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Multi-faceted Venkat Protest masters... For whom the MIDS bell tolls? The why of tax incentives Funding the un-funded The brown list of Venkitaramanan No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Plummeting profits of PSBs Delhi is distant… EVM is tamper-proof Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu This scant respect for Law Secularism and anti-Hinduism Modi and the lady The sea- saw battle continues... Polls and promises The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Revive development banks... Welcome focus on core competence Quality education through the PPP mode Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Mu Sigma – is no more Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Road development slows down Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Pharma – overdose of copying Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! A friendly business group GNS - 100: our first subscriber Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... When the President was rendered homeless… Paytm karo... Shipping woes of Chennai companies Tatas moving out of urea production... Cutting the nose to spite the face Airlines in India: cost and space More heat than light L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles The rise and rise of KCP Readers' Mail Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Robber barons everywhere A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… More tributes to GR Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Quality silica from Neyveli …and of a popular trade leader Music happens Discoms deserve better… Return to king coal for urea... Noble nonagenarians... Demise of a media baron... Kudos to NDTV... Tribute – UCAL Selvan… Computation of GDP – conundrums continue The nuclear option Increasing non co-operation of state leaders More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Delhi Chalo... Tribute – M V Murugappan A more liberated TN… When small is no larger beautiful.. Align crops to agro climate endowments… Telangana in top gear… He saved millions from starvation... Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Towards speedy justice Editor's Notes Streamlining mandatory third party cover Roaring Ro-Ro facility Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS A think tank for Chennai Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Another Indian music maestro at the UN Editor's Says The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Build close rapport with business leaders Delhi is distant Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai CII projects higher growth… TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW The rise and fall of Annamalai University TGS- The king storyteller IPL - no surprise this scam A glass full of corruption Valli, they are more marginalised Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Where is Rajaji? MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Which side are you, Montek? Kinetic Karnataka The power-full Hindujas Cement prices continue to rise… When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Solar thermal shines… Vibrant Gujarat Sweeter prospects for sugar Gay abandon in pricing Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... B H Kothari - a tribute Shale gas and its shallow future Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Russi Mody – a tribute Contrarian cousins Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! A welcome initiative by the judiciary Things happen by accident and not by design... Poor quality of university VCs Wise Presidents SoA @ 80 Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet A professional at the helm of IRDA... Where a state respects its litterateurs… No Maha Koottani in TN... Haul over the coal Tax agriculture IPL type auction for VCs? Modi storms Silicon Valley Shanti and Sadhana through Music Maximising the micro pricing … A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science The Gulf aviation boom Breaththrough in malaria control Nuclear power at the nucleus He continues the focus on social amelioration Lalu’s envy, India’s pride GM Technology at last! Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... Of course, Gujarat is vibrant The balancing act Welcome GST Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Tribute Strengthen the base... CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Banning booze... Sweet news for TN sugar mills PC’s preference for professionals Recognition to role of NBFCs.... A yen for wastage… Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Gas is the way forward R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Preserving for the future The few handicaps... Boy, can you beat these? Silver Years of Madras Musings PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Building loyalty through the stomach Remembering Indira Sivasailam... An enemy’s enemy is a friend Fuel for thought Rahman at CIC Revving up the manufacturing sector An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Sri Lanka votes for change TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Adharma of opposition politics Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Why land prices zoom in TN? TIAM turns a full cycle No engine for this car Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Small units prefers to remain small... Parliament in paralysis... Delhi returns to BJP Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Moily’s bold thrust CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Why this malaise in medical education? A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Medical costs hit the roof... Tatas moving out of urea production... S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Fortune for Indian Airlines TELANGANA at last…BUT Tough task taking states together The star of Spencers is no more A proud Madrasi London, London Narayan Make standards certification mandatory... Solar, solar everywhere … Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Put expensive assets created to use... All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Intellectual of rare qualities ONGC at KG Basin When nations steal growth from one another… China invests in India More Shakthi to Das’ elbow The Swadeshi Trump Fortune 500 review Mersal magnified Should we change the official year? S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Five star activism stalls development activity IAS invades NDDB... West Bengal: mindless malignancy Making ‘my Amaravati’... Kulandai was a giant For whom the bell tolls? Muffled voices for merit… CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Come elections, come advertisements... Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt How Air-India loses customs... L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… EEC at the National Media Centre Convulsions in The Hindu The Jan Dhan bonanza When online building permits work…. Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Waning interest in public discussions… to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Auto components surge… Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! An inexplicable neglect Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... When Ratan Tata visited SRM Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Engineering seats go abegging
 
The nuclear option

Manmohan Singh and the UPA I & II governments had great ideas on power development. Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) and the nuclear deal are two great examples. These had the promise of achieving large additions in quick time. Sadly, both failed to take off on promised lines. The UMPP suffered by faulty ground work and the unrealistic stipulation of supply of power at fixed prices over the long term. Can such a commitment be made when there was no guarantee of supply of coal at fixed prices for decades? Neither the policymakers nor the companies that bade for this bothered to look closely at this premise. When global coal prices shot up, the UMPP idea bombed. Reliance Infrastructure that won 3 x 4000 MW projects just bade for time to get the government agree to revise the original condition of supply of power at fixed price . Tata Power was the only company to proceed ahead with construction and complete the project but had to plead for revision. Thus, the 36,000 MW project cleared witnessed just 4000 MW off the ground over ten years.

In regard to nuclear power it is equally tardy. Singh initiated the nuclear deal with the US in July 2005. He staked his all in getting this passed by the Parliament amidst a stiff opposition from the leftists who supported the UPA I government and did succeed. But, years later there had been slow progress in convincing nuclear suppliers to support the Indian initiatives. The Fukushima disaster further lent strength to the anti-nuclear forces. The Kudankulam power station, construction of which was already tardy with the Russian delays, was further stuck by opposition from lobbyists receiving support from several foreign sources.

The French that won the bid for the Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra, did evince lot of interest, but encountered problems relating to liability. There is disappointment over such a support not coming  from Japan during Prime Minister Modi’s visit. The sea-saw battle received some boost when the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised supply of uranium. There is further hope on China extending such support after President Xi Jinping’s visit.  

Technology is a two-sided weapon. There is need for a firm commitment for using its positive side. Nuclear energy is of great value to India in expanding its capacity for power generation. The country’s record in operating power plants over the past five decades and more has been satisfactory. India did not have any serious mishap or problem in operating its nuclear power stations in this period. The commitment to safety is paramount. Ensuring this can take care of adding large capacity.

I remember my interaction with a director of  the French nuclear company Framatome in Paris. I met him in 1982. He said: “France lacks fossil resources like coal and oil. Close to 80 per cent of power needs of the country are met by nuclear power. Our safety record has been exemplary.” In the 32 years since he made this statement one hasn’t witnessed any slip in this record.

 

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