Vol 3, PW 5 (31 Mar 99) People & Policy

Hardly a day goes by without the Indian government announcing one grand strategy or the other regarding the countrys hydrocarbon sector.

The latest concerns finalisation of India Hydrocarbon Vision 2020, a policy document first announced with much gusto by Indian prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, at the Petrotech oil conference in January this year. Vajpayees deadline of 31 March for the reports submission looks likely to overrun (no surprise there) but officials are nonetheless running around trying to ensure it is submitted by end April - at the latest.

Vision 2020 will be a policy document (not dissimilar to the R Report, an earlier oil ministry blueprint for oil sector reform) on the future direction of the Indian oil and gas sector. Inputs are being provided by more than a dozen committees on various aspects of upstream and downstream oil policy.

Devi Dayal, Additional Secretary, in the oil ministry is coordinating the work of these committees. When ready, he will send their findings to a Group of Ministers (oil, finance, power and environment) for examination before submission to the Prime Minsters Office (PMO).

It is unclear what exactly the report will recommend and whether any of its recommendations will be implemented. What is clear is that it is keeping everyone in the oil ministry very busy with their favourite pastime - pushing paper.