Grand Illusion
The GSPC Disaster and the Gujarat Model

About the Book: Grand Illusion

The Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) has been a leading economic light of the Gujarat Model. It was the flagship project of an “economic resurgence” that the Narendra Modi government unleashed after his re-election as state chief minister in December 2002. Unbridled industrialisation cloaked the stains of the 2002 communal riots, and for this, a home-grown company became its new face. But the GSPC was not Modi’s baby, for it had existed over 20 years before being selected to be the face of the Gujarat Model. A decade and a half later, it is symbolic of that model, and everything that is wrong with the hype—as also the myth—surrounding it. The GSPC has been a misadventure, and serves as a classic case of how political grandstanding can lead to financial disaster.

Time and again, the corporation was hauled up by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) of India over its cavalier attitude towards ventures that never paid off and for living beyond its means. Yet, the state ignored all criticism. The truth is that the GSPC not only never made money, it instead bled the exchequer. As losses spiralled out of control, Modi’s relocation to New Delhi as prime minister came handy: the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) bailed out the GSPC by buying out the latter’s stake in the Krishna-Godavari Basin project.

Grand Illusion charts out the GSPC’s growth since 2002, and summarises it thus: Modi’s pride, Gujarat’s embarrassment.

About the Author: Subir Ghosh

Subir Ghosh is a Bengaluru-based independent journalist-researcher who writes about the environment, corruption, crony capitalism, conflict, wildlife and cinema. He started his career as a sales professional, before switching over to journalism in October 1991. His first job as a journalist was with the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency in Kolkata. He joined the Telegraph in January 1995, where he developed a keen interest in Northeast affairs and reported extensively from the region, besides being a prolific op-ed writer on the subject. He shifted base to New Delhi in mid-1998, and handled publications and communications for a number of organisations. Subir’s last stint in the mainstream media was with the Bengaluru edition of DNA newspaper.

His last non-fiction work was Sue the Messenger: How legal harassment by corporates is shackling reportage and undermining democracy in India, published in May 2016. Subir was the lead author of the book, and senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta its co-author. In 2014, they had collaborated on Gas Wars: Crony Capitalism and the Ambanis, with Paranjoy as lead author and Subir and Jyotirmoy Chaudhuri the co-authors. His collection of poems, On the Face of it: Chronicle of a Self-Imposed Exile was published in February 2017.

At present, Subir writes more about sustainable fashion and policy issues related to the textiles and apparel industry. Besides his writing interests, he works as a political and environmental risk analyst and editorial consultant.

He can be found on

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