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