Lockheed, Tata to make F-16 in India

The IAF is about to initiate the process for selection of a single-engine fighter aircraft to replace the Russian MiGs under the Strategic Partnership model of the Defence Procurement Procedure. The announcement from Paris Air Show, where among those present was Ratan Tata, came ahead of Mr. Modi’s meeting with Trump later this month.

“This agreement builds on the already established joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Tata and underscores the relationship and commitment between the two companies,” said N. Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons.

The Strategic Partnership model has four segments — submarines, single-engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks — and specifically intends to open up defence manufacturing to the private sector. The deal for 100- plus fighter aircraft is estimated to be worth over Rs. 60,000 crore.

The contenders for the deal are F-16 of Lockheed Martin and Gripen of SAAB. The likely Indian private sector players in the race are TASL and Mahindra group, both of which have a footprint in the aerospace sector.

The statement also said F-16 production in India would support thousands of Lockheed Martin and F-16 supplier jobs in the U.S., create new manufacturing jobs in India, and position Indian industry at the centre of the most extensive fighter aircraft supply ecosystem in the world.

While Mr. Modi has put forward the ‘Make in India’ initiative to develop the manufacturing sector in India, Mr. Trump has given a call, ‘America First,’ to get jobs back to the U.S. TASAL, along with Lockheed, makes airframe components for the C-130J airlifter and the S-92 helicopter.

— source thehindu.com

when weapon manufacturing becomes private, then war to make profit will also increase. issues that can be solved by bilateral talks will become bloodly battle to make profit. Its not nation’s interests are served, but the profit for the corporates. innocent civilian and soldiers blood will spread to make that profit.


How a private water company brought lead to Pittsburgh’s taps

In the summer of 2015, Metropolis Magazine named Pittsburgh one of the world’s “most livable” cities and gushed about its infrastructure, “The city has more vertical feet of public stairways than San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Portland, Oregon, combined.”

But the magazine hadn’t done its research. Around the same time, the city’s water utility was laying off employees in an effort to cut costs. By the end of the year, half of the staff responsible for testing water throughout the 100,000-customer system was let go. The cuts would prove to be catastrophic. Six months later, lead levels in tap water in thousands of homes soared. The professor who had helped expose Flint, Michigan’s lead crisis took notice, “The levels in Pittsburgh are comparable to those reported in Flint.”

The cities also share something else, involvement by the same for-profit water corporation. Pittsburgh’s layoffs happened under the watch of French corporation Veolia, who was hired to help the city’s utility save money. Veolia also oversaw a change to a cheaper chemical additive that likely caused the eventual spike in lead levels. In Flint, Veolia served a similar consulting role and failed to detect high levels of lead in the city’s water, deeming it safe.

For-profit water corporations see America’s crumbling infrastructure as a business opportunity. Either they buy struggling water systems or market their services to cities like Pittsburgh that need the help. At the same time, they use their political clout to cut taxes, choking off the public money necessary to sustain vital water infrastructure. Veolia, along with other corporations like American Water, is a member of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), which actively lobbies for lower taxes.

Last Wednesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced the city would provide filters for drinking water, which is the right thing to do. But he’s also considering partnering with another for-profit water company to clean up Veolia’s mess.

Partnering with corporations that must turn a profit should be off the table. For-profit water corporations will always have a financial incentive to cut service, shrug off maintenance, and fire employees. When they’re in charge, the high costs of doing business are passed on to residents: privately owned water systems charge 59 percent more than those that are publicly owned. Every public dollar that goes to executives and shareholders is a dollar that could be invested in making water clean and affordable.

Pittsburgh’s water needs democratic control and public investment, not corporate takeover.

— source salon.com by Donald Cohen

Sydney bus drivers strike against privatisation

Public bus drivers in parts of Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, carried out a 24-hour strike yesterday, opposing an announcement by the New South Wales (NSW) Liberal-National government on Tuesday that it would privatise the operations of the bus services in the city’s inner-west and south. As many as 1,200 drivers took part in the industrial action from depots in the inner-western suburbs of Leichhardt, Tempe, Kingsgrove and Burwood.

— source wsws.org

Nestle wants more Michigan water

Let’s start with the fact that bottled water is history’s greatest scam.

For the most part, bottled water companies take a product any American can access at the tap for pennies — at least 25% of bottled water comes from municipal drinking sources — slap it into a plastic bottle, and charge dollars for the same quantity.

America’s obsession with bottled water creates tons of plastic waste each year, and in almost every circumstances — barring instances like the Flint water crisis, for example — bottled water is entirely unnecessary.

And then let’s ask why on earth the State of Michigan should allow multinational conglomerate Nestle to make off with billions of gallons of our water each year, making serious bank while paying Michigan just a $200 administrative fee for the privilege.

It’s a perfect business set-up: Pay next to nothing for a product, throw in some marketing, and sell at an exponentially higher mark-up. It’s a business gambit so one-sided it would make Tom Sawyer blush.

Nestle has been pumping spring water for its nonsensically named “Ice Mountain” brand near Evart, Mich. — neither a region nor a state known for mountainous terrain — for about 12 years. Evart is one of three Nestle water-pumping locations in Michigan. Two years ago, the company applied for an increase in the amount of water it is permitted to pump at one of its wells from 150 to 400 gallons per minute, but at present, the company is allowed to pump 218 gallons per minute, a limit that is the result of a lawsuit filed by conservationists. So its apparent solution is to increase the siphoning from a different well in the area.

This 167% increase would be a much larger draw on the state’s water resources.

Despite the frivolity of the bottled water industry, it’s clearly here to stay. Bottled water revenue is more than $15 billion per year, with substantial annual increases expected.

But we need to get smart about it.

After perfunctorily greenlighting Nestle’s request last year, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is taking a longer look at the company’s request for a permit increase. At the behest of new director, Heidi Grether, MDEQ has extended the public comment period for the request and asked the company to provide further documentation that its stepped-up pumping operation wouldn’t cause harm to Evart or its environs

That’s what MDEQ ought to be doing, and we’re glad to see Grether’s instincts, in this case, are good.

Because Nestle owns the wells it’s pumping, the company pays just $200 in administrative fees to authorize its groundwater extraction, plus a $5,000 one-time-fee for permit application review.

And that’s the bigger problem here — a regulatory framework, created before bottled water became a multi-billion industry, that tends to assume Michiganders would pump groundwater for personal, municipal or direct business use.

Groundwater isn’t regulated like surface water; rather, its use is governed by an old principle that allows “reasonable use” of groundwater, as long as that use doesn’t permanently alter the availability or accessibility of water for other users. Does extracting drinking water violate that standard? Well … it’s hard to say.

Thus far, Nestle’s water extraction hasn’t seemed to limit or harm the availability of water for Evart and the surrounding area. But some experts note that because Ice Mountain water is shipped out of state, it’s not returned to the water table — and while Nestle’s application says that increased water withdrawal will have “minimal” impact on nearby streams, some critics have noted that any pumping operation should have no effect on Michigan’s water supply.

Fresh water is one of Michigan’s most valuable assets. Any conversation about the scarcity or value of Michigan’s water should take into account that clean, potable water will become an increasingly valuable resource.

But fresh water is also one of Michigan’s most marketable commodities.

Balanced against this, of course, is jobs. Nestle’s Stanwood plant employs about 200; a planned $36-million expansion would create about 20 additional jobs. In a county of just 43,000, that’s a lot.

Balancing our state’s future — safeguarding our resources and our environment — with our economic interests is the reason we have regulation. And it’s the kind of nuts-and-bolts work lawmakers should embrace. There’s a solution here, if only they’ll chose to find it.

— source freep.com by Nancy Kaffer

Defence to be largest business of Reliance Group

Defence will emerge as the largest business for the Reliance Group, said Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Group in a presentation to analysts on Monday as Reliance Defence gears to tap defence opportunities worth Rs. 1 lakh crore annually in the Indian defence market.

“There is a huge opportunity for private sector in the defence business as currently India imports 70% of its defence requirement in value terms and accounts for 14% of the global defence imports in 2016,” said Anil Ambani addressing a gathering of 80 analysts in Mumbai on Monday. “Overall, India Offset opportunities are in excess of Rs. 77,000 crore with peak obligation of Rs. 10,000 crore in 2018. This is a big playing field for the Indian private sector,” he said.

Reliance Defence has submitted bids for Rs. 30,000 crore of defence orders comprising landing platform dock and anti submarine warfare and shallow water craft.

Reliance Defence is planning to bid for the construction of two indigenous aircraft carriers worth Rs. 90,000 crore and 12 submarines worth Rs. 1.2 lakh crore. The company is also planning to submit bids worth another Rs. 30,000 for building next-generation missile vessels and a next-generation corvette this year. “Reliance Group’s entry into the defence sector is driven by the new policy of Make in India and Skill India which makes available the large opportunity for the group. Contrary to general perception, defence is [a] low-capital business with high turnover,” said Mr. Ambani adding that his vision was to be the leading manufacturer and supplier of ‘state-of -the-art’ advanced weapon platforms, equipment, systems and hardware “to meet the domestic requirements of the Indian Armed Forces and to mark our presence across the world.”

In aerospace, Reliance Defence has set up a 51: 49 JV, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd., which plans to be a key player in the offset opportunity for the Rafael 36 contract. The annual budget for Indian defence is about Rs. 2.6 lakh crore.

— source thehindu.com by Piyush Pandey

when defence becomes private business, conflicts and war will escalate. because these private companies get profits only if there is need of weapons. America proved this.

Our soldiers and civilians will going to die in unnecessory wars. We must end privatization of defense sector. Soldier’s families and citizen must unite on this issue.