Saturday, June 27, 2020


Many Public Information Officers are on the misconception and very wrong premise that they can delay for 30 days furnishing of information sought under the Right to Information Act.

Section 7 of the RTI Act mandates that the Public Information Officer on receipt of a request shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request shall provide the information.  

So the intent of the law was to furnish information available expeditiously. That outer limit of 30 days is if information has to be sourced from other departments or if it is voluminous and has to be collated.


So every Public Information Officer trying to drag on till the 30th day to comply with the mandatory duty is acting in breach of  law and the very intent of the RTI Act which was enacted to ensure transparency and accountability in the functioning of any department.

The RTI Act has been hailed as the hallmark of our democracy. The Act aims at making the government transparent and more accountable. The effective use of it would, in the long run, curbs corruption. It has become a powerful tool in exposing corruption at top places in the government.

The basic object of the Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, to contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in a real sense.  It goes without saying that an informed citizen is better equipped to deal with issues and play a role in the affairs of the state and country. 

The 37th President of the United States of America Mr. Richard Nixon had in 1972 very rightly said "When information which properly belongs to the public is systematically withheld by those in power, the people soon become ignorant of their own affairs, distrustful of those who manage them, and - eventually - incapable of determining their own destinies."

Aires Rodrigues

Advocate High Court

C/G-2, Shopping Complex

Ribandar Retreat,

Ribandar – Goa – 403006

Mobile No: 9822684372

Office Tel  No: (0832) 2444012




You can also reach me on AiresRodrigues


Wednesday, June 24, 2020



India Against Corruption



                                                        WHY RELIANCE INDUSTRIES  SHIFTING FOCUS AWAY FROM   INDIAN  PETROCHEMICAL SECTOR ?

Reliance Industries Ltd. (R I L) , a large Indian company ,  has expanded  and grown in a spectacular manner   during the last few  decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed  before.

R I L is now involved in multi various activities relating to  petroleum refineries, petrochemicals , , oil and gas exploration,  coal bed methane, life sciences,  retail business, communication network,  ( Jio platform)  media/entertainment  etc. While these activities may look unrelated for an observer,  Mukesh Ambani , the chief architect of RIL seems to  view them as related activities, as all of them have money making potentials.

Recently, Mukesh Ambani has gone for diversification projects in consumer sector .

RIL's  performance in refinery, petrochemical and oil & gas exploration sector :  :         





F Y -16


F Y – 17


F Y – 18


F Y - 19

Refining crude throughput (Million tonne)









Petchem production (Million tonne)









Crude oil production (kbpd)









Natural gas production (mmscmd)









U S shale gas production (bcfe)










The above figures indicate that the performance of refinery and petrochemical sector in the past have been steady and the trend is likely to continue in the coming years .

However, in the oil and gas exploration sector , the performance trend of RIL over the years has not been impressive and are unlikely to improve in the coming years.

The shale Gas production in the shale wells in U S A belonging to RIL have also not been showing impressive performance over the years.

Performance of RIL  in oil & gas exploration sector :

Even while acknowledging and applauding  the extraordinary performance of R I L in  refinery and petrochemical sector,  not all activities of R I L in different sector have proved successful to the same extent , like it's achievements in refinery and petrochemical sector.  Glaring example is  R I L's Krishna Godavari  gas exploration project.

R I L  has so far made around ten gas discoveries in Krishna Godavari basin. Of this, D1 and D3  Gas wells in the KG D6 block. are the largest. The output of D1 and D3 has fallen sharply from 54 million standard cubic metre per day in March,2010 to 1.76 million standard cubic metre per day in April to June,2019 and now in Februaruy,2020, it has ceased to produce gas. Several wells have been closed by R I L

Still, R I L  claims that new wells are being developed, which does not give confidence, when seen in the context of the past performance in Krishna Godavari basin.

As a matter of fact,  Krishna  Godavari gas exploration project became controversial  . It has been  alleged  in the audit reports released by Auditor General of India and other agencies  that when awarding gas contract to RIL ,the pre-qualification norms were diluted by the then Government of India  to ensure that RIL would get  qualified. It has been further  alleged  that the claimed size of gas  discoveries , the field development  plans and the investment outlays proposed escaped rirgorous due diligence.

Since the commitment of RIL on gas output  was not achieved , Government of India slapped around  3 billion USD as penalty.  RIL blamed the un anticipated sand and water ingress  as the reason for shutting down the well. RIL estimates liability of around Rs.3000 crore only in this  nine year old dispute with Government of India.  The arbitration is now on.

Leaning towards consumer sector :

As per the annual report of  F Y 2018-19, the  turnover of R I L  was  around Rs.6.22 lakh crore.

Of this, the refinery and petrochemical sector contributed around 58% of the revenue . The consumer sector namely retail business and communication network (digital) contributed around  40%, whereas other activities such as oil and gas exploration, media/entertainment contributed just around  2% of the annual turnover.

The share of consumer sector in the turn over has been steadily increasing and is likely to increase further in the coming years , that would bring down the share of refinery and petrochemical sector in the overall revenue of RIL.

Reducing net debt not by greater profit but by  equity sale !

Recently, Facebook has signed a binding agreement to infuse Rs436bn in Jio Platform, which will give it a 9.99% stake.

A commercial partnership has also been signed with Facebook-owned Whatsapp, which will further accelerate JioMart - the upcoming O2O offering of Reliance Retail , whereby Whatsapp will be used to provide solution to  small merchants and also raise convenience and reach of consumers.

This along with the closure of Rs70bn stake sale to BP in the oil marketing JV should imply cash infusion of over Rs500bn

The progress in stake sale in tower and fibre InvIT as well as to Aramco may be the other triggers ,

Now,it is reported that the Rights Issue of Rs. 53,124 crore of RIL has been over subscribed by  nearly 1.6 times.

It seems that   R I L  expects  that cash inflow from the Facebook and RIL-BP deal and public issue would bring down net debt to Ebitda  from  2.9  in FY 19  to 2.1 in F Y 21 and 1.3  in FY 22

 In the present situation when equity is "cheap", perhaps, Mukesh Ambani thought that using the equity sale income to reduce the debt burden is a pragmatic strategy.

.Is Mukesh Ambani losing hope about spectacular progress of petrochemical sector in future ?

It appears Mukesh Ambani  thinks that he cannot anymore have a free run  that he had  in  the petrochemical business in India as  in the earlier days.

Therefore, to maintain the profitability of the company, he has opted to go for diversification projects in  consumer sector ,  which have high level of relevance to India's economic growth pattern.

It is obvious  that Mukesh Ambani has shifted  his focus towards  consumer sector such as retail business and communication network and wants to move away from the refinery and petrochemical sector, to the extent feasible for him in the present circumstances.

Many observers say that surplus amount generated  in refineries and petrochemical sector in the past  have been ploughed in other unrelated sectors  such as Jio communication network, retail sale business , media etc.


Is  Mukesh Ambani  now lacking in confidence that he can sustain his petroleum refineries and petrochemical business profitably in the same way, as he has done in the past?

It is known that refinery and petrochemical  sector suffers from unpredictable changes and can even be termed as cyclical business to some extent. It requires enormous forward  planning, insight  and  high level of  capability  to readjust the business movement from time to time in tune with the changing trends, to maintain and further boost the profitability of operations. In the past, Mukesh Ambani has been able to reveal such qualities in his management style of refinery and petrochemical sector. Why this changed approach now ?

In recent years, several major players in India have been investing in massive capacity build up  in refinery and petrochemical sector. Such players include  Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation , GAIL, OPAL . ONGC, Nayara Energy ( formerly ESSAR oil , which has been taken over by large Russian conglomerate) and  others.

Further, with the proposed 60 million tonne per annum refinery complex in Maharashtra , planned by HPCL, IOC and BPCL, with proposed equity participation from ADNOC ( Abu Dhabi) and Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia), the competitive condition in Indian market may further intensify.. The size of the above proposed project in Maharashtra is comparable to the refinery and petrochemical operation of RIL in Jamnagar, Gujarat.

As such competitor companies  have been  steadily expanding with certain level of dynamism , one suspects that Mukesh Ambani  thinks  that due to such  emerging competitive conditions in India,   his near monopoly advantages of the past in the refinery and petrochemical sector  have been lost now , for all practical purposes.

Perhaps, Mukesh Ambani  is of the view that such changed conditions in refinery and petrochemical sector ( which is a core area of R I L until recently), may impact the profitability and RIL's  debt repaying capability in future.

Obviously, Mukesh Ambani thinks he needs support and help to sustain his petrochemical business and perhaps, this is the reason why he has invited ARAMCO to become an equity partner in the oil to chemical business of  R I L  

Why obsession with zero debt company ?:


In recent times, Mukesh Ambani has repeatedly said that he aims at making R I L to be a zero debt company by 2021.` This statement has surprised many people , who view R I L from distance.

It may be Mukesh Ambani's view that one way of solving this potential problem of   reducing profitability  in refinery and petrochemical units  is to make RIL a debt free company ,by enlarging it's equity base and encouraging   equity investment from overseas players and share holders in emerging and promising areas such as consumer sector.

 Now, what Mukesh Ambani is trying to do is that having developed and enlarged the retail business and Jio platform, he is offering the equity in these companies to  international organizations and private equity firms  such as KKR , who are impressed with the business prospects in India for these consumer sector. 

By selling these equity share in these companies, Mukesh Ambani is hoping to take the investment from these companies to repay the debt of R I L and thus making R I L  as debt free company. 

In other words, probably, Mukesh Ambani thinks that to ensure the profitability of  R I L in the same way that he had in the past ,  he has to necessarily sell the equity in  diversified retail business and jio platform as well as in refinery and petrochemical sector ( proposed 20% equity sale  to Aramco)  to make R I L to become a debt free company to avoid any uncertainties  in the future finances of the company and consequent possible problem in servicing the debt.  

This view of Mukesh Ambani  wanting  to move away from refinery and petrochemical sector is reinforced by the fact that he has offered to sell 20% equity in oil to chemical business to Aramco.

A matter of concern

For all practical purposes, it is clear that  Mukesh Ambani is  diluting  his  effective leadership in R I L  by selling equity share to overseas companies .

 Mukesh Ambani is  shifting his focus away from  his refinery & petrochemical sector (cash cow)  and it is  a panicky  move.

 Even  as the Prime Minister is speaking repeatedly about the need to strengthen the manufacturing base in the country, one of  the most important petrochemical companies  in India namely RIL leaning towards consumer sector ,should be a matter of concern for the entire country.


[IAC#RG] Modi Govt busy in preserving Mukesh Ambani's wealth instead of lives of Indian citizens

Modi Govt busy in preserving Mukesh Ambani's wealth instead of lives of Indian citizens

Disclaimer: Mr. Narendra Modi is an ascetic saint who works selflessly 24x7 at age 70+ years for the nation.
If this article is correct, it is the IAS, IPS and IRS service officers who are lining their pockets helping Mr. Mukesh Ambani