KG-D6 output this week has dropped to below 30 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) and is projected to further fall to 20 mmscmd by next year and both RIL and BP said it will continue to fall in absence of interventions
New Delhi: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its British partner BP Plc have warned that their eastern offshore KG-D6 gas fields will stop producing in 2015 unless the government approves investments needed to keep the nation's largest gas fields alive, reports PTI.
Last week, PMS Prasad, executive director of RIL and BP India head Sashi Mukundan met Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy for nearly three and half hours to highlight the exigency facing the flagging KG-D6 fields due to his ministry not approving annual budgets and capital spending for three years, sources said.
At the meeting, which was also attended by GC Chaturvedi-Oil Secretary, Giridhar Aramane- Joint Secretary (Exploration) and Rajiv Nayan Choubey-Director General, Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH), both the companies said output at KG-D6 will continue to fall in absence of interventions.
KG-D6 output this week has dropped to below 30 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) and is projected to further fall to 20 mmscmd by next year.
Gas output dip, from 61.5 mmscmd achieved in March 2010 has pulled down power generation and industrial production.
Sources said while the oil ministry-controlled block oversight committee is supposed to approve spending before beginning of a fiscal, in case of KG-D6, budgets and work programmes for 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 have not been approved.
Besides budgets, the management committee (MC), which is headed by DGH and includes a senior official of the oil ministry, has not approved revised field development plan for MA oilfield in the same Krishna Godavari basin KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block in Bay of Bengal.
Also, the MC has refused to recognise at least three gas discoveries in the block, impeding preparation of a field development plan to bring them to production.
While MC is supposed to meet at least once a quarter, RIL-BP's request for convening meeting of the panel has not even been acknowledged on past six-seven occasions.
Sources said RIL-BP told Reddy that well interventions at the currently producing Dhirubhai-1 & 3 fields and MA oilfield can potentially add 0.8 trillion cubic feet if a capital expenditure of $543 million for 2012-13 is approved.
Listing six interventions they had planned in the KG-D6 to arrest output decline, RIL-BP said these were "critical to the maintenance of production at the current levels" but have so far not been approved by the block Management Committee.
RIL-BP, Prasad and Mukundan said, had been conducting petroleum operations and incurring contract costs without an approved work programme and budget since 1 April 2011.
Neither Reddy nor his team however gave any commitments on requests made by RIL-BP.
While much has been mentioned globally with reference to retail MFIs, the time has now come to apply the same yardstick to MIVs and all other stakeholders who invest in microfinance
And if you look at the luminis database (https://www.luminismicrofinance.com) – which is a good start to having publicly available information on MIVs, the pressure to invest may have been huge for responsAbility as shown in Exhibit # 2 (sourced from luminis database at https://www.luminismicrofinance.com)
Much of the same argument goes for the Dexia Micro-Credit Fund (Blue Orchard Finance) which is another large LuxFlag labeled MIV. Apart LAPO, Blue Orchard invested in MFIs like Sahayata Micro-Finance in India, whose operations did come under a cloud, especially after the 2010 Indian micro-finance crisis. Please see previous Moneylife articles in this regard (i) Award winning Sahayata Microfinance is the latest to go astray; and (ii) What is said at conferences is very different from what is implemented in practice
Dexia Micro-Credit Fund (BlueOrchard Finance)
Source: CGAP Microfinance Dealbook Quarterly Review - Third Quarter 2009, Page No. 3, www.microcapital.org/downloads/Dealbook/Dealbook_3Q2009.pdf
Blue Orchard’s other investments in India are also of questionable nature, became they were made in MFI(s) that were directly linked to the irresponsible and phenomenally high portfolio growth that caused the 2010 Andhra Pradesh (AP) micro-finance crisis in the first place. Therefore, it appears that investments decisions of MIVs (like responsAbility and Blue Orchard) need not necessarily be aligned to grass-root reality.
That is a very critical point that needs emphasis and it certainly deserves attention of key stakeholders in the global micro-finance value chain – so that MIVs acquire the governance, systems and management necessary to protect their primary their primary investors. Some may argue that LuxFlag’s attempt to certify MIVs is a step in that direction. Probably yes but a lot more needs to happen on the ground. And indeed, if the LuxFLAG label is to be taken more seriously, we also need transparent and accountable information with regard to the entire process of certification – so that we can judge for ourselves the quality of due diligence applied prior to certification, information so collected and so on.
Fiends, in short, for me, Hugh Sinclair’s book was indeed a revelation about how MIVs operate in the international supply chain of delivering financial services to low income people. And after reading the book, I am searching for answers to questions (not limited to but) such as the following:
a) How do MIVs make investment decisions? What systems do they have to ensure that the pressure to lend/invest does NOT result in poor investment? Should not MIVs have minimum governance standards and internal audit requirements just as RETAIL MFIs do? (Please see previous Moneylife articles (i) How to make the boards of large NBFC MFIs implement corporate governance norms in practice? (Part I); (ii) Corporate governance: What boards of large NBFC MFIs can do on the ground? (Part II) and (iii) Independent internal audit is the key to implementing responsible microfinance in MFIs)
b) How do MIVs protect the overall interest of their primary investors? What systems do they have to ensure this in real time? What else may be necessary given the experiences narrated in the LAPO case?
c) What standards of governance, transparency and reporting are MIVs currently subject to? Who sets these standards and who enforces them? How adequate are these?
d) Given the huge diversity in legal form, location (of incorporation), products, what can be said about the regulation and supervision of MIVs in an overall sense? And specifically, who regulates these MIVs? Who supervises them? What is the role of central banks in all of this? And does this regulation/supervision afford any protection to the primary investors in these MIVs?
e) Last but not the least comes the questions of whether there is any regulatory arbitrage? That is a very key issue indeed and will be dealt with in a separate article.
I do hope that bodies like CGAP in the global micro-finance industry play a constructive role in looking at issues such as the above and facilitating the necessary changes on the ground. And if that happens, I am sure that Hugh Sinclair’s book would have made a significant difference to the practice of micro-finance globally.
[i] “MIVs, also known as microfinance funds, are entities that invest in MFIs. For a fund to qualify as an MIV, it must meet the following criteria: (i) The investment vehicle must be an independent legal entity (i.e. independent of the MFI being funded); (ii) Multiple private investors must be present, or the vehicle must be open to such investors; and (iii) The investment vehicle must focus on investing in microfinance” (Source: http://www.microrate.com/)
[ii] Disclosure statement: PlaNis and Planet Rating are two distinct legal entities, operating in a strictly independent manner. Planet Rating does not disclose to PlaNet Finance any information that is not publicly available to all other investors or fund providers. Planet Rating’s internal Rating Committee is fully independent, private, and confidential.
The government is so obsessed with the GDP growth that it does not see or tend to overlook the fault lines in economic management. It is only when these basic economic frailties are dealt with India’s economy would be on an upswing in the true sense
High economic growth rate seems to have become an obsession today, especially with the two Asian economic growth competitors—India and China. They appear convinced that their global image hinges on this figure, and become nervous whenever it drops. The fact that the source of this growth, which primarily benefits just a small percentage of their population, doesn’t seem to bother them. At least in India, we see no serious planning in our economic policies to ensure its beneficial spread within the entire society. Both the governments indeed seem to be aware of its need, since their political leadership often talks of an “inclusive growth” or a “harmonious life”. So far, it has been mere lip service.
While China faces its own challenges, it seems to be doing better in this respect by being more consistent and focussed in its growth plan. India, however, is a cause for worry to some of us. According to economists, currently over 75% of the GDP (gross domestic product) growth in India largely comes from the economic growth of only 25% of its population. Regretfully, the impact of this growth has not significantly changed rural and urban poverty. It is glaringly evident as one moves around in our cities and towns where unemployment and under-employment is rising. The gains are limited to big businesses, politicians, builders, the elite and the educated middle class. One must add to this beneficiary list the corrupt amongst the government servants and politicians of all hues. Drop in growth therefore hurts these people and their riches more than the rest of the country. Business houses then start cribbing and chasing the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), demanding reduction in interest rates, while other beneficiaries complain of lack of growth and accuse the government of being comatose. The rest of the population suffers on account of inflation and rising prices, with little growth in their earnings.
A GDP growth of 6.9% growth, as a figure, is indeed not bad. The problem relates to inequitable spread of GDP, not reaching 75% majority of our people. Actually, 6.9% GDP is quite good, considering that most of the nations in the developed world today are getting closer to their economic dead end.
The real concern for many of us is the lack of responsiveness of those in power. Over 50% of India suffers from low productivity due to poor quality or lack of infrastructure. According to available data, over a third of our population has no electricity at all, and a further 40% suffer from long blackouts and wide voltage swings. This alone hugely hurts our national productivity. Year after year, we just drag along and refuse to take bold decisions to correct the direction of our growth even at the risk of temporary slowdown. No one in power seems to be worried that most of the people in the country still languish in a no-development zone. The solution, the government seems to believe, lies in giving subsidy. It is considered by those in power that this is politically rewarding. Doling out subsidies is indeed no solution. With this, we only add insult to injury by making the poor look like beggars. Instead, planners should work on schemes that would create jobs for the unskilled, poorly educated people and allow them to live with dignity. All this labour would then create wealth, in howsoever small proportions. A good portion of the economic growth should come from growth in productivity and earnings of the masses, to ensure that the government does not play a donor, a kind of benevolent philanthropist. Government programs should be designed to ensure this happens.
Agriculture and manufacturing sectors ignored
Scepticism abounds regarding our planners’ approach since, for more than a decade and half now, growth is attributed to income generated from the services sector. The two most important sectors of economy—agriculture and manufacturing—appear to be totally neglected since the last several decades. Both have been consistently performing poorly. Actually, both these neglected sectors generate real wealth by adding value in the form of skilled and manual labour. Most of the employment generation for the unskilled and less educated, happens only in these two sectors. They are known to create large scale employment as has happened in China, which created over 200 million jobs in its manufacturing sector. Jobs generated by the services sector on the other hand, are jobs for the educated and the skilled. Growth in trade and services benefits just this class. These sectors, however, do not make use of material resources, and add value by processing them. Therefore the profits in the service sector are limited to commercial monetary gains by companies involved in providing services.
The proportion of growth due to manufacturing output of the country is also grossly over- stated today. The officially stated manufacturing growth figures are highly misleading, since a very large number of manufacturing companies with reputed brand names have sharply cut down on their domestic production and are instead outsourcing their products to China and other low-cost nations. Markets are full of such products imported under Indian brand names. All such imported products get reported as India’s manufacturing output since they are sold by formerly manufacturing companies! Local value addition is merely the commercial margin, and there is no value addition by local work force. So the government GDP figures on account of manufacturing sector are over-stated whereas actually there is a sharp decline in manufacturing. Local industrial activities have almost come to a standstill and factories are closing down. As one can see, several hundred factories are now being converted into malls and residential complexes for the educated middle-class prospering on services growth in IT, hospitality, healthcare, retailing, etc.
The Indian IT and telecom sectors are growing, but almost 100% of hardware worth trillions of dollars is imported by the companies belonging to these sectors. Neither shows any willingness to invest in manufacturing at least what they need in large volumes. The cellular phone population has grown to 700 million, but not even half a percent of these are made in the country. It is however, an amazing gadget that has added tremendously to the productivity and safety of our poor people. It has improved the earnings of those in community services all over the country. But indeed, this has not happened due to any planned action by the rulers. Construction business is also flourishing. But here too, construction material is being imported in huge volumes. One, however, finds that the rapid growth in the real estate business has helped millions of artisans to earn handsomely, increasing their income manifold during the last decade. Fortunately, such field jobs cannot be outsourced. If this was possible, the Chinese would be building our apartment complexes as they do in Africa! Development of Bihar and Gujarat has taken away the labour force from our metros like Mumbai in the recent months. Today, it has created a serious labour shortage in Mumbai. Local Marathi youth consider these jobs below their dignity and prefer to work as government or municipal servants, which provide good income without working hard and putting in long hours. Carpentry work worth hundreds of crores of rupees is carried out each day in Mumbai, but not even a percent of the carpenters are Maharashtrians.
It is a sad truth that during the last decade, growth in services has not taken the country to where our economist prime minister has been promising. But there is yet another “service industry” that is making people very prosperous. One of the most profitable services today is government service, especially the jobs where government interfaces with the people. India now has hundreds of thousands of “black millionaires” amongst our government employees. Actually, some of them can indeed be listed as “black billionaires”! Unfortunately for them, they do not make it to the Forbes list of billionaires. Just recently, a government babu from Mumbai Municipal Corporation was found to have black wealth of over a billion! These corrupt men have a large spending capacity. And they do spend a lot, since it is risky to lodge such ‘earnings’ in cash. In this context, a list of gold and jewellery buyers would be interesting to look at. Yet another neo-wealthy community with foul earnings are the politicians of all hues. They are the new powerful rich class in our society. From Delhi to Gully, they are widely spread. All these men and women indirectly add a lot to our GDP growth.
There are other aspects of the recently released growth projections by the government that should make us worry. It is projected that the “agriculture, forestry and fishing” sector will record growth of just 2.5% of the GDP during 2011-12, as against the previous year’s growth rate of 7%. This will take us further away from the “inclusive development” of the country that our prime minister often whispers about. Agricultural production is indeed our manufacturing output. It creates some real wealth by using ‘free’ natural resources and a lot of human labour and personal care in ‘nursing’ the product for quality assurance. As I said earlier, those manufacturing products of a wide variety in factories and by the farmers create ‘real’ wealth by adding value using human skill and labour. Both produce essential products from raw materials with very high value addition. Wealth generated in these sectors due to sustained growth also spreads widely, since it uses in its production process a large number of unskilled labourers as well as those without formal education. Growth in these two sectors alone would therefore help us in achieving inclusive growth.
During the last 20 years, the employment generation potential of the organized sector has been waning, thereby moving jobs into the unorganized sector. Manufacturing jobs are going to the Chinese and other Asians. This in turn has led to the lack of decent jobs and other related issues. The growing unorganized sector has today become a source that is further adding to income inequalities in the country. Everywhere, a large majority of people are under-employed.
Another problem with agricultural output is that it does not register a dip just with respect to the previous year. This can happen, since the sector depends on the vagaries of the monsoon. The real issue, however, is the lack of perceptible increase in average annual growth over a long period of the last two decades. Since the 1991 reforms, the agricultural sector has been languishing. Actually, it is stuck in the 2% plus range since Independence.
In real terms, Indian manufacturing too has actually declined over this period. Just walk though the bazaars and markets to realise the huge growth in import content in all types of consumables and consumer durables. A large percentage of what our retailers offer is imported; including fruits and festival goodies. During the 1995 -2005 decade, according to the RBI report, blue-collared jobs in the organised sector in India declined! During the same decade, China created 72 million new factory jobs in their manufacturing sector, mainly for their unemployed rural youth. The problem is not the lack of enterprise amongst our people, but the complete mismanagement in handling the manufacturing sector. A researcher told me the other day that there are 65 laws that are used by the government to make manufacturing unattractive. Any manufacturer in India will tell you that managing a manufacturing enterprise can be a nightmare. After managing a manufacturing business in the high technology sector for over 50 years, I can personally vouch that government officials monitor factories primarily to collect bribes. In my case, due to my shadow power, demanding bribes was considered risky, so they just harassed my staff for sadistic pleasure.
Many who started manufacturing industries, have either opted out, or were wiped out by government servants. Those who are surviving are mostly partners in crime, albeit with reluctance or helplessness. Some very fundamental errors in handling the manufacturing sector have been committed by successive governments at the Centre. Undoing these will need a strong government. It is unlikely that we will see such a government during this decade. Just last week, the government announced developing new modern industrial zones to boost manufacturing. Will this help growth in manufacturing? Has it ever helped? Why not look at the fate of the SEZs (special economic zones) licensed by this government to business groups by acquiring land from the farmers just five years ago? Have our exports grown? Why not look at the fate of thousands of industrial estates built during the 70s and 80s and their pathetic condition today? Haven’t we learnt anything at all? This is no way of encouraging the manufacturing sector! It helps real estate guys and of course the babus and politicians involved as happened in case of SEZ fiasco.
Let us look at what kind of manufacturing industries have prospered in India. Since public health is poorly managed and pollution is on the rise, many more people fall sick today than in the past. Especially in urban India, poor sanitation and unhygeinic public places have spread ill health. Overindulgence of the greedy neo-rich has added greatly to ill health due to psudo-western lifestyle. As a result, medical practitioners, hospitals and the drug industry seem to be doing very well. The auto industry too seems to be doing well, even though soon there may be no roads to drive on! Growth of the IT and financial services sector as well as increase in the number of “black millionaires” in politics and government service has created large demand for automobiles. Since foreign automobile manufacturers find it cheaper to make auto parts and assemble autos within the country, the automobile sector too is doing well.
Prime movers in the services sector are software services, hospitality, media and entertainment services. The educated and talented poor people have benefited a great deal on this account, sharing the benefits of national economic growth. As said earlier, corruption has made hundreds of thousands of government servants and petty local politicians black millionaires. This is also a kind of service sector. They are also a part of the society that benefitted from our current economic growth. Infrastructure and housing construction industry may have given poor quality infrastructure like roads and bridges to the people of India, but the high manipulated cost of these projects has benefitted both the builders and the related government officials, making them very rich.
Some states like Gujarat and Bihar have proved that with effective planning, agricultural growth can be as high as 10% or more. Instead, the central government tends to play down this aspect of the growth scenario. It has claimed that a high GDP growth of 8%-9% will have a dynamic spread including agriculture. It fuelled hopes for a 4% or more rate of growth in this sector. Nothing of the kind happened. Agriculture as a sector is still in doldrums.
Another serious concern about agriculture arises due to its spread over different crops. Low rate of growth has been sustained all these years because, while the specific categories of crops like fruits, vegetables and oilseeds have registered relatively large growth, the production of coarse grains and pulses has grown very marginally, if at all. Therefore even the low growth figures are misleading. Look at our import statistics for agro products to know the truth.
The post-91 reform period has turned the country’s economy dynamics as is seen in the impressive GDP growth figures. So much is the hype created around it by global economists that it has helped hiding the dangerous weak links. Across the Himalayas, one sees the opposite. We continue to neglect agriculture as well as manufacturing, while China has built an admirably strong economy by focussing sharply on manufacturing exports and investments in agriculture with the use of technology and mechanisation using local skills. By neglecting these two, we have made a silent crisis that would become progressively difficult to deal with; especially with poor governance and lack of leadership. Public investment in agriculture has been in long-term decline. Agricultural research, which served India well during the Green Revolution years, has been given inadequate attention and resources. Add to this, foreign trade reforms leading to an ever-growing import bill and poor export growth, and the situation gets seemingly hopeless.
There is yet another myth. The government claims self-sufficiency in foodgrain and thereby tries to hide a food crisis that the country is experiencing. The per capita availability of food in a country, where a large section of the population is below the level of nutritional adequacy, has been low and declining. This did not appear to be much of a problem because low incomes and purchasing power among a significant section of the population kept demand in check. But with low levels of per capita availability persisting even as the indirect demand for grain on the part of the well-to-do has increased, food prices are finally turning buoyant in India, squeezing the poor even further. Farmers may not be benefiting from remunerative prices, but consumers have to pay more.
It is clear that the Indian economy is in the midst of a crisis. This crisis is different from the drop in our GDP growth. It relates to defective planning and the neglect of real wealth creating sectors like the agriculture and manufacturing. China's economic miracle, on the other hand, is solely dependent on its planned focus on these two sectors. In both these sectors today, China is experiencing vertical growth and investing in technology development and their own products. Even in the IT sector, China is far ahead of India if we take into consideration the output of the hardware and the software together. Domestic consumption of IT software in China today is 20 times higher than that in our country. It is surprising then that the central government and its economic experts are so obsessed with our GDP growth that they do not see or tend to overlook these important fault lines in economic management. It is only when these basic economic frailties are dealt with effectively, that our country’s economy would be on an upswing in the true sense.
(PS Deodhar is founder and former chairman of the Aplab Group of companies. He is also the former chairman of the Electronics Commission of the Government of India and was an advisor to late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on electronics. He also was the chairman of the Broadcast Council in 1992-93 that set in motion the privatisation of the electronic media with metro channels.)