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Much ado about nothing Little surplus after salaries, subsidies and debt servicing If not Tamil Nadu, where else? Trail-blazing Tamil Nadu Need plan over the long term planning A historic indirect tax reform Welcome move to widen the tax net… Make way for Make in India... A Fine division of responsibilities Policy Makers Reform this licence to…kill Cleansing Indian retail The deluge and the several kindly souls An eventful week with VVIPs of Delhi Miles to go... After all, customer is the king Rail-road Rajaraman Much can be done by us Welcome Measures. Work for 10X Change A blueprint for the future Sustainably developing manufacturing sector… Oh my GOLD Deming awardees galore! 1800 parties registered with EC – Less than 60 contest elections A gratifying record Well-administered State CSR, tech revolution and bank crisis Sowing seeds of hope South India’s 100 most valuable companies Land, land everywhere, but... Industry can’t get it from Mars, yet Chennai Airport-Ready for a rapid take off... In the horns of a dilemma Kudos to GIM organisers... Babes In the wood-RBI North block has little clue to curb inflation A tale of two Bihar babus When the examiner cheated... PC please be our Santa Ganesh’s mantras An eco-friendly commute in Mysuru Focus on southern TN... Truce at Kasturi Buildings Better relations with UK... BJP can now hasten its thrust for reforms A dual GST that will protect prosperous states What the big B should offer? Welcome rains for damaged roads... Babes In the wood-RBI North block has little clue to curb inflation No groundnuts in groundnut oil! Pool energy prices The Great Fall You too T M Krishna? Weaving wealth of western Tamil Nadu Jobs - Lost, Changed or Gained CAD and the emergency thereof Star of the South Sardar Sarovar – the seventy year itch Tax evaders’ get out of Jail-Free Card They add lustre to Padma Awards TN - so much to offer... It’s raining funds for states. Really? Technology and economic development should be linked Outward ho Low profile moves Indian GST – Between extremes… Why throw baby with bath water? Public investments and welfare will surge MS Installed Tryst with GST Why (not) abolish? Healthy finances of the Chennai Corporation Research for survival... Two welcome measures from the chief minister... Focus on agriculture and human resources Economy through the month Breaking news or breaking credibility? Skewed Economic Zones? Strategic planning the missing link INDIA keeps its date with destiny Need for radical RBI reform How will it PAN OUT Wanted: decentralised financial system
 
Much can be done by us
Policymakers in Delhi, including the Finance Minister, often point to global conditions as responsible for much of the ills faced by the country. But we believe that India can do a lot on her own to improve matters. Solutions for India’s problems should not be dependent on the pronouncements of the

We believe much can be done to attend to these factors through decisive, strong and intelligent action. We explain how:

Take CAD. This is caused by runaway increase in imports without a corresponding increase in exports. In regard to imports, major items include crude oil and other petroleum products including gas, followed by gold. Surprisingly, there is also substantial outgo on import of several things which, with some focus, can be avoided eg. import of edible oils, pulses, power plant equipment and the like. A firm policy can certainly help reduce substantially the outgo on these imports. We will explain some of these areas.

How US reduces crude imports...

Crude and other petroleum product imports have been ballooning. With nearly 80 per cent of demand met through imports at

present, India has little option in this area and secondly, with crude prices shooting up, the outgo on petroleum product imports has also been increasing rapidly. The United States provides a shining example of tackling this with firm policy initiatives. Hardly a decade ago, the US was heavily dependant on the Gulf countries, notably Saudi Arabia, for the import of crude oil. A conscious decision was made to reduce this and also march towards self-sufficiency. US, being the largest consumer of petroleum products, naturally had to tackle this on an urgent basis. How effectively the country has done this !

Firstly, the country decided to focus on the manufacture of ethanol from corn. Today, nearly half of US corn production is diverted for producing ethanol and this has a twin advantage: apart from ensuring a degree of import substitution, this also helped revive the agriculture sector languishing for long. This has given a big boost to corn growers in mid-west US. Several states have also made it mandatory to use ethanol as part of fuel bought at the petrol pumps.

Simultaneously, US also looked at the prospects for tapping shale gas, ie. natural gas imprisoned in shales in huge quantities. Tapping this earlier was not found economical when crude prices were low. But with crude prices shooting up, investment on this technology was found attractive. Today, shale gas production has shot up to dizzy levels and this helps US accelerate its march towards self sufficiency. In fact, there are optimistic estimates that over the next 5-7 years, US’ dependence on imports of energy in the form of crude and other petroleum products would almost grind to zero. This makes tremendous sense for a country so heavily dependant on such imports for so long. Remember, hardly four decades ago, crude was available for as low as a dollar per barrel and it has experienced a more than 100’ fold increase since!

Simultaneously, US has also been mandating improved fuel efficiency in automobiles. Since the first oil crisis in 1973, such efficiency improvements have been huge. In the aftermath of the first oil shock in the 1970s, US mandated its auto manufacturers to work on 25 miles per gallon(3.8 litres); it was achieved in quick time. Now it is driving towards 55 miles per gallon(over 20 km/litre). Contrast this with the abysmal 7km/litre by even highly branded cars in city roads. Plus the work done on hybrid engines that run on batteries plus petrol. Already Toyota’s Prius car, for instance, gives as much as 50 miles plus per gallon (3.8 litres in US), 24km/litre-much more than thrice the fuel consumption by petrol-driven compact cars in urban India.

India has a strong lesson in these successes. There was a big spurt in crude production after the discovery of oil in the Bombay High in the 1970s. For over three decades now, there has been little growth in the domestic production of crude oil. The country did experience a good deal of progress in regard to the discovery of natural gas, especially over the last 5-6 years. The policy of providing suitable incentives in the early part of this century did attract investors to explore and exploit the gas reserves.

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