By the Way

By the way : Lobbyist Bibek Debroy

by Anil Tyagi

A regime change normally brings new faces. But, some academicians, economists and theory pro-pounders have survived the UPA1, 2 and NDA regimes. One such economist is NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy. An analysis of his advocacy reveals the forces operating the system, which makes such people indispensible. Rethink rail electrification: Bibek Debroy redflags the railways diesel phase-out plan, writing “Several experts have questioned the logic of 100 per cent electrification and have argued that if few countries have done this, there is a good reason for it. And that includes the need to have a back-up plan in case of a grid failure—due to sabotage or natural reasons—as well as the fact that certain routes simply do not have the requisite transport volumes to justify electrification.” He has been advocating for diesel locomotives for the last four years since Alstom started its Rs. 40,000 crore manufacturing project of electric engines in Bihar. If the Railways opt out from 100 per cent electrification and cancels the order of Alstom and GE, who is benefitted? Back in 2015, Manoj Sinha, the then Minister of State for Railways, informed the Lok Sabha that the single largest bulk consumer of diesel in the country, (Railways) requires about 2.5 billion litres of diesel a year and has to foot a bill of about Rs. 17,000 crore. “Sinha did not tell the house that Essar Oil and Reliance had won the rate contract to supply diesel to the Railways, edging out Indianoil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum. We leave you draw your own conclusions.gfiles end logo



VOL. 11 | ISSUE 11-12 | MARCH 2018

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