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BW Businessworld

Editor-In-Chief’s Note: The 140 Billion Dollar Baby

In this issue, BW Businessworld attempts to examine this proposed behemoth to ascertain whether it was destined to be stillborn or whether the government could make this jumbo corporation work

Photo Credit : Umesh Goswami

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“It is the struggle for oil, if not anything else, that will cause World War 3”

Being the most important resource in the world, the cause for oil has not only moved foreign policy decisions for a long time now, it has also been used as a show of power and strength for many years. It is more than evident that oil can not only move decisions, it can move governments as well.

India is the world’s third largest oil consumer. A surprising announcement in the 2017 Budget was a proposal for an integrated government enterprise to manage the production and business of oil. The consequential public sector behemoth should match global oil colossuses like Sinopec and Exxon and help India gain a leverage in the world market.

But surely, managing an unwieldy elephantine structure cannot be easy?

In this issue, BW Businessworld attempts to examine this proposed behemoth to ascertain whether it was destined to be stillborn or whether the government could make this jumbo corporation work. The cover story on the integrated oil company by senior associate editor, C.H. Unnikrishnan, is supported by expert columns by former oil Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar and former Air India executive director, Jitender Bhargava.

In other sections, finance secretary Ashok Lavasa tells deputy editor Suman K. Jha that the universal basic income (UBI) was an idea, which should be debated. BW Education executive editor Sreerupa Sil discovers an ‘environmental thought leader’ in Hero Cycles chairman and managing director, Pankaj Munjal, in the course of a conversation. Senior special correspondent Monica Behura, reports about the government’s decision to allow foreign law firms to set up shop in special economic zones (SEZs). Associate editor Ayushman Baruah dives into the troubled waters of Infosys to fish out a story behind the story.

The online edition of BW Businessworld first reported on job cuts at Snapdeal and the story got followed by other media houses. An abridged version of the report is included in the print edition of the magazine. Mumbai bureau head, Clifford Alvares, writes of why the much awaited RBI press conference was a watershed.

Ramesh Jude Thomas devotes his column to the iconic Ambassador brand that once ferried successive Indian prime ministers and has now been sold off to the French car company, Peugeot. Thomas probes into the reasons for the brand’s demise and whether nostalgia was ammunition enough for a comeback for the Ambassador.

The Union Budget was discussed threadbare at 15 BW Businessworld roundtables across three cities. We devote some pages to the pow-wows on a range of topics from direct taxes to the startup ecosystem. The economy is not immune to the polity and vice versa. So, we track the elections in some major States and analyse their impact on the economy for you in the days ahead.

We leave you with a thought that reflects on our cover story, with a quote from Jean Paul Getty. Getty, who had founded the Getty Oil Company, was acclaimed the wealthiest American by Fortune magazine in 1957. “The formula for success,” he had said, was to “rise early, work late, and strike oil.” We wish that our government strikes the right chord if not quite oil, and that the grand merger of oil PSUs enriches the lives of Indians.