Friday, January 31, 2014


The President of India, Sh Pranab Mukherjee during his address to the nation on the eve of 65th Republic day greeted the nation and talked about the the murky state of affairs engulfing the Indian nation as a result of fractured mandates in elections and the economic crisis India along with the rest of the world is facing these years. His observations on corruption and hypocrisy finding place in his address to the nation only show how deep these maladies are in the Indian system of politics and governance.
"Corruption is a cancer that erodes democracy, and weakens the foundations of our state. If Indians are enraged, it is because they are witnessing corruption and waste of national resources. If governments do not remove these flaws, voters will remove governments." 
Corruption mitigation and good governance can be the biggest growth engines for Indian economy and cannot be allowed to be ignored by any government.Strange is the coincidence that he too like all members of the ruling combine thinks in terms of voters removing these governments whereas the only logical answer to corruption mitigation is to punish all such offenders legally in a quickest possible time.
"Equally dangerous is the rise of hypocrisy in public life. Elections do not give any person the licence to flirt with illusions. Those who seek the trust of voters must promise only what is possible. Government is not a charity shop. Populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance. False promises lead to disillusionment, which gives birth to rage, and that rage has one legitimate target: those in power."
Government is certainly not a charity shop but for all these years, our leaders have been deriving their prowess to win elections and rule this country through doles, freebies and subsidies.Mr. President you were also wedded to such practices when you were in active politics.Or is it that such practices are in the best interests of the citizenry when the established parties dabble in them and if a new player steals the thunder from under the feet of the established players, government becomes a charity shop. And lastly are we to understand that corruption cannot be routed and hence no one should make this promise. 


The Lok Sabha elections 2014 are a few months away and the total Indian polity is on full view at its best worst.At my age I have been a witness to all the general elections of independent India. As far as I recall, the first three elections witnessed some element of sacrifice and service to the nation ( nation implying both, the country and its people at large ) amongst the members who chose public life as a profession. As the years rolled by in the history of independent India, men with a taint of being corruptible at the very first opportunity started flocking in the glamorous world of politics. To start with these people will succumb to baser instinct of lust for power. It was tolerable though neither desirable nor acceptable.With passage of time, the other baser instincts of man, like wine, woman and money gained ascendancy over all the virtues of life and the members of polity started becoming a abhorred class for the silent majority of hapless sufferers of Indian citizenry.
It is not just for nothing that India still remains one of the poorest countries on this globe. The politicians howsoever hard they may shout about the progress made in sixty five years of independence cannot hide the basic fact that more than seventy five percent of population still needs to be provided almost free rations, rations not to give them a wholesome meal but to keep them breathing and existing as per medical terminology. In fact one keeps on wondering if India is progressing or regressing.
In this scenario of reality, a new perfect recipe for being a successful politician in India has been evolved and salient features of this recipe are as under:
  • Hone your skills to fool the masses by talking big, idealistic and talking in terms of solutions that may take ages to fructify.
  • Forget the country and its citizenry, think about yourself and yourself alone in all your deeds.
  • Never forget the old adage " Money makes the mare go ". So concentrate fully on gathering money for self, your near and dear ones, your stooges and cronies.
  • Natural resources and national wealth are meant to be plundered by mighty and powerful of the system. Let it happen unabashedly, for this plunder is the mainstay of party coffers and election funding which in turn are mainstay of your existence.
  • To cover up your own misdeeds, allow everyone in the state machinery to have a share of loot through corruption, graft and bribe.
  • And finally to ensure that the legal process never catches up with the offenders allow it remain painfully slow so that by the time law manages to take its course after a few decades, no evidence can remain fool proof or by that time the offender has bid good bye to this world after enjoying the fruits of his offence.
  • And lastly, always look concerned and caring for the plight of the nation and its citizenry but manipulate showing helplessness because of your political adversaries.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

France struggles to cut down on nuclear power

 Cattenom nuclear power plant
The Fukushima disaster led many countries to rethink their view on nuclear energy. Germany plans to abandon it altogether, but French President Francois Hollande also wants to cut nuclear output sharply - by a third in 20 years. It's a big ask in a country that now relies on nuclear for 75% of its electricity.
If fully implemented, the pledge would force the closure of up to 20 of the country's 58 reactors according to Professor Laurence Tubiana a former government adviser who the president asked to facilitate a national debate, paving the way for what they call la transition energetique.
This would be a huge step, but Tubiana describes it as a "logical evolution".
France realised that Japan had survived economically when all its atomic power stations were shut down because of its diverse energy mix. In Japan, before the disaster, nuclear power delivered about 30% of the country's electricity, but France is hugely dependent not only on nuclear, but on a single generation of nuclear power stations.
It is vulnerable to a "generic risk", according to Tubiana, where a problem with one reactor could force them all offline for the fault to be fixed. This would cause chaos.
She says the 20 reactors closed in the "transition" could be replaced by renewable energy, which she says would maintain French energy independence and be both "stable and secure".
So far, however, the government has only earmarked one power station for closure - the ageing plant at Fessenheim on the German border - which prompts some to question the government's commitment to Hollande's promise.
Fukushima inspection 2013The Fukushima disaster prompted Germany to plan the closure of its nuclear power plants by 2022
There is evidently reluctance in cabinet. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg is on record as saying that Fessenheim will be the only nuclear power station to close.
On a visit to China in December he reassured his audience that nuclear energy was a "sector of the future" and would continue to contribute "at least 50%" of France's electricity output.
Another member of Hollande's Socialist Party, the MP Christian Bataille, says the plan to curb nuclear was hatched as a way of securing the backing of his Green coalition partners in parliament.
He describes nuclear power as the country's "only national energy source".

COLUMN-Nuclear power is set to disappoint, again: Kemp

Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:02pm IST

(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)

A member of the military band directs his comrades before the start of the rehearsal for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
By John Kemp
Jan 21 (Reuters) - Nuclear power is the energy dream that refuses to die, despite serious accidents at Windscale (1957), Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011).
Many of the arguments that were employed in favour of nuclear in the 1950s and 1960s as a solution to oil supplies running out are now being resurrected in favour of nuclear as a solution to climate change.
But the promise of safe, clean and reasonably priced nuclear power seems as far away now as it was 60 years ago. We are still waiting for the safe, cheap and reliable reactor designs that were promised in 1956.
Back in the 1950s, plentiful and cheap energy from fissioning uranium and thorium was seen as the only alternative to fast-depleting fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal.
Shell geologist M. King Hubbert is best known as the grandfather of "peak oil" for his theories about the imminent exhaustion of oil resources in the United States and around the world.
But he was also a strong advocate for nuclear power. The 1956 paper that made him famous explicitly linked it to peaking oil production ("Nuclear energy and the fossil fuels").
"It appears that there exist within minable depths in the United States rocks with uranium contents equivalent to 1,000 barrels of oil or more per metric tonne, whose total energy content is probably several hundred times that of all the fossil fuels combined," Hubbert wrote.
"The world appears to be on the threshold of an era which in terms of energy consumption will be at least an order of magnitude greater than that made possible by fossil fuels."
On a time-scale spanning millennia, "the discovery, exploitation and exhaustion of the fossil fuels will be seen to be but an ephemeral event".
By contrast, nuclear offered an energy supply adequate to meet the planet's needs for thousands of years.
Writing in the 1950s, when the United States and the Soviet Union were racing to build ever-bigger nuclear weapons, Hubbert could not be unaware of the perils associated with splitting the atom.

Nuclear scientists were still learning to master the peaceful uses of atomic energy to build utility-scale civilian power reactors.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Corruption, black money catch govt eye before polls | Business Standard

In what can be construed the  () effect, the Centre has expedited measures against graft and . After cracking down on Cyprus for not sharing information, the government is getting tough with other non-cooperating jurisdictions and setting up offices abroad to tighten the noose around evaders.

Prime Minister  has cleared the long-pending proposal to set up income-tax overseas units (ITOUs) in eight more countries,  officials said. Interestingly, the decisions came after the results of Assembly polls last month, characterised by Congress' defeat in four major states and the impressive debut of AAP in Delhi.

ITOUs, which facilitate and expedite the exchange of information process under double-taxation avoidance agreements (), were established in Mauritius and Singapore earlier. Later, the government announced to create ITOUs at Cyprus, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US. The decision, however, has come only now. India has been putting pressure on tax havens to share information in whatever way it can. DTAAs are being renegotiated and new Tax Exchange Information Agreements are being signed. When it blacklisted Cyprus for not sharing information, the move was to send a strong message to other tax havens that India could take a similar action against them.

Acting upon the list shared by France giving names of Indians with secret bank accounts in HSBC Geneva, the tax department has been issuing notices to people who are not sharing information. In this case, Finance Minister P Chidambaram recently wrote to Switzerland as without its help the Indian government cannot make much headway.
First National Wind Energy Mission to begin by mid-2014

NEW DELHI: The government will launch its first wind energy mission this year to give a boost to the renewable source and putting it in the same league as the high-profile solar mission. The 'National Wind Energy Mission (NWEM), which would be launched around the middle of the year, would give incentives to invest, east land clearances and regulate tariffs. But unlike the flagship 'National Solar Mission' it would not involve projects for bidding. It would act as a "facilitator", officials said.
"We wish to coordinate separate lines of action in the wind sector and involve all the stakeholders. Wind energy led to the establishment of renewable based power in the country but lately it has been marred by several issues," said Alok Srivastava, joint secretary (wind) in the ministry for new and renewable sources of energy.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


The Indian prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh yesterday was candid enough in accepting his government failures in controlling inflation, checking corruption and tackling unemployment which have been the major banes of his government during its tenure all through. In spite of all this how he could bring himself to he singing praises for the achievements of his government particularly when talking about the growth achieved during the last nine years. One starts wondering whether he is an overrated economist or an underrated politician. But one thing is quite clear that he could feed the nation on some statistics which as numbers are true but in true essence totally misleading. When inflation during all this period has been at a level of 10% and more, when the government salaries have doubled on account of increases in dearness allowance alone in the last seven to eight years, is the GDP increase a result of more production or a result of stagnant production with increased prices of goods and commodities due to inflation.The first mathematical guess appears to be suggesting a contraction in the overall produce. The nation will be grateful if the loyal statisticians of this insincere polity give out figures of produce in tonnage and numbers as the case may be, rather than the rupee value. The Indian nation is lucky that the inflation did not reach astronomical figures for then the polity perhaps would have fed the nation with growth rates exceeding even 20% and would have sought credit instead of being ashamed of their total failure.