Look Inside The Book

crore by early 2012. Their operations have since been suspended. The next in the row is Jet Airways with similar predicaments. Low oil price in 2014-15, however, provided them a welcome breathing time to put it on rails. In 2014 it had a loss of ` 4,130 crore that got reduced to ` 2,097 crore by 2015 (clipping 97). Most airlines in our country are in a financial mess. It casts serious aspersions over the future of our aviation industry and demands for an urgent introspection of the impediments ailing them and their tangible cures.

– The power scenario too is gravely depressing. Shortages, load shedding and frequent outages are regular features, crippling industries and businesses, making people’s lives miserable. It is despite the claim of surplus power by the Power Minister, Mr Piyush Goyal (2015-16). The ageing, creaking and long outdated sub-stations and distribution network in the country too need a total overhaul without which even if power is available it may not reach the consumer. Losses of State Electricity Boards (SEBs) alone stood at ` 70,000 crore in 2010 and were forecasted to rise more than ` 1.0 lac crore by 2014 (India Today, 13 June, 2011). The total accumulated losses of SEBs stood at ` 2.5 lac crore (source: Shunglu Panel, January 2012 and Financial Express 25 February, 2012). By 2013 losses rose to ` 2.9 lac crore and debts over ` 3.5 lac crore (World Bank). The biggest losers are SEB’s, the Distribution Companies and the Banks who loaned them. With the lack of concerted efforts situation is getting grimmer with the passage of time (clipping 70A).

A great factor of losses is government unmindful subsidies and free electricity to the consumers.

– Banks and financial institutions are shying away from extending them further finances (clipping 70). The situation is hugely worrying and set to be more agonising in times ahead due to the shortage and poor quality of coal, the struggles for environmental clearances, and the distressing delays in implementation of new projects. There is scanty effort on renewable energy sources and their R&D. In reality the power situation is grimmer than it appears as most thermal power plants are ageing and creaking having already long lived their lives. Frequent slowdowns by protests of the local people and social activists against new nuclear and hydro power projects add to the gloom. For instance, Kudankulam Nuclear Plant at Tamil Nadu had to be cleared by the Supreme Court after losing a precious time of at least two years due to protests. Similarly the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Hydro Power project is unduly delayed for one reason or the other and its complete operation (1450 MW) may commence only by 2018-19 or so.

– The depletion of environment and quality of air in India has reached a dangerous level. US is alarmed and are concerned for the safety of their people. They have now decided to monitor our environmental pollution themselves and caution their citizens visiting India and protect their staff working in our country (Clipping 6). It is a blemish on us and is indicative of our incompetence in addressing this problem ourselves.

– Water shortage has assumed alarming proportions. Excessive use of groundwater has not only depleted our aquifers but also contaminated the water, making it unsafe for human consumption (Chapter 8.6 (p. 370)). At least 25 percent of our country is afflicted with this curse (clippings 71A, 71B, and 71C). Due to this in many parts of our country the entire population is born crippled for life and leads a pathetic, neglected, and woeful existence