Showing posts from December, 2015

India's Power Reform - New UDAY on the Horizon?

It has been a while since the Power Minister of Government of India, Mr Piyush Goyal, announced the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY). The purpose of the programme is to permanently resolve the crisis of indebted state owned power distribution companies (utilities) in India. The crisis is pretty severe - despite a 2012-13 financial restructuring package, the total outstanding debt on the distribution utilities is over INR 4 lakh crore. Most of the debt is ironically concentrated in just eight states, including notable names such as Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana being among these ignonimous leaders. UDAY tries to target the past legacies of debt by repackaging it as state debt instead of discom debt. This debt, upto 75% of which shall be taken over by the state, shall be repackaged as state bonds and shall be sold with first right to banks and pension funds. While the standard loan interest rate has been at around 14%, the bonds shall be giv

Are the Chennai Floods A Signal of Changing Climate?

An ariel view of a submerged Chennai (courtesy: NDTV) The recent washout that Chennai is nothing short of a catastrophe. It happens on a regular basis in other parts of India; however a Mumbai or Chennai does manage to get our attention in ways we cannot fathom. The severity of the low pressure system has ensured that rain stopped only yesterday, giving the city, the administration and the agencies involved in disaster relief a moment to gasp and bring some semblance of normalcy to people's lives. Of course, the real disaster danger lies once the rain stops and the water begins to subside, as the threat of epidemic manifolds itself in the city. Mind you, so far we have only heard of Chennai - many other cities in Tamil Nadu are faring much worse. Kanchipuram has been completely submerged, and other affected towns are still off-limits to many. While the rescue and relief operations are going on and the Chennaiites must be commended for rallying together in this time of crisi