HAL leans on domestic monopoly

India has been spending approximately Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 11,000 crore every year to import arms. But, with debates on India’s defence preparedness hotting up and a greater stress on domestic manufacturing, IndiaSpend’s Sourjya Bhowmick looked at the competitive scenario for Indian defence companies to see how the manufacturing equations could evolve in the coming years. … Continued

Down the drain: India’s costly (and losing) irrigation battle

The Central government has spent nearly Rs 200,000 crore from the First Five-Year Plan to create an irrigation potential of around 109 million hectare. But the efforts have lagged considerably, affecting the country’s ability to counter poor monsoons and improving agricultural productivity.   Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are some of the biggest offenders in irrigation … Continued

The race to build in Africa

Indian aid to Africa is mostly focused on capacity building and knowledge sharing. Total aid to Africa during 2011-2012 was Rs 150 crore ($27.5 million), quite a contrast to just Rs 10 crore in 1997-98.   Trade between India and Africa has increased from $3 billion in 2000 to nearly $60 billion in 2011 and … Continued

A Rs 66,000-cr infrastructure intervention that needs more fuel

Half of India’s 1.2 billion populace will live in urban areas in 25 years, as compared to 27.82 per cent presently. How prepared are we for this? The Rs 66,000-crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was launched as an infrastructure intervention to address precisely this issue.   The JNNURM was launched on December … Continued

World’s Most Economical Missile Programme?

The recent launch of the Agni 5, the intercontinental ballistic missile, makes it a good time to look at how the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is managing its finances and funding for ambitious projects.   IndiaSpend carried out a 10-year study of available figures and found DRDO seemingly achieved a lot, with little. … Continued

In West Bengal, culture pips welfare in fund allocation

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra began his 2012-13 Budget speech by blaming the previous Left Front government for the dire straits of state finances. He said: “In a dozen years, debt grew by a phenomenal 486 per cent. In per capita terms, the debt was the largest in the country. Tragically, each child born in West … Continued

Key agri-initiative runs short of funds

The Ministry of Agriculture, in March 2011, released guidelines for spending Rs 300 crore in implementing an urban Vegetable Initiative aimed at providing India’s middle classes more locally grown vegetables. Nine months on, ISPR’sSourjya Bhowmick does a status check on how much progress has been made in this interesting initiative   When launched then, the Agriculture Ministry defined the … Continued

A tale of West Bengal’s missing data

A data battle is exciting news for us, almost like what breaking news is to many others. We’ve been closely tracking the ‘Curious Case Of West Bengal’s Missing Numbers’ for a few months now.   The case is getting more interesting, almost mysterious, as the results of a Right To Information petition filed by ISPR Research … Continued

A Rs 1,00,000-cr bill no one’s talking about

An avalanche of delayed projects has meant huge cost overruns where the taxpayer is left to foot the bill. The private sector has been bitterly complaining about the logjam in permissions and approvals, resulting in delayed projects. While private capital has no doubt suffered as have investors, the biggest loser from Government’s delays is perhaps … Continued

With Rs 548-cr medical bill, BSNL is not a healthy organisation

When we first looked (in June 2011), state-owned telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) was headed for losses of Rs 2,725 crore for the year ended March 2011. In August, reports suggested unaudited losses had jumped to Rs 6,000 crore from Rs 1,823 crore in 2009-10. The final loss figure for 2010-11 stands at … Continued