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.