THE ISSUE of allocation of natural resources has been at the centre of the debate on corruption. From the Supreme Court to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to anti-corruption crusaders like Team Anna, all have slammed the UPA for allocating precious natural resources like 2G spectrum, minerals and land to private hands at a fraction of their market price. It was the CAG that had first exposed how the telecom policy was manipulated to favour select companies at the cost of public interest. A new CAG report, this time on coal block allocation, has put the spotlight on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for alleged corrupt policy-making, causing a revenue loss of several thousands of crores of rupees. Politically, the coal allocation scam has far greater implications for the UPA than the 2G swindle.
During the five years of UPA-1, Manmohan Singh was also the coal minister for about three and a half years. The junior minister in the coal ministry was always a Congressman. Yet the PM failed to introduce the policy of competitive bidding for captive coal block allocations, despite having given an in-principle approval to it within the first six months of his tenure as prime minister. Read More>
Union Minister of Law and Justice Ashwani Kumar is a worried man. On 13 April, he was summoned to a meeting of the Congress core group comprising Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, AK Antony and Ahmed Patel. The senior leadership is apparently irked by reports of Kumar’s interference in the CBI investigation into the multi-crore coal block allocation scam. Read More>
The coal scam is not just an ordinary corruption story. It is a blueprint of many things that are going to haunt India in the years ahead: incompetence, myopia and a colossal abdication of responsibility.
Senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta has closely followed the issues around coal mining in the past, along with various aspects of the Indian political economy. On 16 April, he screened his documentary ‘Coal Curse’ in New Delhi. The documentary highlights the micro-level consequences of coal mining in the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh. He tells Baba Umar why coal mining has given rise to crony capitalism. Read More>
More than a year ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tried to fix the mess around the use of natural resources. Then, inexplicably, he sat on it. Ashish Khetan on a crucial piece in the ongoing crisis: The Ashok Chawla Committee Report. Read More>
Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal tells Ashish Khetan that he hopes to start the policy of auctioning coal blocks within a month
Q&A Prashant Bhushan Supreme Court Lawyer.