Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Diamond in the Council

Continuing with our series evaluating the Narendra Modi Government after a year, we come to Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who is by all standards the best Minister short of the Prime Minister himself. Indeed, one of the biggest successes of the government, the coal block allocations that successfully undid one of the biggest cases of crony capitalism of the UPA-II dispensation, was under Goyal's watch. But this is not his only achievement and indeed, it may not even be the biggest.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clear vision is to bring electricity to every last village and he knows that coal-fired plants are not going to meet that need. Thus, while pumping up coal production to record levels and ending the monopoly of Coal India (both humongous feats for any government), the Power Ministry has also been working on alternative energy resources. Thus, the appropriate U-turn by the BJP on the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement and subsequent uranium supply pacts with suppliers goes a long way meeting India's energy needs. The crackdown on illogical and anti-national organizations such as Greenpeace is also in this direction.

But the biggest success is yet to come. The world, including India, are on the cusp of a solar energy revolution, a revolution that could completely up-end the way we look at energy security. Indeed, the greatest advantage of the technology lies in its decentralized form, thus lowering capital requirements and making it much cheaper. Advances in storage technology can give a further fillip to it. Piyush Goyal is quite aware of this, as he has repeatedly said at conferences. More importantly, his short yet stellar record of getting the job done makes him the best man for the job. The Prime Minister chose wisely, as did the electorate. After all, another Faaroque Abdullah and Manmohan Singh and energy security could've been written off as a pipe-dream. The BJP's Lok Sabha majority has given many benefits to the nation - Piyush Goyal being one of them. 

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