Friday, May 31, 2013
INDIA CALLING OR CRYING: TRUTH ABOUT INDIAN GOVERNMENT:
Today the truth and efficacy of Indian government,s quick fix / patchwork solutions to the economic problems being faced by the Indian economy was laid bare when the GDP growth figures for the year 2012-13 were announced and came to a dismal sub 5%, at a ten year low. Indian planners, economists and financial experts are failing to understand that the fundamental principles of economics and banking alone cannot end the miseries of the nation. In fact this reminds me about the end results witnessed by a mathematics enthusiast as is told to school students down the generations from times immemorial. A mathematician was to cross a rivulet near his village along with his family. After finding out the averages of both the water depth and height of members of the family, he ordered the family to march ahead. To his surprise none of the members could reach the other end of the stream. He checked and rechecked both the averages a number of times and when no anomaly came to light he simply remarked with astonishment. " The maths is absolutely right but how come the family got drowned???".
The same seems to be dilemma of Indian rulers. They are simply ignoring the crucial fact that all theories work under suitable conditions. In fact the sooner they realize the importance of economics, governance and inflation in India, the better it will be for the country. We have seen the negative effects of trying to reign in inflation through monetary policies alone and have ended up with massive slow down of economy. For managing current account deficit no worthwhile effort has been made and if India is a little better placed today it is because of international prices of crude and gold have come down temporarily. God bless the country once the uptrend in the prices resumes!!!!!
The so called reforms undertaken by the government are supposed to make better atmosphere for more investments by the foreign investors but it could attract only FII money and hardly anything has come through FDI route which could have been a real force multiplier. This would happen only when the Indian government could convince the world about its intentions of providing good corruption free governance and a will to do something that is good for Indian growth at higher rates around 9-10%.
The fiscal deficit control through reducing oil subsidy only to give government leverage to go ahead with food security bill and by divestment by selling country's jewels are again negative means and will do more harm than any good to the economy. These improvisations may win a battle for UPA in the next election but India will definitely lose the war for becoming prosperous and global economic super power.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Recently the Russian ambassador, Alexander Kadakin made a statement that Nuclear power is the future for India and contended that even if India buys all the oil in the world it will not suffice even for its energy requirements in the near future.The statement is nothing but a weak attempt to look after the interests of the nuclear cartel of nations, Russia being one of the major seller of this technology.
Yes it is a fact that even if India buys all the oil in the world it will not suffice even for its energy requirements in the near future. But will some sane person attempt to answer a simple fact if India utilizes a small fraction of all the solar energy falling on its geographical area what will be the situation? This will never be answered by nuclear energy technology sellers and it is for the polity/policy makers of countries like India to understand who are fortunate enough to receive tremendous amounts of solar energy because of favourable geographic position.
To day the cost of building and operating a mid sized nuclear power plant ( say 500 MW ) is about 15 billion dollars and it takes about 15 years if all goes well to actually produce power from these plants. The pros and cons of going ahead with nuclear energy have been debated over the last few decades all over our globe and in fact nuclear power is our worst enemy. It is a curse that will perhaps continue to pester humanity and thrust towards renewable energy sources will keep on languishing till the world runs out of all kinds of fuels and is left with no other alternative than to make use of renewable energy sources.
Let us for a moment forget all the thorns attached with nuclear energy. Let us buy the cost effectiveness logic given by the protagonists of nuclear power to provide weightage to their technology and logic by ignoring many aspects of cost calculation. True cost analysis of nuclear energy should cover capital cost, fuel cost, running cost, arrangements for stopping theft and pilferage of nuclear material, safety against terrorist groups, full arrangements for full compensation in case of a blow out for immediate damage/losses and losses resulting in even after two or three decades, decommissioning cost of a life expired plant and management of nuclear wastes and above all vulnerability to political and economic blackmail by the fuel suppliers and even the cost of transmission and distribution infrastructure and accompanying power losses. In fact the cost effectiveness of nuclear energy is a fraudulent myth being propagated solely by nuclear power technology sellers to get the best out of (wrong and out of sync with the realities of 21st century) investments made by them in research, technology and infrastructure development over the years. These guys are by design comparing the costs for a central mega power generation plant with huge transmission and distribution infrastructure whereas for solar the punch line is " solar is simple, keep it simple to retain its edge ".
The quick response capability of solar power should outweigh everything in a developing country like India. Compare the value addition the solar energy route will provide vis-a-vis the nuclear energy route. If a country opts for a 15 billion nuclear power plant, the money deployed annually will not yield any result for 15 years and any addition to the economy as a result of this plant will accrue from 16th year onward. In the case of solar option, the 1 billion dollars spent will produce a capacity of 35 MW in the first year itself and 35 MW getting added to the power generation capacity each subsequent year available for use. In fact it means that the country will have on an average an additional power generation capacity of about 250 MW for all these 15 years. The impact of cumulative and snow balling effect of value addition to the industrial output or to the comforts of the citizenry as the case may be on the march to prosperity will be tremendous and cannot be ignored by any true planner or ruler.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
All life on our planet, be it human, animal or plant owes its very existence to the solar energy. The food chain, the carbon cycle and the hydrology or water cycle are all there because earth is lucky to have sun shining over its surface. The enormity of sun as a source of energy can be gauged by the fact that “In 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.” and over and above that this energy has been falling over earth's surface ever since earth came into existence and will continue to fall till eternity. Additionally solar energy is the mother of other energy sources like wind, tidal and even hydro. Compared to this all much talked about other 20th century energy sources like coal, petroleum, natural gas and nuclear fuel have started their journey towards depletion.
In the light of all this the very idea of harnessing solar energy for energy security on this globe should be the most outstanding idea that ever came to humanity. In fact this could easily qualify to be invention of the human civilization, far too bigger and revolutionizing than the invention of wheel.
In a factual scenario as mind boggling as the one seen above, it is not difficult to understand Why thrust towards renewable energy sources is languishing. It is only the hidden agendas and motivated vested interests of political leaders, industrial cartels/mafias, scientific and technical power groups which will keep on delaying the inevitable as long as possible.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Twenty first century belongs to Asia and India is potentially one of strongest contender for emerging as an economic superpower. This opportunity window is there for the asking but will it happen or not is the question, the entire Indian citizenry is holding its breath for. Happening of this miracle depends totally on the wisdom, vision, far sight and honesty of purpose of the Indian leadership. There is no doubt about the wisdom of the men at the top but sadly majority of their actions are guided by their baser instincts like lust for gaining power and sticking to it by fair means or foul. This more often than not results in their actions leading simply to vote catching rhetoric in stead of furthering the cause of India's march to prosperity and status of economic superpower.
The economic superpowers/giants of today are at that position not by a stroke of luck but because of the ability of their leaders to guide the destiny of those nations in the right manner.Mind you at the turn of the 20th century these countries were economically perhaps worse off than where India is today. This does not imply that it should take India something like five or six decades to realize this potential of economic superpower. As a matter of fact, India should be galloping on the road to prosperity because it does not have to tread on the same beaten path of science,engineering and technology evolution unless and until it is foolish enough to experience reinventing of wheel all by itself.
There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. There are many pitfalls on the road to becoming an economic giant. India must learn from the experience of others and try to nip these pitfalls at the earliest. The challenges that need to be looked into and overcome for realizing what is there for the asking.
- The first and foremost is curbing the menace of corruption and black money. In fact it is corruption and corruption alone which is blowing away Indian dream of getting prosperous. The country must understand that corruption and black money is the biggest drag on its economy and is eating into all the good work being attempted by governments in a very big way. There cannot be a substitute for corruption mitigation and good governance - the biggest growth engines for Indian economy.
- The present economic downturn and melt down in global economy is a result of overdoing of social welfare by those countries and if they could not sustain with excesses of social welfare schemes there is no way the Indian economy in its very infancy can pull off this miracle. In fact social welfare schemes have been the bane of many advanced economies of the world and these include allowances to jobless, pensionary benefits, health insurance etc. to name a few. There is no doubt that these are a must for any concerned government but all these benefits must be granted in a manner that they are self sustaining and in no case, at any point of time be a drag on the economy. India must learn from the horrid experiences of the western world and imbibe remedial measures to keep its date with the status of an economic superpower of 21st century.
- Reigning in population growth should be the topmost agenda of all Indian governments. In late fifties and early sixties of last century, everyone was engrossed in the debate ' Is India Overpopulated ' and invariably one would come to the conclusion that India was certainly not overpopulated in the true economic sense as the land/mineral resources could certainly more than suffice for a population density of about 270 persons per sq. mile. Can we say the same with the present population density of about 750/ sq. mile. India is definitely on the verge of getting overpopulated if not already overpopulated. Today we talk of the demographic dividend but after a couple of decades this dividend is going to become a curse with more and more persons joining the ranks of pensioners and enjoying these benefits for very long periods because of increasing life expectancy as a result of good medical care and facilities provided by the Indian government. While the western world grew old after becoming rich, there is every likelihood that India will grow old before getting rich if the long term impacts of population numbers and demography are not taken care of now.
- Proper and out of the box management of water resources of India. comprising of perennial rivers, plenty of rainfall and underground water table. All civilizations and all prosperous geographies on our globe owe their very existence to the abundance of available water resource in their areas. Though India has been gifted by nature with a huge and well distributed water resource comprising of perennial rivers, plenty of rainfall and underground water table but the nation has not bothered to maintain it properly. This is amply seen in the snowline moving higher and higher and the groundwater table going deeper and deeper. This being a direct result of shoddy policies of the government emanating from quest for energy security through use of fossil fuels, deforestation because of pressures of growth in population and failure to harness any substantial amount of river water, in fact a major portion of this water is allowed to go to sea.
- Infrastructure is the core of all economic growth and index of a common man's comfort and conveniences and its importance is very well understood by the planners and economists. But simply raising the rhetoric is not enough. The nation is eagerly looking forward to some concrete action which is getting sacrificed at the altar of good governance. In fact India is plagued by bad governance in road and infrastructure sector.
- Energy security : If infrastructure is the core, energy security is the mother of all economic growth and much to the chagrin of all well meaning citizens of India is not only prey to bad governance but the path taken by the rulers and planners is directionless and not in sync with the futuristic realities of energy security scene all over the globe. India must draw strength from the fact that the oil rich countries have simply transformed their economies by getting the best out of their abundantly available energy source i.e. oil. Luckily for India, it has abundant solar, wind and hydro resources and in fact many times more than the country's likely requirements by the turn of the century. The thrust in researches and technology development should logically come from India whose needs during the next decade or two for additional power are may be 5 times its present power production. With the pluses of resource availability, massive demand and almost nothing to loose because of obsolescence of high value investments in research, technology and manufacturing infrastructure for any other power production mode, India must seize this opportunity which can be the biggest catalyst in India's march to the status of a global superpower.
- All human beings are inherently wedded to the philosophy of getting short term gains, the gains that bring reward to the person in quickest possible time. The short term solution or patchwork may appear to be lucrative for the run of the mill polity but the long term fixes are a must for India, the potential superpower of the 21st century. Statesmen think of next generation and create opportunities, Leaders Seize opportunities that come their way, while Politicians think of next elections and fritter away these opportunities and dirty politicians simply mess up everything and this is what separates wise men from men, men from boys and boys from impudent louts in the realm of changing fate of a nation.
Friday, May 10, 2013
INDIA CALLING OR CRYING: RAILWAY MINISTER RESIGNS AT LAST: At last the railway minister of India, Mr Bansal resigns. The media is happy, the opposition is happy and even the ruling combine is happy...
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The government of India, a government sans governance and the ruling polity has always been objecting to the judicial activism of the Indian courts in all matters relating to governance and felt that it was intruding into the government domain even though it was absolutely necessary in the light of total inaction by the government in all matters of public interest and welfare. It was most surprising to see the apex court proclaiming that fear of nuclear disaster has no basis. It should be appreciated that science and technology is as bankrupt as it was fifty years back and tries to fix up the faults as are thrown up by accidents and occurrings from time to time. The safety teams are playing around with collation of statistical data of functioning of a multitude of components, mechanical behaviour and failure of structures and the materials and trying to overcome these through redundancy and reliability.
All these exercises were carried out before commissioning power plants at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima but as providence will have it some new unknown factors came into being and these catastrophic accidents occurred. Let us all understand that nuclear energy safety has been a false promise and will continue to be the same for all times to come. Humanity has suffered heavily because of ironic claims of 100% safety but we in India seem to be none the wiser from the experiences of others. These ominous words contained in the judgement "Nobody on this earth can predict what would happen in future and to a larger extent we have to leave it to the destiny" should not be taken lightly as the stakes are not the same as that of an automobile accident. The decisions must be weighed in the light of the quantum of risks of catastrophic accidents in nuclear power plants.
There has got to be something horrendous in nuclear power play. We must try to analyse why even the so called masters of nuclear power technology are themselves shying away from this energy. No new plant has come up on the soil of USA since 1980. Germany and Japan have decided to phase out all nuclear energy. So much so even the French have decided to go in for reductions in their dependence on nuclear energy.
While nobody can deny the requirements of energy for the sunny future of the masses of India as brought out in a report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which highlights that to sustain rapid global economic growth, it is necessary to double the supply of energy and tripling supply of electricity by 2050. Further, it is stated billions of poor people need energy and other life-saving and job-creating technologies.” But today we have better alternates available to realise our aims. It will be criminal to bank upon a technology which is in an obsolescence phase because of thorns attached to it and not in sync with the vision and aspirations of 21st century. India does not need nuclear power for its energy security. Let us hope that wisdom prevails on Indian rulers and polity.
Monday, May 6, 2013
INDIA CALLING OR CRYING: COALGATE INVESTIGATIONS FOR PROTECTING NATIONAL I...: India has witnessed a host of scams during the rule of the present government. It is a pity that no investigation seems to be reaching the...
Saturday, May 4, 2013
21st century belongs to Asia , the oft repeated words of Indian prime minister along with a host of other assessors and analysts of world economy and on paper India is perhaps the strongest contender. This global opportunity because of a combination of factors like favourable demography, cheap labour, abundant human resource of all skills and levels and above all perhaps the right time for an impending change in global economic order because of slowing down of developed economies, depletion of their resources and gross overspending on social welfare measures.
The Indian nation and polity understands this fully but the polity chooses to ignore comfortably the first and foremost condition of corruption mitigation and good governance for such revolutions to occur in the history of a nation. Not even a single day passes without the surfacing of a new scam or reports of large scale corruption by mighty and powerful of the nation. The apathy of the government is reflected in the fact that hardly anyone gets punished or money gained through illegal and dubious means recovered. On the contrary the whole polity divides itself into two teams, one vouching for that nothing has gone wrong and that the powerful are not involved while the other raises the rhetoric of asking for the head of individual name involved. The mudslinging and rhetoric created goes on with complete understanding that the gains and losses must be confined only to the aim of getting votes. It is always ensured that no personal or financial harm should come to any individual.
The nation, citizenry and the common man is suffering because of corruption, bribe and black money generation and is well aware of the massive magnitude of these problems. But strangely, the total polity of the country makes an all out effort to undermine the extent, so much so that it is taken to be a minor aberration in the total financial activity of the nation. The most recent case of involvement of a relative of a minister involved in a bribe for the promotion of a railway officer is a typical eye opener to the extent this malaise is eating into the national wealth and hampering India's dream and chance of becoming world leaders. This particular officer's total earnings of the last ten years will not amount to the princely sum of Rs. 90 lakhs, the amount paid as the bribe. This throws open two basic questions. Firstly, the amounts that are being earned through dubious means in this country and secondly the scope of earning much bigger amounts with the likely promotion.
This is as far as the colossus bribe is rampant in Indian government and is a minuscule sample of what has come to light. There is another angle to this which is all the more shameful and deleterious to the growth of nation. The minister in question says that he has no business dealings with this relative as if corruption is a business and he wants the country to believe that all corrupt people have scripted business partnerships with their relatives, cronies and stooges for bribe and corruption money. The officer who paid the bribe was an idiot who paid the bribe without ascertaining that it will produce the desired result by reaching the person concerned.
The country is getting ruined in this game and corruption is blowing away Indian dream of getting prosperous. Corruption has given two separate and distinct methodologies for the functioning of executive and the legal process. Executive thrives on the motto of 'How not to do a thing instead of how to do it' and the legal process thrives on 'How to save a guilty rather than how to nail him' and this is such a win win situation for the persons who are mired in corruption. They not only eat, drink and sleep corruption, they breed corruption too. If such are the nationalists of this country, the persons working under oaths, persons subject to some semblance of controls and accountability, imagine the state of persons who are under no oath and are accountable to no agency.