Monday, December 26, 2011

"Only a thief will be afraid of investigation and police " - IAC on Lokpal Bill

PodUniversal Edition 145
India Against Corruption under the leadership of Anna Hazare has been fighting for a strong Lokpal bill to eliminate corruption in India.  Lokpal Bill is pending in Indian Parliament for more than 40 years and is not getting passed for one reason or other.  
The recent Commonwealth game scam, 2 G scam have triggered the anger of the general public and the anti-corruption movement in India has occupied the centre stage.  Even the recent Tamilnadu Assembly elections has proved the mood of the people.
Since corruption is affecting even the common man, this movement has brought together all the people across the Nation, irrespective of their age, caste, economic conditions, education, etc.
When Anna Hazare went on indefinite fast, demanding a strong Lokpal Bill during August 2011, the entire Lok Sabha assured the Nation to get a Lokpal bill passed in the winter session of 2011.  As promised, the Government of India has introduced a draft Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha on 23nd December 2011.  The draft bill is coming up for debate from 27th December 2011 in the Lok Sabha.  Meanwhile, Anna Hazare has also given a call for 'satyagraha and fast' from 27th December onwards and also to court arrest by way of 'Jail Bharo'.  Till this moment, around 70,000 youth in India have registered to go to jail, demanding a strong bill.
Even though, there are criticisms that IAC should not interfere with the functions of the Parliament, IAC is going ahead with their protest.
IAC is not happy with the present format of Lokpal Bill.  They want the investigation powers  and the Anticorruption wing of CBI to be brought under Lokpal.  
With this background, on behalf of PodUniversal, I interviewed Mr Murlidaran, an active volunteer of IAC, Chennai to share the views on behalf of IAC, as to the areas that are causing concern to them.
Please watch and listen to the podcast interview with Mr Murlidaran. (6 m 40 s).

This podcast may also be watched from the following link:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Is Anna Hazare boxed by coterie and self-centered persons?

Team Anna at Chennai on 18th Dec 2011
India Against Corruption, Chennai (IAC) had invited Anna Hazare to Chennai to address the Tamilnadu people.  After his acceptance of the invitation, Anna ji promised to visit Chennai via Bangaloru on 18th Dec, 2011.

Many people, irrespective of their state, education, religion and age started admiring Annaji for the past one year, after he took on the Central Government to bring Jan Lokpal.  Everybody, including me, started admiring his passion and will power to take on the Government.  When he was on fast during August, 2011, many of the members from India Vision Group also showed solidarity with him, by skipping one meal, sitting  at their place.  

Socially conscious people at Chennai were eager to have of glimpse of Anna Hazare, when he agreed to visit Chennai.  I have personally seen the enthusiasm level of youngsters.  Around 200 volunteers started working day and night ten days in advance to make the visit of Annaji a memorable one.   All of them spent their money out of their pocket in this process. 
Though there were lot of confusions about the visit of Annaji, these young volunteers involved themselves actively in the arrangement of venue, logistics for the meeting, media relations, arranging accommodation for Team Anna, travel arrangements, police security aspects, website and social media management, live webcasting of the event, sponsorship arrangement, publicity through posters and phamlets, etc.  All their activities were transparent and had frequent meetings within short time to ensure the proper arrangements.  I admire the involvement of around 200 young volunteers, who selflessly worked for the visit of Annaji.

Probably for the first time in Chennai, such socially relevant meeting attracted  ten thousand people at Pachayappa's College, the venue for the meeting.  Due to the efforts of media team, the entire national and regional media were present to cover the event.  While at Bangalore none of the Regional TV Channels covered live, here at Chennai, three popular Tamil channels covered the event live from the venue to reach the entire Tamilnadu population.

Then what went wrong and where?

While, Annaji has triggered the emotions of millions of youngsters across the nation, a closer look of Annaji's visit to Chennai revealed lot of hollowness and arrogance  in their top leadership.  Many people like me, who have been supporting IAC right from the beginning felt that Anna Hazare ji is more boxed by few coterie and selfish people.  Annaji, due to his age (74) not able to  do anything.  I share with you some of my first hand information.

Insulting rural leader

1.  The young volunteers team had planned to introduce Anna ji through Mr Elango, Former President of Koothappakkam Panchayat (a national award winner for creating model village).  Particularly when the regional channels were telecasting live throughout Tamilnadu and because Annaji was focussing on rural development in his speech, this gesture could have sent a right signal to all the rural Tamilnadu.  It appears, in the last minute, the top leaders of IAC at Chennai did not favour a rural man to introduce Annaji and preferrred to show their face through channels.  Mr Elango had come to the venue with his rural people.  But he was not even given the opportunity by the top leaders even to meet Annaji.

Selfish interest of a  bollywood person suppressed public interest.

2.  While Annaji had arrived at 11 AM to Chennai, he was straight taken from Airport to a preview theatre to watch a movie on Gandhi.  Though, there were requests from Chennai Team and also from Team Anna to postpone the viewing of film after meeting the press and the public, this was not allowed by the Secretary of Anna Hazareji.  It appears, the personal interest of some film producer connected with bollywood had taken precedence over Annaji's meeting with the public and press.  Chennai volunteers blame Mr Suresh, the Private Secretary of Annaji for this decision.  They say that Mr Suresh is all powerful and controls what Annaji has to do.

 Losing an opportunity to address Tamilnadu people

3.  Though, the volunteers team wanted to hold the press conference with Annaji at Chennai Press Club  immediately after his arrival, due to this film show, the press conference  was planned at 2.30 PM at the venue of the public meeting.  Though, all the national and regional channels were holding their camera for live telecast at 2.30 PM, announcement came from Team Anna that Annaji was taking rest due the earlier film show, where  he was sitting through and asked the local team to postpone the press meet to 5.30 PM, after completion of public meeting.  Since the arrangement was perfectly made in a secluded place at 2.30 PM for the  press conference, this sudden change caused lot of disappointment to the media.  Team Anna lost a great opportunity to convey their message to entire Tamilnadu live through various channels. To please a bollywood person, they sacrificed a nice opportunity to address Tamilnadu people.

Arrogant behaviour of Kiran Bedi in public

4.  Kiran Bedi who was present along with Annaji  visibly behaved in an arrogant manner with every body, including media.  She was even shouting at the cameras of the media.  While Annaji was on stage, she even had the audacity to say that India Against Corruption movement was started by her along with Arvind Kejriwal and that   Annaji joined later as third person.  Kiran Bedi's behaviour was not liked by many people in the crowd.  Even during the Press Conference held after the public meeting and also during the closed door meeting with NGOs, Kiran Bedi was dominating the entire show. The entire Tamilnadu was watching her arrogance through live telecast.  Even the questions put to Annaji was responded by her, without allowing Annaji to speak.  It gave an impression that Annaji was being used as a show piece to project the individual image of few persons.  

Lack of connectivity to the audience

5. For the first time, they are visiting southern states after the launch of IAC.  Already, people in the south, particularly in Tamilnadu have been considering this movement only as a North Indian movement.  The movement is yet to reach villages and smaller towns. During Annaji's visit, there was a great opportunity to IAC to take the message to villages, since three major Tamil Channels were telecasting live.  Though the young volunteers team had made arrangements for translation line by line from Hindi to Tamil, the top leaders of IAC on the stage did not allow the translation. 

When Annaji rose to speak, an announcement was made that there would not be a translation in Tamil.  Immediately, Annaji started talking in Hindi.  All the channels, who were telecasting, got perplexed.  One of them even stopped telecasting for want of translation, as the rural tamilnadu cannot understand Hindi.  The audience could not understand his Hindi and they became restless.  Some of them started leaving the venue.  After 20 minutes, in a hurry, an arrangement was made to get the Hindi speech translated into Tamil.  Many of the media people and the public felt that it was a sign of 'arrogance' by IAC leaders who were sitting on the stage.  Today's newspapers have also reported about this 'mess up'.

Even when Annaji was speaking, he did not do a home work.  He was speaking as if he was speaking in Maharashtra.  Probably, he did not have enough experience of addressing such massive people in the South or other states.  Team Anna, instead of thrusting their views on the public, could have done some homework on the various aspects of the states, where they are addressing.  

While talking about the second freedom movement, Annaji quoted the first freedom struggle. In that context, he started quoting only the names of North Indian freedom fighters.  Instead, he could have mentioned the names of great freedom fighters of Tamilnadu and got the claps. 

While many of the people who attended the meeting admired Annaji's passion, they disliked the behaviour  of the top leaders of IAC showing arrogance in public even before the media.

Meeting with friends of IAC

6. After the public meeting, IAC, Chennai had organised meeting with 'Friends of IAC'.  They had invited few retired top bureaucrats and some of the social workers who are doing great job silently, to interact with Annaji.  Even during that meeting, Kiran Bedi was dominating in the scene.  Even when some of the senior people were giving their views in the closed-door meeting, they were not listening properly and thrusted their views.

One Mr Balasubramanian (aged 60), a tea stall owner. who has been spearheading a movement called 'Kodambakam 2020' along with hundreds of youngsters was also one of the invitees.  A few months back, on hearing about him, Dr Abdul Kalam invited Balasubramanian to meet him.  Dr Kalam made a reference about his passion when he was visiting Sanfransisco.  Balasubramanian looks very simple.  Balasubramanian asked Annaji a question. "Annaji, today around ten thousand people have visited the public meeting of their own accord.  They are passionate people.  How do you plan to make use of them".  Though, it was addressed to Annaji, Kiran Bedi took the mike and asked him, "Sir, do you know  who is your MLA? do you know who is your MP?  If you do not know, why are you asking this question".  Mr Balasubramanian could not understand the connection between his question and Kiran Bedi's counter question.  

Being a simple man, he did not argue and sat. But he felt insulted by the behaviour of Kiran Bedi. The same simple looking person, who was invited by Dr Abdul Kalam few months back for discussion, was insulted by Kiran Bedi without even bothering to know about the background.  I am just sharing this in public, how Kiran Bedi has behaved arrogantly even with a simple looking social worker.

How volunteers react?

7.  As one of the admirers of Annaji, i felt sad by the behaviour of people around him.  I contacted few of the volunteers who were working for this event for the past many days, taking leave of absence from their office.  Even they shared lot of things.  There seems to be no representation from Chennai in the core team of IAC at national level.  Annaji made an announcement openly in the public meeting, that they were adding members from south.  There is an active volunteers team at Chennai.  They want the core team members with 'impeccable integrity' and without any 'selfish motive' to be selected in consultation with volunteers, instead of nominating one more coterie.  


I had a very great view on the IAC and its functions.  Annaji's visit to Chennai has shown visibly, how arrogant their top leaders, how they give scant respect for the local sentiments, how they do not want to listen to others and want others only listen to them. I also observed 'selfish interest' dominated over the 'public interest'.

I strongly feel, that Annaji is 'boxed' by few dominating leaders like Kiran Bedi, who never allowed Annaji to give answers to media.  
Millions of people  in this country have shown faith on the integrity of Annaji.   On behalf of millions of admirers of Annaji, i request IAC to debate within themselves and come out clean.  

While they preach 'transparency' to the Government, they should be more 'transparent' and show to the world.

Jai Hind

Monday, December 12, 2011

Proper energy mix only can lead to energy independence

PodUniversal Edition 144
In the recent weeks, the protesters of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project have been demanding the closure of all nuclear projects in India and to generate power through other resources. In order to understand the feasibility and suitability for Indian conditions, we had a discussion with Mr V Ponraj, Advisor to former Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.  Mr Ponraj, along with Dr Kalam has visited all the Nuclear Power Stations in India and few of the major Reactors in other countries.  Mr Ponraj has been assisting Dr Abdul Kalam now, to prepare the vision documents.  We have also earlier published the 39 page report of Dr Abdul Kalam on the Indian energy status and the safety of Kudankulam projects in our Tamil blog.  
Present energy status in India
Presently India is generating around 1.50 lakh MW of Power from different sources.   Out of this, 89% of electricity is generated out of natural resources like coal (56%), water (25%), wind (5%), Solar (0.2%) and nuclear (3%).  The balance of 11% power is generated out of gas and oil.  
Future requirement
As per Goldman Sachas Report, BRIC Nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) may contribute to 49% of the world economy by 2020 from the present level of 36%.  India is growing at a rate of 9 to 10% per annum.  This development will increase the need for more electricity.  At this rate, by 2020, India may need around 4.00 lakh MW of power and by 2030, we may need 9.50 MW of power.  
Environment pollution through power generation
Presently, every year, the entire world is generating 30 billion tons of 'Greenhouse Gas', which pollutes the environment.  Of this nearly 26% is generated through electricity generation, as per IPCC report.  Such environment pollution leads to global warming and change of climate. 
Annually around 20 lakh people die in the world due to environment pollution and 1.40 lakh die due to climate changes.  This includes the death of around 5.50 lakh people annually due to the environment pollution caused by power generation. 
Green Energy
Now world over, all the countries are fighting against global warming spending more than 300 billion dollars  to protect the environment.  To the extent possible, they want to avoid power generation using the fuel like coal, gas, oil which may pollute the environment.  Even availability coal may not last long.  Hence, the concept of 'Green Energy' has become popular.  'Green energy'  means, producing electricity using the resources which may not cause pollution.  Only solar, wind and nuclear and bio-fuel  sources can generate green energy.  
Need for energy mix to achieve energy independence.
If a country can produce the electricity fully to their needs from various sources, then it is called 'energy security'.  If the same electricity is generated out of wind, solar, nuclear and bio-fuel, then it is called 'energy independence'.  We need to move from 'energy security' to 'energy independence'.  This is possible only through 'Green energy'. 
Generation of electricity in a country depends on (1) availability of resources like wind, solar, water, coal, uranium,  etc. (2) accessibility to such resources and (3) cost effective technology availability to generate electricity.  
No country can depend on a single source for generation of power for different reasons. It varies from countries to countries.  We may have plenty of resources, but technology may not be available or accessibility to such sources will not be there.  Hence, they need to tap different sources.  Hence, proper 'energy mix' is needed to be planned, basing on the above three factors and also the cost aspect.  
Efficiency of different sources
Presently solar cells have efficiency of 20% and researches are going on to increase the efficiency to 30 to 40%.  This model needs around 10 to 12 crores per MW.
Presently, the efficiency factor for wind energy is around 30% and cost is around 7 to 8 crores per MW.
Currently, the efficiency level for good coal is around 58% and involves the cost aspect of 4 to 5 crores per MW.  
The only energy source which is 100% efficient is the nuclear energy.  This involves the cost of around 6 to 7 crores per MW.
Generally, as said earlier, wind, solar, nuclear and bio-fuel are the cleanest energy sources to produce 'Green energy'.
At this present level, India can generate additionally 80,000 MW through coal, 50,000 MW through water, 55,000 MW through solar sources, 60,000 MW through wind and 50,000 MW through nuclear sources by 2030.  
Kalam-NSS Space Solar energy initiative.
While solar energy is available in the land only for 12 hours, the same energy is available all the time in the space.  This is called 'space solar energy;.  Dr Abdul Kalam has been working on this to generate electricity from space solar, which can benefit the entire world.  For this purposes, National Space Society has set up an research initiative in the name of 'Kalam-NSS Space Solar energy initiative' to research on this.  This is a long term project.  Their aim is to bring energy independence by 2030 by producing only clean/green energy.  
Podcast of Mr V Ponraj
In this context, we had a discussion with Mr V Ponraj, Advisor to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.  Please watch/listen to his interesting conversation. (10 minutes).
This can also be watched from the following link.

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