubey... we have set up Moneylife Foundation precisely to do something and we do!
You must join our efforts -- we have done more than other NGOs in 3 years of our existence. We can do more if we have serious volunteers and resources.

Why dont you come and volunteer at least? Most people who offered to volunteer, want to do seminars .... NOBODY wants to help us with REAL WORK. Drafting memorandum, out reach, getting new members, helping raise resources etc. That is the SLOG work that holds people back unless an entity has LOADED godfathers who offer support.

A clean, public spirited organisation can ONLY do more if people commit their time for it. That is how you can stop CRIBBING and JOIN us to do something . check http://foundation.moneylife.in
We would love to hear from you. You can write to us at [email protected] or to Debashis Basu at [email protected]

Mitranand Financial Services Pvt Ltd

3 years ago

Why are you complaining about 50 cr. Spending.... just look how much money they have made in passing consent order :)

Suresh C Ashawa

3 years ago

This shows how tax payers money is getting wasted by SEBI

sathyacumaran

3 years ago

we would like mention in sebi there is separate department for Integrated Market Surveillance System (IMSS) and Data Warehousing Business Intelligence System (DWBIS) and its headed by MR.Ramnns and what is work is he doing when he accepts that there is no intelligence survelliance and so long for past 25 years the sebi is running this department without any work aand aas citizen of india we consider the amount spent on the salary and other expenditure is collasal waste of govt exchequer without any work why should be an staff be paid when the survelliance department itself accepts they have not done their job this shows that none of the employees of sebi nse bse are doing their job and this gross loss to exchequer of govt of india when there is no survillance where is question of control other matter as such an citizen of india we consider the sebi nse bse are waste of govt money instead if the govt works out an mechanism where by honest and law abiding citizen justice lawyers and freedom fighters like Shri ANNA Hasara and Dr.Subramnaya swamy if the panel is appointed we as an citizen of india can expect some good governance and corruption in sebi bse nse and indian stock broker could be reduced and indian capital market can revive and indian investors could be saved from the clutches of the unscrupulous broking house looting thier hard earned money for which sebi nse bse are party to it as affected party of looting and not delivering justice i write this after reading this mail i expect some justice otherwise we have to take this episode to international platform to expose hpow indian capital market is functioning and how corrupt in indian financial service sector had to be exposed and how the indian stock brokers loot their client that is reason why citizen of india desist from entering into stock market they are prepared to play horse race and gambling which they knew it is game of chance but they donot want their hard earned money be looted by stock brokers and officials of sebi bse nse which as citizen of indian unable to digest and that is the reason why the indian stock masrket is in primitive stage now they are prepared to play in the international market where there is justice and goodwill and reward for their earning hence this appeal done as affeted and victimised citizen by sebi bse nse and indians tock broker
now only survelliance department had come out that they have not done their job in short we would prove that whole sebi nse bse had failed to discharge their duty this show how indian administration is functioning that to in the financial service sector where our Primeminister is very great economist and Finance Minister is Haward University MBA apart barrat Law his department itself is in such and bad shape we need not say other department as whole indian administration itself need flushing where honesty and integrity and accountability should be teached for which the rules and punishment should be severe and morale values should taught to govt employees and code of conduct should be implemented sorry to mention such strict and comment but this i am writing because i could vent my feelings and this would reach the ears of officials and chairman of sebi nse bse where from this platform i could get justice


sathyacumaran


sathya cumaran

REPLY

mm sundram

In Reply to sathyacumaran 3 years ago

very well said. this kind of spirit only needed now. keep it up sir we are with you in all/

gcmbinty

3 years ago

Also, please, seek information under RTI Act as to how much money of investor-consumers have been recovered, the manner in which used, how much money has been used in Investor Education and Awareness programmes as we the consumer-investor organisations are not satisfied with the way investors' money is being used.

Thanks,

G. C. Mathur

mm sundram

3 years ago

on Sun, Apr 17, 2011 at 9:01 AM i have sent complaint to sebi/mumbai on the price movements of INFOSYS to the following sebi officials referring the surveillance. their email ids [email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
shashi kumar ,
Avarjeet Singh ,
[email protected],
debashis ,
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected] for which no action still been taken by the SEBI. this is about the lapses of SEBI's own surveillances and i have specifically mentioned it in the above mail which can be proved. Even then, it is made by the AA of sebi that there is no information available. this a total callousness. i have to take up this with sebi.

REPLY

sathyacumaran

In Reply to mm sundram 3 years ago

this action of ineffeiceny in sebi nse bse should be taklen by ministry of finance and RBI but they never bother to take any action even if we bring this episode they pass on the bucks to sebi so indian financial service sector is full of corruption including the FM and PM

sathya cumaran

sathyacumaran

In Reply to mm sundram 3 years ago

even if you send all the 647 employees whose emailid available in sebi mailing list nobody would respond this show that the whole including the chairman is very much well aware of inefficency of his organisation inorder to get political milage the chairman promises all sorts of reforms measures but this would never been executed by the down below staff because after attaining the age of 58 they are supposed to retire during that time these officials because of non implementation of rules framed by the rules these officials would be re-employed in big stock broking house in the compliance team and they would be heftly rewarded because there collegue would have taken their shoes so as such all the rules and regualtions and acts passed by sebi nse bse are just an eye wash its is collasal wastage of govt exchequer this reason why former bse chairman Shri Madhu Kannan resigned because he passed an strict rules and this not implemented by the down below staff he got irritated and he thought he is just an puppet in the hands in bigh stock broking firms how our prime minister is honest puppet as per Dr.Subramanya swamy's version similar is the case of sebi chairman bse and nse chairman all these chairman are just rubber stamp without ink and there acts or rules would never been put in action by the down below staff this could be proved


sathyacumaran

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