Why Must Corporates & Govt have acrimonious relations?
FOR WEALTH CREATION, PRIVATE & PUBLIC INVESTMENTS ARE EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE. PRIVATE INVESTMENT HAS A BIG ROLE IN ENERGY SECURITY. RELATIONSHIP IS BETTER WHEN IT’S BASED ON POLICIES, DISCRETION IS REDUCED, DECISION MAKING IN ISOLATION IS ENDED
The private sector has a major role in India's energy security and there is no reason for any bitterness between the government and energy companies, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan says. This should cheer the corporate sector as Reliance Industries and Cairn India, which made India's biggest hydrocarbon discoveries in decades, have had bitter disputes with the oil ministry. In an interview, Pradhan also said ONGC needs serious handholding for a facelift and talked about plans to rapidly industrialise eastern India with the help of gas supply. Edited excerpts:
WHAT WILL BE THE POLICY INITIATIVES IN THE SECOND HALF OF YOUR TENURE. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO IMPLEMENT MAJOR POLICIES LAUNCHED SO FAR?
In the past two-and-a-half years, we brought in several reforms that helped bring certainty, transparency, and clarity in policy. Some have already been implemented. We deregulated the market (diesel sales), which had an immediate impact. We implemented Direct Benefit Transfer. We also saved money due to lower oil prices, which we also quickly started redistributing through Ujjwala scheme. We have given a budgetary grant of . 5,000 crore for gas pipeline this year.` Therefore, some reforms started showing immediate impact. Some other reforms would have an impact in the medium and long term. By bringing in assured price mechanism, the procurement of ethanol has increased. In the next two and a half years, our primary priority would be to implement all targets that we have set, all policy reforms that we have undertaken so far. We got a legacy of a complete mess in energy.
GLOBAL OIL PRICES HAVE CRASHED, WHILE THE INDIAN ECONOMY AND OIL DEMAND IS GROWING FAST. HOW HAS THIS CHANGED OUR EQUATION WITH THE WORLD?
I don't believe in the theory of price crash. Prices actually got reasonable. No one knew why it was so high. And in India, as things started improving, it became the No. 3 consuming country from No. 4. We have set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy. Has any country done this? We did it. On the whole, for the socio-economic transformation of the country, the prime minister's philosophy of
if there is any sector that has dealt with it on a war footing, it is the energy sector.
LEGAL CASES WITH RELIANCE AND CAIRN ARE ON WAY TO GETTING RESOLVED. HAVE WE PUT BEHIND THE ACRIMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND COMPANIES?
Why should there be an acrimonious relationship between corporate and government? They are equal partners of this growth story. For wealth creation, private investment and public investment are equally responsible. In India, private investment has a big role for energy security. The relationship is better when it is based on policies, when discretion is reduced and decision making in isolation is ended.
WHAT'S THE FEEDBACK FROM INTERNATIONAL FIRMS SUCH AS ROSNEFT, EXXON?
In the recent past, the biggest energy deal in the world -of about $18 billion-was signed between India and Rosneft. We have invested $5.5 bilion in Russia, and they have invested about $13 billion in India .
SOME ANALYSTS ARE SAYING THAT BY INVESTING SO MUCH IN RUSSIA, WE ARE RISKING OURSELVES, AND WE MUST LOOK FOR GOOD ASSETS OUTSIDE RUSSIA?
DHARMENDRA PRADHAN, OIL MINISTER