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CEA bats for a nationwide power market

Sector has made strides on physical side, but needs to catch up on financial side India should have just one market for electricity, on the lines of the Goods and Service Tax (GST), said Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser. “When soft drinks can be sold throughout the country at one price, why can’t we have one tariff for electricity?” he asked. He was giving a talk on the theme “Co-operative federalism to foster reforms: the case for power sector,” organised by The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy here on Tuesday. ‘Multiple slabs’ The CEA said he was surprised to discover that States such as Bihar and Rajasthan had multiple tariff slabs for electricity. “There are slabs for pisiculture, small rabbit farm, panchayat municipalities...How can you run any market system where a commodity has 100, 200 prices depending upon when it is used, how it is used, where it is used... This kind of complexity leads to corruption,” he said. “We have here a system of protectionism... balkanised economic India... in order to sustain what are actually not so good and not so desirable policies at the level of every State... How can we create one market in India for power? The Constitution says, we are one nation. But we are not as far as electricity is concerned,” he said. According to Dr. Subramanian, India had made great strides in the power sector on the physical side. But it needed to catch up on the financial side. The power sector faced challenges on generation side, distribution front and market structure, he said. Since India “is not a one market for power” the choice was restricted to many agencies. The 2000 boom left in its wake a surge in thermal power capacity, he said. A combination of factors ranging from economic growth slowdown and subsidy-induced surge in renewable energy had affected the financial viability of these thermal plants, triggering a cascading effect across the spectrum. He also pointed to the inability of the political system to charge correct tariff for power. Though power was in the concurrent list, “the Centre has a stake,” he said. “In fact, it is absolutely first order of business for the Centre to make sure we are one India. We cannot be a balkanised India. In power, we cannot allow States to impose and create fragmented markets in India,” he added. Source: The Hindu , November 8, 2017. News report from: The Hindu Business Line. 2017 . ‘ CEA to States: Work towards one power market, a la GST ’, November 8. The Times of India . 2017 . " Common power market needed across country ", November 8. ET EnergyWorld . 2017 . " Common power market needed ", November 8. Indian Mandarins . 2017 . " CEA calls for single power market ", November 8.

Indira Gandhi was a naturalist and a reluctant politician: Jairam Ramesh

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi may have been viewed as an iron lady, but there is another lesser known dimension to her — a reluctant politician and a naturalist, said says Jairam Ramesh, Member of Parliament and former Union Minister. Discussing his latest book, Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature, at an event organised by the Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy her on Thursday, Ramesh said there is not much written about what she was as a person. “The sole objective of the book is to discover Indira Gandhi through her own eyes. To answer who she thought she was and whom she believed herself to be.” According to Ramesh, Gandhi was a reluctant politician who grew up in politics and did not know how to get out. She was also a naturalist, who was passionate about nature, which comes through the green initiatives taken during her period in office, Ramesh said. Most of her policies, he said, focussed on maintaining the ecological balance. India never had a Wildlife Protection Act, which prohibits shooting of animals, until 1972 when Gandhi passed the bill. Important wildlife sanctuaries such as Kalakkad and Bharatpur, and a legal framework to protect nature were introduced when she headed the government. The Clean Water Act and the Forest Protection Act were also along those lines. She instituted the Wildlife Institute of India. Ramesh said: “It is not just that. She was the first Prime Minister to talk about climate change in 1972 during the Stockholm Conference, when environment was not a major political issue like it is now.” But yes, he agreed that there were times when she took a wrong call, like the Kudremukh project in partnership with Iran, which was termed an ecological disaster. Despite that, Ramesh emphasised that as opposed to the authoritarian image, when it comes to matters concerning nature, she was anything but that. Source: The Hindu Business Line , July 6, 2017. News report from: The Hindu , 2017. ‘ Indira Gandhi was a reluctant politician: Jairam Ramesh ’, July 6.

Annual Lecture
Excluding minorities will hurt growth: Chidambaram

The following are links to news reports on the inaugural Annual Lecture organised by The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy. Modi govt. failed to drive economic growth despite favourable conditions, former Finance Minister says India cannot achieve economic growth in the long-term if it excluded the minorities and marginalised sections from the political process, cautioned veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram. Source: The Hindu , Chennai, March 13, 2017 Read More.. News reports from: The Hindu Business Line , 2017. " Allow non-performing bureaucrats to leave at the age of 40, says Chidambaram ", March 13. The Indian Express , 2017. " UP election 2017: BJP failed to field Muslim candidates, says Chidambaram ", March 14. Last accessed March 14, 2017. The Financial Express , 2017. " Assembly Election 2017:P Chidambaram questions BJP’s strategy in Uttar Pradesh elections ", March 14. Last accessed March 14, 2017. Business Standard , 2017. " BJP failed to field Muslim candidates, victory is debatable: P Chidambaram on UP elections ", March 14. Last accessed March 14, 2017. DNA , 2017. " Chidambaram questions BJP's strategy in UP elections ", March 14. Last accessed March 14, 2017. , 2017. " P Chidambaram Questions BJP's Strategy in UP Assembly Polls ", March 14. Last accessed March 14, 2017. The Times of India (Mumbai edition), 2017. " UPA should have nixed spectrum allocations: PC ", March 14. Last accessed March 14, 2017.