Proceed cautiously on solar
This is in reference to the report titled “Solar edge” (April 29). There is no doubt that India is blessed with a number of renewable energy resources and solar power is most prominent among these. India is blessed with solar exposure over a wide area over great many days and it appears that solar energy is waiting to be tapped. But this idea may not be as viable as it appears on paper. Solar power generating units are mostly assembled with the most efficient parts being still imported thereby increasing the cost of the final unit. Practically, solar power can not be depended as the main source of supply but only as a standby, even in domestic use. In India, four months are covered by monsoon with most days being cloudy. That means there should be one additional source of power. That means the government will have to dole out subsidies and loans at low interest rates to support implementation. Industrial units require heavy load, which solar power can not meet. Even cellular towers powered by solar energy are most of the time run by DG units. In brief, solar power has a limited contribution to the energy requirements of the country in the current scenario. This can be improved only with our PM’s ‘Make in India’ vision converted to reality and combined with the German model.
Fix MGNREGS or junk it
This is in reference to the report “World Bank:MGNREGS worked less well in India’s poorest states” (April 29). It is absolutely necessary for the government to look at revamping the rural job guarantee scheme to make it more effective in delivering results in sync with the investment being made. While the scheme provides greater employment opportunities, it is simply being considered by the beneficiaries as a mere source of income, and as a result, inefficiency and corruption are rampant instead of improved productivity. The comforts available under the scheme dissuades the labourers from choosing other jobs, leading to scarcity of workers for other private sector jobs. Despite the large job creation figures, losses to the exchequer are also mounting on account of the various corrupt practices followed while extending jobs under the scheme to the beneficiaries. The government needs to look at this and conduct an in-depth study of the scheme to assess its efficiency vis-a-vis the investment and economic loss (due to concentration of labour in the public sector) being incurred. Besides that, social audits should be conducted to ascertain the impact of the scheme in improving the standard of living of the rural population.
Malaria vaccine hype
Apropos of your edit “Malaria shot”, why is there such hype over Glaxo’s vaccine when there have been other vaccines that have had similar results? Surely, Glaxo, with its vast funds, could have carried on with the research till it developed a more reliable vaccine? On one hand, the indigenous forms of treatment of malaria are laughed at, but a near-failing vaccine is celebrated by the media. Who is to say if desperate government don’t end up paying bomb for a vaccine with “limited effectiveness”?
Prahlad Bhasin, Mumbai