People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 03

January 21, 2007

CPI(M) MP Objects To Condemnation Of Oil PSUs


The following is the text of the letter written by CPI(M) MP Tapan Sen to union petroleum minister Murli Deora on January 8, 2007 A copy of this letter was sent to the chairman, Standing Committee on Petroleum & Natural Gas for information and action.


I WISH to draw your attention to a report in the Economic Times of January 6, 2007 which quotes the secretary, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, government of India saying that the public sector enterprises in the petroleum sector are inefficient and that the government would not follow the Russian model of “Resource Nationalisation” as confining oil and gas reserves to public sector can breed inefficiencies due to sub-optimal utilisation of resources.


It is not clear what provoked such sweeping remarks and wholesale condemnation of the public sector. Certainly it runs contrary to the government's own publicly stated position that it appreciates the contribution of the public sector enterprises that have done so much over the years to put India on the road to progress and self-sufficiency and generation of employment. Indeed, in recognition of their contribution and performance, government has designated several of them as Navaratnas and many public sector enterprises are rated excellent for their MoU achievements. Whatever be the provoking factor, such demeaning comments on oil PSUs by ministry official, that too in a private sector forum (CII) is unbecoming and unwarranted which you will please appreciate. 


I strongly feel, such remarks by the ministry official, tending to create a false public perception about PSUs, that too in the lobbies of private sector, through allegations of 'inefficiency' and 'poor performance' of public sector companies should better be avoided.