It is imperative to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities in India, and the welfare of the people residing in the immediate vicinity of nuclear installations, emphasises Dr EAS Sarma, former Union Power Secretary, Government of India
Following the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) audit performance of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), some startling facts have emerged about how the Department of Atomic Energy will be ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities in India, and the welfare of the people residing in the immediate vicinity of nuclear installations, according to Dr EAS Sarma, former Union Power Secretary, Government of India, in an article published on Dialogues and Resources on Nuclear Nature and Society (DiaNuke.org). He has added that the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is underplaying the safety concerns and is projecting the mythical virtues of nuclear technology as though it is infallible.
DiaNuke has added a word of caution from prime minister Manmohan Singh whereby those who have favoured nuclear technology development belong to the ‘thinking’ section of the society. Also, in reference to the safety audits conducted at the existing nuclear facilities in the past, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) assured the public on 26 April 2012 that “action taken on previous safety reviews will be put in the public domain.” DAE is yet to do so.
The CAG report has highlighted the following points:
Even the NSRA Bill is not a final solution, as Section 21 of the Bill is bizarre. It reads as “the Authority, while discharging its powers and functions, shall not act against the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality.” According to Mr Sarma, apparently, in its present form, the NSRA Bill will create a regulator who will be as ineffective and powerless as its previous avatar of AERB.
A statement from an anti-nuclear group said, “The obsession with GDP and growth has been behind the plans to expand eco-destructive energy projects—be it nuclear, huge coal-based plants or large dams. An alternative model of development has to be evolved to deal with the present crisis, rather than going for dangerous illusions like pursuing nuclear power. People are resisting these projects which stand to threaten their lives and livelihoods.”
The jury members including social activist Aruna Roy, member of the National Advisory Committee, former Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas, and KS Subrahmaniam heard testimonies of people, who are part of the grassroots movements at sites where nuclear plants were coming up, on 22-23 August 2012 in New Delhi. Nuclear plants are coming up in Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra), Chutka (Madhya Pradesh), Gorakhpur (Haryana), Banswada (Rajasthan), and Rawatbhata (Rajasthan).
National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy said in a statement, “Place for dissent is shrinking in our country which is evident in Kudankulam, where non-violent protests are being seen as intolerable by the Indian government.” This was after her visit to Kudankulam nuclear project site in Tamil Nadu.
“It appears another victory has been declared in the battle against Monsanto and GMO ingredients,” comments Nation of Change
SEBI's Committee of Executive Directors felt that the investment of funds should be guided by consideration of return balanced with safety of funds rather than sole criterion of highest return
New Delhi: Capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has decided to park its surplus funds in fixed deposits of public sector banks, even if the returns offered by them are lower than that of private banks by up to 10 basis points or 0.1%, reports PTI.
The current investment policy of SEBI is guided by the sole criteria of highest return, but it has been now proposed to change to the consideration of return as well as 'safety of funds'.
SEBI's board discussed the matter at its last meeting, after its Committee of Executive Directors (CoED) recommended a change in the regulator's investment policy to this effect, a senior official said.
SEBI's Audit Committee has also agreed with the CoED recommendations in this regard.
The surplus funds available with SEBI are invested as per its approved policy guidelines for investment, which have been in place since April 2009.
Presently, investment of surplus funds of SEBI is made in fixed deposits (FDs) after inviting competitive quotes from PSU banks and approved private sector banks and institutions.
These investments are subject to certain exposure limits and are made with the banks offering highest quote for the desired tenure.
The exposure limit is 20% for a PSU bank and 10% for approved private banks or institutions. The private entities approved by SEBI for such investments are ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank/HDFC Ltd. The exposure limit of 10% is considered cumulative for HDFC Bank and HDFC Ltd.
Each investment proposal is approved by the CoED, which after its recent discussions felt that the investment of funds should be guided by consideration of return balanced with safety of funds rather than sole criterion of highest return.
Accordingly, the CoED recommended that the funds may be invested in fixed deposits with a public sector bank, even if its quote is lower by not more than 10 basis points, as compared with the highest of the quotes offered by any of the approved private sector entities.
The Audit Committee has also expressed its views that SEBI might continue with the present policy of making investment with ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank/HDFC Ltd, subject to the present exposure limits.
SEBI's funds comprise of fees and penalties collected by the regulator from various market entities and listed firms.
As per SEBI's budget estimates, its overall accounts had a surplus (of income over expenses) of Rs104.31 crore for 2011-12.
Its total revenue for the fiscal ended 31 March 2011 is estimated at about Rs338 crore and net surplus after various expenses at about Rs180 crore. The regulator's fee income alone that year stood at about Rs200 crore.