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In Support of the Nuclear Deal

By Vinay

If, on 22nd July Mr.Manamohan Singh manages to win the vote of confidence, he will be remembered by the generations to come not because he staked his government for the deal but because he withstood the onslaught of naysayer and stuck to the conviction that the deal was good for India.

If on 22nd July the government falls, few years from now India will lament for the lost opportunity that was denied to the man of vision Manmohan Singh, our Prime Minister. It would be foolish to assume that he staked his government for the sake of credibility alone. Power is an addictive. For those people who are in power want more power. They refuse to abdicate and resort to easiest of tactics to save the throne.

If Manmohan Singh wanted he could have heeded to the Left’s pressure and acted as political subordinate of the Left, but he knew what he was doing, he knows what is good for India of the future.

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The country is facing a “severe power crisis,” particularly the southern and western regions. The poor monsoon in the south and parts of the west and the east has compounded the problem.

In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam, Haryana and Punjab, power cuts are becoming increasingly common, as the States face a huge deficit.

The “unfortunate failure” of some power projects has aggravated the problem. The 300 MW Sabarigiri hydro power project in Kerala failed in May this year and it will take two years to be revived. The 440-MW Kalpakkam Atomic Power plant is generating only 190 MW due to shortage of uranium. An explosion in the 210 MW Raichur thermal power station three weeks ago has rendered the project powerless.

Generation at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation project is short by about 650 million units due to shortage of lignite and this has badly hit south India.

The 1500-MW Nathpa Jhakri Power Corporation project was shut down recently due to excessive silt, aggravating the power crisis in the northern States of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Punjab and Haryana.

According to the quarterly report of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for April-June 2008, energy generation in June was 56411 million units against a target of 64037 million units. The energy generation growth was 2.34 per cent compared to the same month last year, against a projected 12.19 per cent. Generation growth rate was 1.89 per cent, against a projected 7.07 per cent during April-June.

The Hindu, 18th July, 2008

You do not need starker example than this.

You must realize that when the deal was announced in July 2005 the power situation was not this worst. Our Prime Minister with a foresight of a visionary endorsed the deal with all his might. India, if it wants to be a superpower one day it needs more power and electricity. Nuclear energy may not alone be the panacea, but it will certainly help India tighten energy security in the future.

The deal would help India to come out of three decades of nuclear hibernation. Our three stage nuclear programme can not move forward without the deal, because the deal provides us with uninterrupted supply of uranium that is required by our 17 PHWRs (Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor). They in turn provide enriched fuel for FBRs (Fats breeder Reactors) which copmrise our second stage. And our third stage nuclear programme i.e. thorium based reactors (AHWRs) can work only after we master first two stages. India plans to add 20,000 MWe by 2020. In the current scenario it is not possible because of short supply of fossil fuels, their increasing costs, and the gambling with the monsoon on which our numerous hydro power stations are dependent. With the deal in place India can successfully add 40000 MWe by 2020.

In 2006, India’s per capita power consumption was 631 kilo Watt Hours as against Canada’s 17179, U.S.’s 13338 and China’s 1800 kWhs. Between 1996 -2004 China increased its per capita power consumption from 680 kWh to 1680 kWh. National Electricity Policy, 2004 of India envisaged to increase PCP consumption to 1000 kWh by 2012. Looking at present levels we are shockingly far behind from realizing that goal.

I think the present Nuclear Deal is the only one which has been negotiated keeping in mind the future generations of India.

Our Prime Minister can see what others can not and he is doing what others could not. The BJP is blinded by jealousy and the Left is paralyzed by its irrelevant ideology. For the communist parties in India their ideology is supreme even if it means dragging nation into the Paleolithic age. Even in 1994 there was so much uproar by the Left parties, BJP and Janata Dal when then Congress government signed the GATT agreement along with other 117 member countries. They had feared the surrendering of India’s sovereignty by the congress government. Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister then.. Anti-Americanism can not solve India’s quest for energy and supremacy. Pragmatically speaking, India needs US and US needs India in the 21st century.

Mr.Manmohan Singh is the best Prime Minister made worst by the circumstances. He certainly is the weakest Prime Minister of our time not by his personality but by the compulsions. He will be sad for the rest of his life for he couldn’t realize his grandest dreams for India.

Had he become the PM of India in the best of times he would have been remembered as the Colbert of India by my Grandchildren. He surely is our Deng Xiaoping. Without his visionary reforms in 1991-92 India would not have been what it is today.

Blame not the man for the current crisis blame the time, and blame his companions.