Debate: Secret note and a sweet deal? - 1
It's a crucial foreign visit on the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's agenda, a meeting with the American President. But the Indian Government appears to be in a hurry to get a few key deals going in what could be the Prime Minister's last visit to America while in office. On the agenda is a deal, a preliminary contract with a US power major for setting up six nuclear reactors in Mithivardi in Gujarat. But this top secret note to be presented before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) shows that the Government appears to have overlooked some key factors. "Given that complete viability analysis of the project is yet to be completed, NPCIL has proposed that GoI may fund the cost of the preliminary contract, as was done in the case of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant units 1 and 2," para 4 of CCS note said.First, the Government wants to go ahead with the project despite not having done the complete viability analysis. "It is proposed to sign the preliminary contract prior to the visit of the Prime Minister to the USA in end-September 2013. Given the paucity of time, approval of the Atomic Energy Commission cannot be sought. Instead, approval of the CCS is being solicited directly," para 4.7 of CCS note said. And secondly the Government wants the CCS approval but is ready to bypass the Atomic Energy Commission. The Government's urge to get all this done prior to the Prime Minister's US visit has raised questions. The total cost of the project for the six reactors could be over ninety thousand crore rupees.In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists -- Sanjay Jha, Spokesperson, Congress; Nirmala Sitharaman, National Spokesperson, BJP; Kumar Ketkar, Chief Editor, Daily Divya Marathi, Bhaskar Group; G Balachandran, Consulting Fellow, IDSA; Sheshadri Chari, Convenor, Foreign Affairs Cell, BJP; D Raja, MP, Rajya Sabha, CPI; TSR Subramaniam, Former Cabinet Secretary; Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Nuclear Scientist and G Sundararajan, Environmentalist & anti-nuclear activist -- discuss whether, even if the PM wants to please America is it right to rush the process and bypass the Atomic Energy Commission?
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