How Rahul Kanwal of India Today TV copied my column on IPL v/s sugarcane debate and still got it wrong


On April 12, 2016, India Today TV broadcast a discussion titled IPL vs drought: No one is really targeting the real villain at 10 pm.

In this sixteen-minute-long discussion, the anchor Rahul Kanwal copied chunks of my column titled “IPL Will Use ZERO Percent of the Water That Sugarcane Does”. This was published on and

(You can watch the programme here:

You can read my column here:

Kanwal says at the very beginning to one of the invitees on the show to look at the data that we have compiled very carefully. By we he means India Today TV obviously. The claim is of being original. But is he? The data that he claims to have compiled has been lifted as it is from my column. While all the data is publicly available, the calculations are not.

Also, the data I use has been taken from the documents of CACP, a division of ministry of agriculture. You cannot really Google these documents unless you know their specific names.

At 1.43 minutes Kanwal says that the water used for twenty IPL matches would equal 0.0000038% of the water used for growing sugarcane in Maharashtra. This data point is a part of my column. I have calculated it using CACP data. It is not publicly available. The fact that no effort has been made to round it off tells me even more strongly that the number has been copied from my column.

At 2.23 minutes he says total amount of water needed to produce sugarcane is 158 million litres. This is incorrect. The total amount of water needed is 158,306,400 million litres or 158 million million litres. There are two millions, Kanwal uses only one. Also, this calculation is not publicly available anywhere. I have calculated it in my column. Kanwal has tried to use it and ended up using it wrongly.

Further, if Maharashtra needs 158 million litres of water to cultivate sugarcane, and needs six million litres for IPL, then the number 0.0000038% is wrong. The right proportion would be 3.8% (6 million litres divided by 158 million litres). Going by these numbers, Kanwal should have said that the water to be used for IPL will only amount to 3.8% of the water used for cultivating sugarcane.

But the number he uses is 0.0000038%. This mistake is made because Kanwal has dropped a million. And this is where his copying becomes even more obvious. If he had actually calculated using the numbers he talks about, the result would have been different.

Then he talks about the sugar barons of Maharashtra and names them. I just make a general point in my column and do not name the politicians like Kanwal did.

At 5.05 minutes Kanwal suddenly says 3 million litres of water will be used for IPL and 154 million litres of water are used for sugarcane production. He goes wrong again with the data points. The numbers are six million litres of water for cricket and 158 million million litres of water for sugarcane.

He keeps repeating 154 million litres through the programme and three million litres of water for IPL. Also, if 3 million litres of water were required for cricket and 154 million litres of water were required for sugarcane production, then IPL water as a proportion of water used for sugarcane production would be 1.95% and not 0.0000038% as Kanwal says at the beginning. Guess this is what happens when you copy without understanding how the numbers have been arrived at.

At 13.24 minutes Kanwal suddenly says that the amount of water required to conduct IPL is only 2% of the amount of water required by the sugarcane industry. I don’t know where he came up with this number.

In the end he goes back to 0.0000038%.

I would request you to read my column and then watch Kanwal’s show and draw your own conclusion. I am of the opinion he copied my column and did not give me credit for it. If I were to go by what the good old Anu Mallik used to say in his heydays, Kanwal was inspired by my column.

PS: Kanwal also put out the following tweet.


I say in my column that demand is 24.3 million tonnes of sugar and our production 28 million tonnes. I do write that when we export sugar we are basically exporting water by quoting Business Standard editor TN Ninan’s book The Turn of the Tortoise. Too many things here that don’t meet the basic smell test.


About vivekkaul
Vivek Kaul is a writer who has worked at senior positions with the Daily News and Analysis(DNA) and The Economic Times, in the past. He is the author of the Easy Money trilogy. Easy Money: The Greatest Ponzi Scheme Ever and How It Is Set to Destroy the Global Financial System , the latest book in the trilogy has just been published. The first two books in the trilogy were published in November 2013 and July 2014 respectively. Both the books were bestsellers on and Currently he works as an economic commentator and writes regular columns for He is also the India editor of The Daily Reckoning newsletter published by His writing has appeared across various other publications in India. These include The Times of India, Business Standard,Business Today, Business World, The Hindu, The Hindu Business Line, Indian Management, The Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle, Forbes India, Mutual Fund Insight, The Free Press Journal,,, Business World, Huffington Post and Wealth Insight. In the past he has also been a regular columnist for He has lectured at IIM Bangalore, IIM Indore, TA PAI Institute of Management and the Alliance University (Bangalore). He has also taught a course titled Indian Economy to the PGPMX batch of IIM Indore. His areas of interest are the intersection between politics and economics, the international financial crisis, personal finance, marketing and branding, and anything to do with cinema and music. He can be reached at

9 Responses to How Rahul Kanwal of India Today TV copied my column on IPL v/s sugarcane debate and still got it wrong

  1. BB Gupta says:

    Kanwak ki bachpan ki nakal karne ki aadat abhi gai nahi Now he has grown up shd leave bad habits

  2. Ashish Gupta says:

    Apart from abundant proof supplied by you, one easy catch is that when was last time you heard any news channel do any data driven story? They just discuss soundbites ad infinitum.

    That’s why I rely on you to interpret economic news and RealityCheckIndia to interpret impact of new laws/bills.

  3. AP says:

    This is pretty disgusting although not surprising. I guess that alone says much about the despicable figures that hog media outlets these days.

    As someone who is into writing original content, I can understand how frustrating it is to see someone one just lift your content like that. More so because what you write entails far far more research and spending time.

  4. Probably he thought he’d getaway because readers of serious stuff don’t watch TV.

  5. Anurag Garg says:

    This is disgusting and shows the real nature of our media – go for quick bytes without doing original research. I suggest lodge a formal complaint with India Today and other relevant authorities.

  6. Dr Jagadish says:

    I am a subscriber for wealth alliance by equity master which has helped me immensely in gaining knowledge & analyzing the economy. vivek kaul’s diary is one of my fav as he brings in a perspective which is usually not common thinking. Sad to see such public plagiarism of his views & writings.

  7. Ramesh Narendrarai Desai says:

    Emotions and not Reason drive our opposition politicians and most news channels. They whip up sentiments of the gullible and pump a lot of negativity into issues. It would appear that they are against any good thing happening ! The establishment of yore has not pardoned India and Indians for throwing them in the dustbin of time. The question is, how long will people remain gullible ? Some day, truth will triumph as it always does. Kudos to Vivek Kaul for his standing up to retrograde forces !

  8. TG says:

    Mr Kanwal got the sugar demand supply numbers mixed up as well. And our exports too, aren’t as high as 3 mn tonnes of sugar. Even with a mandatory requirement of exporting 3.2 mn tonnes this year, we’re barely going to end up exporting 1.5 mn tonnes – and we’ll still be left with a stock of around 9 mn tonnes of sugar – enough to use for four months without any production for the whole country. Shows how flawed our sugar policy is – farmers are incentivised to produce cane no matter what the market dynamics are, millers forced to buy cane without caring how much stock we already hold, and whether there’s any export market for it at all… Who gains in all this? Sugar barons and politicians who bank on farmers’ votes… After all this, even though we live in an oversupplied market, retail sugar prices never go below 30 rupees a kilo!

  9. Debashish says:

    Someone mentioned here to lodge a complaint with India Today. Kind of reminds me of the time when the owner of this same group was once shamed by a foreign blogger for having plagiarized large chunks of his profile piece on the actor Rajinikanth in the Editor’s column of the India Today magazine. The gentleman, when cornered, in his mea culpa admitted [apparently to save face] that it was compiled by someone else and he just edited the piece, thereby letting loose the commonly held belief that even the editors’ columns are ghostwritten!

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