The Union cabinet, at its Thursday meeting, approved a collaboration with the France-based International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project and also gave a top domestic commission another seven months to prepare a detailed blueprint on administrative reforms. Several other proposals were also cleared.
The cabinet approved a Rs2,500 crore contribution to seal its collaboration with the six-member ITER, a group that includes the European Union, Japan, China, Korea, the US and the Russian Federation. It was set up to demonstrate nuclear fusion as a viable source of energy.
“India’s participation in ITER was approved by existing members in December 2005. Considering our future energy needs the technical capability we gain at ITER will be of considerable long-term benefit,” said Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, minister of information and broadcasting. Nuclear energy is currently generated through nuclear fission, a process of breaking down the smallest particles of matter in controlled environments. Fusion, which joins particles to create energy, is considered less hazardous and more efficient. “India hopes to demonstrate the scientific feasibility for a safer alternative energy source,” Dasmunsi said.
Separately, the second administrative reforms commission, which was set up to prepare a blueprint for revamping the public administration system, has also been given seven more months to submit 14 new reports on how to reform government processes.
“Implementation of its reports after due consideration is bound to improve service delivery,” said Dasmunsi. The commission has already submitted five reports.
Meanwhile, a cabinet committee on economic affairs also approved Rs77 crore for 13 loss-making central public sector units, including Andrew Yule and Co. Ltd, three units of Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd, and Hindustan Cables Ltd, to pay part of their pending wages and other dues through 31 March.
The cabinet also approved the setting up of a Pan-African e-Network to share information on health care and education among 53 African countries. The project will cost approximately Rs540 crore.