“Prime Minister Modi and President Trump encouraged the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Westinghouse Electric Company to finalize the techno-commercial offer for the construction of six nuclear reactors in India at the earliest date”.
India’s promise made in 2008 to purchase American nuclear reactors.
Because of serious concerns about cost and safety, the two organisations should have been told to abandon, not finalise, the proposal.
Electricity from American reactors would be more expensive than competing sources of energy.
Westinghouse is unable to guarantee the safety of its reactors.
U.S. presidential election in November.
6 reactors being offered to India by Westinghouse would cost almost ₹6 lakh crore.
The first year tariff for electricity would be about ₹25 per unit.
On the other hand, recent solar energy bids in India are around ₹3 per unit.
Lazard, the Wall Street firm, estimates that wind and solar energy costs have declined by around 70% to 90% in just the last 10 years and may decline further in the future.
Starting with the Tarapur 1 and 2 reactors, in Maharashtra, India’s experiences with imported reactors have been poor.
The Kudankulam 1 and 2 reactors, in Tamil Nadu, the only ones to have been imported and commissioned in the last decade, have been repeatedly shut down.
In 2018-19, these reactors produced just 32% and 38%, respectively, of the electricity they were designed to produce.
The fraction of electricity generated by nuclear power in India has remained stagnant at about 3% for decades.
Bottom or mirage?
Gross domestic product for 3Q: 4.7%
Manufacturing, which contributes just under a fifth to gross value added (GVA), was the biggest drag posting a 0.2% decline and extending the sector’s contraction into a second straight quarter.
Output at electricity and allied utility services also shrank 0.7%, reflecting lack of demand from becalmed factories.
And activity in construction, a generator of orders for goods from cement to steel, softened worryingly to a 0.3% expansion, prolonging the industry’s slowdown for a third consecutive quarter.
However, agriculture and the three largest services sectors, including public administration and defence, shored up overall GVA, with farm output expanding by 3.5% and the government centred services growing by 9.7%, according to NSO estimates.
IHS Markit India Manufacturing PMI for February pointed to an improvement in manufacturing.
Overall growth at the eight industries, averaged 2.2% in January, propelled by an 8% increase in coal production.
Still, a closer look at the actual numbers for private final consumption expenditure (PFCE) and gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) — key components of GDP — across the three quarters belies hope that the economy is out of the woods.
Fishy claims about cows
Recently, the Science and Technology Ministry called for R&D proposals under the inter-ministerial programme SUTRA-PIC India (Scientific Utilization through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows).
The programme calls for research proposals under five themes. Opening with the statement, “Indian cows are believed to process unique qualities and characteristics,” the document invites “systematic scientific investigation of uniqueness of pure indigenous Indian cows”.
Can cow urine and panchgavya (cow dung, urine, milk, curd, ghee) help treat cancer and other diseases?
Cow urine was used in ayurveda, but so was goat, camel and elephant urine.
Ayurveda practioners use beers, wines and meat, even that of cows, for different medical preparations and conditions. (The Legacy of Vagbhata, M.S. Valiathan).
While cow milk was generally preferred over goat’s milk, the latter was used to treat tuberculosis.
Rather than glorify cow excreta and urine, a more scientifically valid enterprise would be to have the Ministry of Ayush undertake a serious review of ayurvedic texts and subject them to a scientific scrutiny.
Many concepts may get falsified, but a true science should not be afraid of falsification.
Dr. G.L. Krishna says, “A strict scientific attitude and a sympathy with traditional systems are both required in approaching our ancient medical classics. An approach bereft of the former leads to pseudoscience masquerading as traditional wisdom while that bereft of the latter leads to a hasty undermining of valuable medical experience.”
“Ayurveda does not have a clear approach for the management of diseases that do not manifest symptoms. While it does deal with eczema or psoriasis, which have symptoms, it does not have a clear protocol for the management of primary hypertension and diabetes when it is asymptomatic,” says G.L. Krishna, a practising ayurvedic doctor from Bengaluru, who is interested in Vedanta and Vedic literature.
“Further, cancer is a generic term used to describe a spectrum of diseases that result from abnormal cells that are rapidly proliferating. It is not a single disease. The concept of cell in Vedic times was still nascent. Therefore, it would be wrong to presume that ancient ayurvedic texts could have discussed a generic disease entity that results from abnormal cell proliferation,” he says.
Justice not done
The Delhi High Court’s handling of the petition seeking FIRs against the BJP leaders for their alleged hate speeches on February 27 amounts to abdication of constitutional duty.
Article 21, which every judge is bound to enforce provides, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
” Yet, the Bench presided by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Hari Shankar acceded to the Centre’s argument that “the time was not conducive to file FIRs related to the alleged hate speeches as the priority right now is to ensure peace” and adjourned the hearing to as late as April 13.
The Court apparently failed to consider that the loss of lives of more than 40 people, serious injuries to over 200 and damage to hundreds of houses and business establishments had taken place under the watch of the Delhi Police, directly under the control and supervision of the same Central government.
Providing the government time to file FIRs “at an appropriate time” is deeply disturbing.
Enforcement of law does not wait for “conducive” timings.
The Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court in Kedarnath Singh v.State of Bihar (1962) is a binding authority that lays out the meaning of sedition under Section 124 A.
“A citizen has a right to say or write whatever he likes about the government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder,” it points out.
It then elaborates: “It is only when the words, written or spoken, etc. which have the pernicious tendency or intention of creating public disorder or disturbance of law and order that the law steps in to prevent such activities in the interest of public order.”
The Delhi High Court also seemed to lose sight of the judgment of another constitution bench in Lalita Kumari v. Govt of UP (2013): “The registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognisable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.”
One cannot help feeling that the court has let the citizens down. For the same reason, the Centre represented by the country’s second highest law officer should also have been more circumspect.
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