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Nuclear energy and oil dependency

While it is true that a push towards nuclear energy would reduce the dependency on oil imports for a country like India. However, it is only one part of the story. Even in France, where close to three-fourth of electricity is generated by nuclear power stations, the energy dependency on oil has increased dramatically in the last decade thanks to growing vehicle population.

So, if the idea of Indian government is to reduce oil imports, it needs to address the issue of energy consumption by vehicles. The solutions could range from encouraging alternate fuels (like ethanol where Argentina has succeeded in converting its huge sugar production into ethanol), to developing reliable public transport system. Also, through fiscal incentives, a bias towards less gas guzzling cars and vehicles can be created. (Though the economic implication of such policy initiatives would be biased against late entrants in the automobile industry in India).

All may look like long term solutions but there are many incremental steps that can be taken to promote public transport. For example, transport corporations should be allowed to charge so as to recover their operational cost plus a margin to meet their replacement cost. Simultaneaously, the efficiency of these corporations should be quantified and benchmarked. With modern cost quantification, the cost of providing free services (school children and elders, operations in rural/ unrenumerative areas) could be easily made. These subsidies should be reimbursed to the corporations by the now bankrupt state governments (here is the weakest link!). After three to four years, the existing monopoly of transport corporations should be open for competition.

I beleive if we can work something like this, we can move atleast in the positive direction towards popularising public transport instead of waiting for big bang solutions.


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