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