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Stop this spin on nuclear liability law!

Maybe, Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India has a point – India needs a media regulatory framework. Katju pointed out how ill-equipped are our journalists intellectually and otherwise to handle complex issues. Take, for instance, the new rules that have been formulated by the government on the nuclear liability law.

The spin doctors of the government are already at work to convey the impression that the new rules in no way erode the provisions of the nuclear liability law. To be sure, in the coming days, we will have to depend heavily on the western media to comprehend what is happening. 
Read the Bloomberg report. It says the government is wooing the GE and Westinghouse by framing rules that meet these firms’ demands. Areva of France has welcomed the rules already!  
Again, read the WSJ report from Delhi. It says this is a move to “allay the concerns” of the American companies. 
Hopefully, a regulatory framework will protect the Indian media from the government spin also. It needs gumption to cliam that on the eve of PM Manmohan Singh’s pow-vow with US President Barack Obama in Bali, the government flexed its muscles and told off the Americans! Who do they think they are – these nameless, faceless bureaucrats – to dish out such crass disinformation, assuming that Indian journalists (and we Indians who read them) are a bunch of morons?  

Posted in Diplomacy.

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2 Responses

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  1. Venkat says

    I would agree with author on this one. The UPA government has not been sharing proper information to Indian public regarding the Nuclear deal. The way , they went ahead and signed the deal, keeping important information about Indian public, the way the goal posts of the deal was allowed to be changed, was unbecoming of a democractic government.

    Our media never held the government to account for all these lapses.
    Along with regulation of media. there should also be a regulation to probe funding sources of media. There have been lots of blogs alleging, that most of the media is foreign owned, albeit indirectly. The truth whatever it is should come out on this respect, as it directly impacts national security.

  2. tick says

    Rethink with a wiff of clarity
    The context for law making here is to protect the people living in the place where a N-plant would be built. This needs laws which impose a requirement on the owner of the plant. Law making which imposes norms on supplier to the plant owner is interferece with management policy making of the owner. It is upto the plant operator to negotiate as they deem fit in order to ensure legal compliance in terms of passing down the risk.

    It is true that presently plant operators are all govt owned, even then the policy making is better left to concerned PSU or to its Ministry. The Soviet style law making here has been opposed even by Russians!

    When it comes to international suppliers, it is difficult to enforce law, Bhopal Gas tragedy confirms it. Therefore ratification of international laws in order to establish jurisdiction of Indian courts is necessary. To level the playig field, the applicability of these international norms can be extended to domestic supplier as well. This enables evolution of technology as well consumer protection compensation laws conforming to latest international trends. Such an approach would be consistent with Free Enterprise model in a Market Economy.

    A parallel can perhaps be drawn for our present approach to law making in this domain with the stance of Chinese regarding South China Sea. They insist on applicability of national laws where international laws ought to apply.

    Ofcourse, similar confusion prevails in US law making setup, but here US can often juslty claim to be pioneers in such law makig, and that international laws followed suit. The conflicts in US domestic laws and international laws is surely a drag on their investment climate which is particularly evident in their nuclear industry. We can not afford such an impasse.

    The efforts to dilute the provisions of the law may enable suppliers to do business by taking it in strides, but it remains an unsound legal policy.

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