Monday, September 2, 2013

More Nonsense From India


From the middle of this month, says oil minister M Veerappa Moily, the government plans a massive six-week fuel conservation drive that could include closing all petrol pumps by 8 pm. The BJP has scoffed at the proposal.

…The minister said on Sunday, "There are various options and ideas that have been floated. Shutting petrol pumps during the night is one of them." He emphasized that, "we have not decided. It is just a proposal."


Whoever came up with THAT proposal, is an idiot.

Shutting down a petrol bunk in the evening simply means that people will get the petrol either before 8 PM or on the next day. In no way does this guarantee reduction in fuel consumption. You don't need to be an Oil Minister or an Economist to figure that out.

Yes, you could reduce the fuel consumption by shutting down petrol bunks PERMANENTLY (or put a ceiling on how many litres of petrol is permitted to be sold). If there is no supply, there can't be any consumption.

Now with that out of the way, let us look at what the article says:

The government is seeking to trim its huge oil import bill as it struggles to rescue the rupee - Nothing wrong with that. It would have been better if this was thought of before, but better late than never.

Prime Minister said the country must "economise the use of petroleum products" - Stating the obvious. This would have been a good idea even if the rupee wasn't tumbling. Again, although I think it is stating the obvious, I don't see anything wrong with the statement.

Mr Moily's austerity campaign from September 16 will attempt to cut fuel demand by three per cent and save an estimated Rs. 16,000 crore or USD 2.5 billion in forex outgo - It is nice to see that they have used the word 'attempt'. Again, nothing wrong with the statement.

The minister has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with suggestions to shave off up to Rs. 1,32,000 crore of the Rs. 9,50,000 crore oil import bill of 2012-13. The note, dated August 30, does not mention closing petrol pumps at night - The note does NOT include the idiotic suggestion (of shutting down pumps at night), So WHY is it being made an issue? Why is that single ridiculous proposed measure being made a headline?


The BJP's Shahnawaz Hussain said, "Not only petrol pumps, this government is capable of shutting down this country.  If petrol pumps are closed at night, won't people fill fuel in the morning?"

Mr Hussain has suggested that ministers should set an example by "cutting down on their expenditure and should return their cars."

Err… I would call these remarks witty, if that particular proposal was made official or presented as a measure in writing. Picking on ONE point that isn't even recorded in the official note is actually desperate (if not pathetic). That goes for the media, the idiots on Twitter in addition to Shahnawaz Hussain.

Since the ridiculous proposal is not part of the submitted note / list of proposals (in writing), it is downright idiotic to make it the highlight of the proposed measures or use it as a headline. Sir Humphrey explained it best. Of course, he is talking about a decision being made and recorded, but the logic still applies in case of submission of a written document or proposal:

"It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them and that every member's recollection of them differs violently from every other member's recollection. Consequently, we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have been officially recorded in the minutes by the Officials, from which it emerges with an elegant inevitability that any decision which has been officially reached will have been officially recorded in the minutes by the Officials and any decision which is not recorded in the minutes is not been officially reached even if one or more members believe they can recollect it, so in this particular case, if the decision had been officially reached it would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the Officials. And it isn't so it wasn't."

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