Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DEMONS of INDIAN ECONOMY and GOVERNANCE

In spite of the wonderful opportunity knocking at the doors of Indian economy to catapult per capita income of India to a level at par with many of the prosperous countries as a result of huge technical and management resource, an awesome demography advantage coupled with an enormous demand for all kinds of consumer goods, infrastructure, housing and healthcare needs.Gods in the shape of global economic health and commodity prices are helpless in the current scenario and the various demons of Indian economy and governance are pulling it down  with all their might and the Indian government appears to be a moot hapless observer to the whole process. The various demons are described in the following paragraphs:
Politicians of all hues who are only clamouring for their own share of the  pie of national loot by providing oxygen to the sick government through their votes and support. Sharad Pawar, Ajit Singh, Mulayam Singh and Ms Mamta Banerjee are guilty of asking for plum ministries and huge packages for their states. In  normal parlance such activity  would be termed as blackmail. But strange are the ways of polity and they like to term it as politics. So much so every single vote owner, be it from the main ruling party or its supporting parties, has to be kept in good humour at the cost of good economics, good governance and good politics.
  • CORRUPTION and BLACK MONEY DEMONS 
    • Individuals including a vast majority of legislatures, members of executive machinery dealing in public works, procurement and inspection, excise and taxation, law enforcing agencies.
    • Realty sector including sale purchase, renting etc. and all businesses associated with construction, materials, fittings etc that go in a building.
    • Natural resource sector allocations: A few notable examples are spectrum, coal and iron ore, river bed quarries etc..
    • Tax avoidance by a vast majority of self employed professionals including architects, advocates, medical practitioners, businesses in the small and medium sector particularly in the auto parts, hotels, restaurants, Dhabas, sweets/confectionery, snacks, savouries producers and sellers to name only a few.
  • POLICY DICTATING DEMONS
    • Nuclear industry lobby
    • FDI in retail lobby
  • POLICY PARALYSIS DEMONS
  • BAD ECONOMICS and BAD GOVERNANCE
Good Economics and Good Governance is Ideal;
Bad Economics and Good Governance is A Compromise;
Bad Economics and Bad Governance is A Disaster;


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

INDIAN GOVERNMENT DECISIONS :MOTIVATED by POLITICS and CORRUPT GOVERNANCE

Indian government is bogged down by complete policy paralysis as far as economic decisions are concerned because it always wants to play with the public sentiment and vote catching rhetoric.It conveniently turns a blind eye to desirable executive decisions because these decisions hinge upon corruption mitigation and efficient governance which Indian polity in general can ill afford to undertake because it closes so many avenues of the so called economic empowerment plank which gives them a loyal set of cronies and stooges who ensure votes for them through their influence and vote buying abilities.
A few decisions which the government is boasting about to be path breaking for the up lifting of general masses only smack of their effort of  vote catching alone. No doubt what is proposed in these decisions is very catchy but the way it is proposed to be carried out is in fact against the progress of the country and provides a great fill up to the corrupt governance being provided by these blood sucking tics honourably called politicians.
  • Right to education: A bill has been passed without even a single additional education seat being added anywhere in the country. The only much touted decision of reservation of seats in the existing schools for the poor of the country confirms to the age old adage  'rob Peter to pay Paul' as no seats were lying vacant in any of the schools and the overall educated bank of the country remains the same.In 60 plus years of ineffective and poor result yielding policies, these guys have failed to learn their lessons that bringing in prosperity through redistribution of wealth, resources,  amenities  and other assets of the nation is not the solution to the miseries of 1 billion plus suffering Indians. They are still continuing with their vote catching pill and fooling the voters. 
  • Food Security Bill: Another much touted legislative action with all good intentions on paper but with a horrendous hidden agenda of reaping the benefits of gross mismanagement of procurement, distribution, getting one's name in the list of beneficiaries, addition of fictitious beneficiaries and no provision for revisions in these lists of beneficiaries. Assuming that India grows at 6.5% plus can it ever happen that majority of beneficiaries will be out of this list. No; with India's record of governance motivated by corruption and considerations other than the merit of the case, and political compulsions of the government of the day, these systems will become the never ending drag on the Indian economics as the earlier Ration Card Scheme ( wherein 75% of heavily subsidised kerosene, subsidy element of about Rs30000 crore and 70 % of food subsidy is lost in administrative costs, thefts and pilferages etc) and other subsidies like diesel, cooking gas.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ENERGY SECURITY OPTIONS : GLOBAL TRENDS

There is a big debate going on regarding energy security options available to mankind and it has gained momentum in the light Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and global warming as a result of greenhouse gases produced by human activity such as deforestation and fossil fuel burning. The route taken by any country is going to be governed by mineral resources under its soil, available renewable energy resources, technologies available to it, the far sight and wisdom of its polity and people. A close look at the global trends in the field of energy additions can be of great help in understanding the right and wrong of available energy security options like power from coal, oil and gas, nuclear power, power from renewables like solar, wind, hydro,  geothermal, ocean and biomass. 
German story: 
Japanese Story:
  • Thermal Power and Nuclear power has been the mainstay of energy requirements from 1960 onwards accounting for 65% and 25 % respectively but after Fukushima Daiichi disaster all the nuclear plants have been closed for safety reviews and strong  public outcry has been growing for no to nuclear power.The Japanese government also seems to be inclined to phasing out of all nuclear plants. 
  • In its quest of providing energy security to the nation, Japan with its limited renewable energy resources is counting on Mongolia for wind power and is investing heavily in Sahara desert solar power potential.


Chinese Story:
  • China is targeting 21 GW of solar, 100 GW of wind and 13 GW of biomass power capacity by 2015. Further on it has endorsed a plan to step up to an installed capacity of 50 GW of solar power, 200 GW of wind power and 30 GW of biomass power by 2020.
  • Since it has massive military ambitions to be the topmost global power it aims to have 40 GW of nuclear power capacity by 2015 and about 60-70 GW by 2020.The programme seems to be guided by military ambitions alone.
US Story: 
  • USA one of the biggest propagator of nuclear energy for energy security option has only 19.66% of its electricity from nuclear energy and equally surprising is the fact that no new additions have been made to this much touted solution since the 3 mile accident in 1979. Also more than 50% of the Americans oppose any additions to country's nuclear energy as an energy security option.
  • In 2011 the additions in wind and solar energy were 6.7 GW and >1 GW respectively. The total installed renewable capacity being 93 GW second only to China.
  • Recently US has started envisaging ultra large scale solar power projects like the one for New York with a capacity of 2 GW.
These are just a few examples of the thought process of the major economic powers of the world. Since Germany and Japan are not inclined to jump onto the band wagon of nuclear weapon states they are purely guided by what is best for their country and its citizenry. Though China has very strong military super power ambitions, the fact that it still seems to be leading in the race to embracing renewables speaks volumes for the unmatched advantages of these technologies in the immediate future and for centuries to come. USA's actions and performance don't match its publicly declared love for nuclear energy option for long term energy security.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bring back black money to help economy, not FDI: Baba Ramdev
NAGPUR: Yoga guru-turned-social activist Baba Ramdev believes that the country's sagging economy would not need any foreign direct investment (FDI) if black money deposited in foreign banks is brought back. Ramdev was in the city on Monday as part of a countrywide tour to gather support for his agitation starting on August 9 in the capital.
"Our agitation is for bringing back black money stashed abroad, for having a strong Lokpal bill and also to help people at large develop a strong character that is needed for an overall change in the system. US President Barack Obama has been advocating FDI in India but our economic condition is certainly not his business. FDI will only help American companies and sadly even our prime minister sometimes speaks like a CEO of such companies," said Ramdev.
DEP adds solar energy system to roof | RenewablesBiz
Jul 19 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - George Hohmann Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.
The first solar energy systems installed on a state government agency building are about to begin producing electricity and hot water at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's headquarters in Kanawha City.
The department has installed two systems on its roof: A solar photovoltaic system that converts sunlight into electricity and a solar thermal system that uses heat from the sun to warm glycol, which in turn heats water.
The solar photovoltaic system consists of 108 modules that are connected into an array that takes up just over 5 percent of the roof surface. The 25-kilowatt installation is expected to generate about 15 percent of the building's electricity needs, or about 30,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year.
"That's like taking three 2,400-square-foot homes off the grid every year," said Greg Adolfson, the agency's sustainability officer.
Adolfson, who heads both solar projects, believes the photovoltaic system may produce enough electricity that the department will sell some to Appalachian Power Co. -- especially on weekends, when the building is almost empty.

Energy Security - Some Guiding Principles

Every nation on this globe is clamouring to find a solution to the problem of energy security and there cannot be a universal solution for every country. The solution has to be country specific depending upon the availability of energy source reserves and its aspirations of becoming only prosperous or catapulting itself to a new economic superpower.
  • Energy sources such as coal, oil, gas, uranium, solar energy, wind and hydroelectric potential etc. etc. and a solution has to be based on the right kind of mix of these energies. A country that does not have abundant coal or oil reserves or Uranium fuel cannot and should not base its energy security around power from these as it will always be exposed to economic and political blackmail.
  • Every country must aim at making use of its own technology strengths in the first place and look for solutions which will have least dependence on the technology provider for plant operation, repair, maintenance, fuel replacements and ultimately replacement capacities.
  • No environmental hazard, no catastrophical accident hazard, no extraordinary security provisions against theft, terrorist attack and blackmail, no major issues like waste disposal and dismantling of old plants.
  • The source reservoir should preferably be unlimited and there for all times to come.
Arab world has gained prosperity but is nowhere near to the status of an economic superpower. At best it can be said to be the super consumer of technology products of western world and will keep on sustaining the superpower status of these countries. The next wave of developmental economic activity on this globe is likely to take place in poor African and Asian countries who will realise their dreams on the strength of being rich in fuel and other natural resources. These countries are likely to be denied nuclear power and coal based power additions are likely to be curtailed because of carbon emissions. So the countries strong in power technologies from all renewable energy sources are going to gain tremendously.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Indian Energy security - the next gen growth engine

With an enormous requirement of about 6-7 lakh MW of additional power in the next about 2 decades to cater for the country's energy security, the Indian energy security could easily be the next gen growth engine and the route adopted to realise this security could lead to the status of economic super power provided the polity and the government take nationalistic decisions without getting cowed down by the economic and political power of the advanced western countries. In this highly competitive world no country is a well wisher of any other country. Every body is looking after its own economic benefit first, the other may gain as a by product. India and for that matter no country that has a potential of jeopardising the economic super power status of advanced countries in any field of economic activity has to be doubly careful for the direct and indirect strings attached, visible or hidden to any  help that is being promised. Giving technologies to smaller countries like Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand etc. that too in inconsequential fields of garment, apparel, shoe making industry, home appliances, computer hardware,electronics and auto mobile ancillaries to save on their own manufacturing costs. The small population of these countries could be easily elevated beyond the poverty levels and  see some benefits of industrialisation and prosperity accruing to them.
We have been witness to the horrendous effects of dependence and reliance on the technology and consumable resources in all walks of life, energy and power generation being no exceptions. We have seen the effect of cartelisation by the oil producers who have made full use of increased global demand by increasing the prices of oil many many folds. In the last decade India tried to depend on imported coal for its power generation requirements and coal prices have been doubled up by the exporting countries without even resorting to any cartelisation. Imagine what will happen if these countries also form an OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) like body to squeeze maximum benefits out of their natural resources.Why is India forgetting its own old experiences of nuclear power plants. India had sunk in a lot of money in nuclear power plants during seventies and eighties of twentieth century but could never run them efficiently ( so much so even today we are running them at 50% of the installed capacity ) because of consumable and critical technology denials by the same countries who are now claiming to be willing to help India out with nuclear power stations. What are the safeguards against the same story not being repeated again either through denial or asking for exorbitant prices for consumables and critical components. Incidentally India is even now being denied  research tools that are available with some of their own universities even. In such a backdrop Is Nuclear Power Option a Wise Option or A Fraud on the Nation .In any case Indian Energy Security, through nuclear power route is neither the next gen growth engine nor the means to attain economic super power status for the country. It is definitely the route to maintaining the economic super power status of western world by letting them fleece an aspiring India through sale of defunct and obsolete technology which is out of sync with realities of twenty first century and in the process building up their strengths in the various fields of renewable energy to harness the economic prowess of eternal in situ available energies.In fact they want to make best use of the huge opportunity that exists in an energy starved nation of 1 billion plus. Can Indian politicians and government make full use of this colossus opportunity of becoming global leaders and an economic super power knocking at their doors and not waste it in raising the prosperity level of its masses by a notch or two.
Renewable energy is the answer for all futuristic Energy security not only of India but of entire world and that is why the countries with vision like Germany, Japan etc. are bent upon phasing out nuclear power option at a rather rapid pace and adding up solar at a feverish pace..The yearly additions of renewable energy particularly of solar and wind energy are growing exponentially in spite of fossil fuel and nuclear energy cartels trying their best with powerful misinformation campaigns advocating their importance for global energy security. The reasons can be summed up as follows:

  • No deleterious effects on environment and thus ability to contribute in reducing global warming in the short run and taking it back to early twentieth century level in the long run.
  • In situ availability
  • Eternal availability in comparison to limited availability of all fuels.
  • Suitability for standalone requirements as also micro,mini and large grid systems requirements.
  • Immunity against inflation and other kind of price escalations as far as energy from the source is concerned.
  • No infra and logistics spends required to gain access at the power plant site as is required in case of all fuels.
  • With passage of time, power produced by renewable energy sources is only going to be cheaper and better through researches in the fields of better energy conversion, hybridisation, storage etc.
It is time to leave the beaten path and catapult Indian energy security effort to renewable and renewable energy sources alone to make best use of the opportunity window provided by enormous requirements of this energy starved nation of 1 billion plus to realise the dream of energy security in a reasonable time frame.