ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Paranjoy Guha ThakurtaSubscribe to Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

How Over-Invoicing of Imported Coal has Increased Power Tariffs

Forty of India's biggest energy companies are being investigated by a wing of the Union Ministry of Finance for over-invoicing of imported coal. The artificially higher prices of coal have been passed on to electricity consumers across the country. The scam is conservatively estimated by government officials at no less than Rs 29,000 crore, a third of which is in the form of higher power tariffs. Big names from the corporate sector, notably the Adani group and ADAG, are being probed for their alleged involvement in the scandal. An exclusive report.

Great Indian Gas Robbery

An independent consultant in an interim report has upheld the contention of the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation that gas from one of its undersea wells in the Krishna-Godavari basin was consciously and systematically pilfered by a company controlled by Reliance Industries. Why did the Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons allow this to happen and why did the Government of India not protect the interests of a premier public sector undertaking?

The Business of Politics

A heady cocktail of politics, business emerges from the developments relating to one of India's biggest media conglomerates, the Chennai-based Sun group. The actions of different wings of the union government against Sun's owners, the politically influential Maran brothers, have raised a number of questions relating to allegations of breaking rules, taking advantage of proximity to power, economic offences and freedom of expression. These issues have, in turn, become embroiled in factional politics within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in New Delhi and in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Chennai, which is currently out of power both in the centre and in Tamil Nadu.

Greenpeace Ban: Violation of Rights

(The following are extracts from an open letter sent to the Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh, protesting against the decision to freeze Greenpeace India’s accounts.) The move by the central government to freeze Greenpeace India’s bank accounts and block sources of funds, is a blatant...

Trading Places

Media professionals have an important responsibility to society since they are in a position to mould public opinion. But the recent exposures of journalists taking favours from corporate groups have only highlighted once again an old phenomenon in India--codes of conduct are observed in their breach and Chinese walls are usually non-existent in media organisations. Since the 1980s, groups of journalists have tried to straddle the worlds of the media, business and politics, and in the process have damaged the functioning of democracy in the country.

Polyester Prince Revisited

The polyester wars of the mid-1980s that pitted one industry group against another are back with us. On the basis of an investigation begun by the United Progressive Alliance government, the National Democratic Alliance government has imposed an anti-dumping duty on purifi ed terephthalic acid, an important input for production of many polyester products. The user companies argue that there is no evidence of dumping of imports and allege that the duty has been imposed to benefit domestic producers of PTA, of which there are only three and of whom the public sector producer has not complained of dumping.

What Future for the Media in India?

India's largest company now controls India's largest media conglomerate. The country's media could therefore well be perceived henceforth to be a little less independent or, for that matter, trustworthy.

What Future for the Media in India?

India’s largest company now controls India’s largest media conglomerate. India’s media could therefore well be perceived to henceforth be a little less independent or, for that matter, trustworthy.

How Reliance's Options on Natural Gas Price Hike Narrowed

A clutch of public interest petitions and legal entanglements between Reliance Industries and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on the pricing of natural gas and other issues are now before the Supreme Court.A record and discussion of the many legal cases in a battle that is going to be a protracted one.

Curbing Media Monopolies

Will restrictions on cross-media ownership impinge on freedom of expression or will the absence of rules stifle plurality and dissent? The debate on this issue continues even as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommends legal restrictions on corporate conglomerates owning media.

TRAI Recommendations

Commotion and confusion prevails over the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations on spectrum pricing and refarming. The industry is split over the suggestions relating to valuation and allocation of electro-magnetic spectrum which follow the 2 February order of the Supreme Court cancelling the 122 licences that were issued in an illegal manner from 2007-08 onwards. The government is under pressure from lobbies to dilute TRAI's recommendations and the regulatory body too has complicated matters. In the end, will the consumer end up as the biggest loser?

Corporatisation of the Media

The entry of Reliance Industries, India's largest corporate entity in the private sector, into the country's media industry in a major way with strategic associations with the Network18 group and the Eenadu group, has been perceived as an instance of consolidation in a sector in which big players have been steeped in debt and strapped for cash over the past few years. What the formation of the new media conglomerate (arguably one of the largest, if not the largest, in India) in the shake-out also signifies is growing concentration of ownership in an oligopolistic market that could lead to loss of media heterogeneity and plurality.

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