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