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