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Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2008 > August 2, 2008 > Nuclear Deal : Mr Prime Minister, Why this Haste?

Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 33

Nuclear Deal : Mr Prime Minister, Why this Haste?

Saturday 2 August 2008, by Kadempally Sudhakar

The entire nation is grappling with inflation, corruption, incompetent governance, food shortage, and farmers’ suicides; half the children below 12 years do not have access to drinking water and schools. Ours is a nation where only two brothers could corner 30 per cent of the country’s wealth by all means, including evading tax openly by importing Pushpak Vimanas as birthday gifts, and go scot-free. We should be proud of such dynamic entrepreneurs! Ours is a country which on the Human Development Index ranks 139 out of 174 countries (UNDP annual report) that is below our cousin Pakistan and above Cambodia. Ours is a country in which our Agriculture Minister develops cricket not agriculture and claims that cricket yields more money and larger market then agriculture and agri products. Our Finance Minister is more tied up with the Sensex and GDP about which 90 per cent of our people have no clue or stake in those affairs but he does not care for inflation. He and his ministerial colleagues are interested in giving a cell to each citizen to enable them to while away their time and encourage people watching porn TV programmes and vulgar movies 24 hours to keep them out of these worldly problems. Our Commerce Minister and Chief Ministers are more interested in producing beer and liquor than supplying drinking water to people who do not have access to it. Ours is a country where only five per cent control the minds and bodies of 40 per cent of the slippery, lazy and opportunistic middle class and the rest 55 per cent do not exist for them. Ours is a country of short- cuts with corrupt governance and polity assisted by other systems of our society. The Government of India, and especially the Congress-ruled States, treat the poor people as beggars and they are determined to make them invalid instead of creating choices for people to live in a dignified manner.

With this background our honourable PM is bent on signing 123 and gaining the 272 magic number at any cost. The UPA owes an explanation to the country on the nuclear deal. The UPA Government led by Manmohan Singh worked out a Common Minimum Programme in May 2004 (www.pmindia.nic.in/cmp.pdf) which outlined the framework for a coalition government’s limits of governance. As for the issues/programmes listed in the CMP, many have not been implemented or achieved like a separate State for Telangana for lack of consensus whereas the nuclear deal with the US does not even figure in the CMP. How should one view this—as an act of arrogance or surrender? Where is the consensus or who has given the UPA the right to sign the deal? And why this hurry when they signed the MoU only in 2005? All these years you have passed time conveniently and are now rushing with the deal when both the UPA and Bush administrations are fading away. What is the point in doing an advert campaign on the nuclear deal when the UPA doesn’t want even to discuss the deal in Parliament? Who is making mockery of whom? A party which has just got 153 seats out of 542 does not have any right whatsoever to take the country for a jolly ride with Bush.

SO far much has been written, talked and discussed about the deal. Notably the concerns and issues raised by Dr P.K. Iyengar, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, Dr A. Gopalakrishnan, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulation Board, Dr A.N. Prasad, former Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Mainstream, Vol XLVI, No 29) have not been answered but now the Congress has decided to rope in their pedestrian spokespersons to explain the deal to the public. What a shame on this country, its scientists, people! This is a clear example of how cheap our politics has become under none other than Manmohan Singh.

Let me give you a different perspective on the deal. Bush is equally desperate to sign the deal before he retires. What is the reason for his desperation, why is he reminding Manmohan Singh everyday to rush through with the deal? It is good for America, hence it is good for the world; and hence it is good for India. We should not be surprised if he issues a warning to India—if you do not sign the deal, India will be listed along with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan! This is Bush’s passion and love for India. We do not even have to sign the NPT. He tried enough to convince people all over the world about Saddam’s WMDs in Iraq and we all know what is happening there now.

Let us look at the civil nuclear programme all over the world especially for power generation. Nuclear energy contributes around 16 per cent of the total electricity generated in the world. In France it is 78 per cent, in Germany 32 per cent, in the US 19 per cent and in India 2.8 per cent is the contribution to its total generation. There are 438 commercial power stations all over the world which were mostly started in the seventies and eighties (International Energy Outlook Report 2002 and 2008 ref: www.eia.doe.gov). These were mainly located in developed countries and the erstwhile Soviet Union. Now this technology is being pushed by the developed nations into the developing world like China, India, Brazil and the South-East Asian nations for reasons known to all. The US could not build any new reactor in the last twenty years bowing to the public pressure. According to the International Energy Outlook 2008, there will be no increase in the capacity or production of power in the US by 2030, and one per cent less in the OECD countries. You will find the increase in the South, that is, India, China et al. After the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents, the West realises the danger of nuclear power generation. France, Germany, the UK have decided to cut or not go for further renewal of licenses to nuclear companies.

If it is eco-friendly, cost effective, good for America, why is Bush not increasing the capacity of nuclear energy in the US and why is he trying to dump it in poorer countries? Both Bush and Manmohan Singh should answer this question. Australia is a Nuclear Supplies Group country but without a single nuclear power station! Now the NSG countries want to dump their nuclear material in India and China.

It is a different matter that Opposition parties are against the deal for wrong reasons and some parties are engaged in deals over the N-deal with the UPA.

Sixtyfive per cent of Indian oil imports are being used for the transportation sector. It would have been gratifying if Manmohan Singh announced a cut in oil imports and imposed heavy excise duty and luxury tax on personal vehicles, built public transportation systems instead of the nuclear deal to meet the energy demands of the country. On the contrary the government is encouraging automobile companies in the country. What a grand vision our government has on environment, economics, and its people!

We still urge and beg Manmohan Singh and his government to re-look at the deal from the viewpoints of environment, safety and cost to the country, and let the country debate the issue at various fora including Parliament. If Bush goes some other Bush will come to sign. But why this haste on our part, sir?

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