The Forum of Free Enterprise is a non-political organization founded in 1956 by A. D. Shroff and has been established to educate public opinion in India on free enterprise and a democratic way of life. The Forum publishes booklets to further its objects. The following booklet titled “How To Respond To Petroleum Crisis In India” was published on February 14, 1991, and was authored by Ajit D. Kamlani, S.S. Rekhi and Ranjan Sanghi.
Ajit D. Kamlani makes a case for focusing on the conservation of fuel and improvement in fuel efficiency of the vehicles in light of the petroleum crisis. He argues that neither the Government nor the Industries paid any heed to the performance of the Indian made machinery or India made vehicles for saving this valuable energy source. He points out that in India, barring Maruti, the new generation LCVs, NE.H8 and Contessa, the rest of the vehicles were not updated for the last 40 years, thereby resulting in poor fuel efficiency. He concludes by making some crucial suggestions like improving the condition of roads, synchronising traffic signals and investing in public transport.
S.S. Rekhi begins by stating that it took three oil crises for the world to realise that oil is a fast-depleting fossil fuel, whose immediate effects are uncontrollable worldwide inflation, unemployment and recession. He further argues that considering the modem civilisation’s dependence on oil as a source of energy and raw material for several chemical products, a rise in oil prices amounts to the imposition of a gigantic tax. It drains the real incomes of consumers and takes away a slice of demand for several non-oil goods and services. He goes on to suggest what the thrust of our policy should be. He argues that we must secure utmost conservation in the consumption of different petroleum products, exploit fully the trade-off possibilities within our economy with respect to oil versus other fuels and commodities and invest in oil exploration.
Ranjan Sanghi expands on the three important factors responsible for the current shortage of petroleum in the country- 1) Non availability of foreign exchange 2) Gulf crisis and 3) Poor indigenous production of petroleum. He further highlights the bad and appalling conditions of our roads and the highways as a major cause for wastage of fuel. Apart from short-term policy measures, he stressed road modernisation and encouragement of better public transport through air-conditioned and luxury buses.