New Delhi: As many as 79% CEOs of India’s leading corporates have given a thumbs up to the India-US civil nuclear deal which they consider will go down in history as one of the most important achievements of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Assocham’s Business Barometer (ABB) quick survey of 389 corporate heads revealed that majority of the CEOs polled lent strong support to the PM who, they said, has shown “ extraordinary resolve” to take India to front-ranking nations by ensuring that the country meets its growing energy requirements from various sources.
According to them the government has set an ambitious target of achieving 20,000 MW of nuclear power generation by 2020. This would be achievable provided India is able to forge this kind of cooperation, not only with the US but with other developed countries too.
*72% respondents agreed with assessment of the country’s top scientists that India needs access to international technology which is possible if the Nuclear Suppliers Group agrees to India’s commerce in civil nuclear energy.
*Many scientists have said it was time nuclear power generation was added substantially to India’s energy generation, using Fast Breeder Reactors.
*Estimates suggest that the 123 Agreement will open up investment opportunities worth $40 billion (1,60,000 crore) over the next 15 years to step up nuclear power generation, with leading US firms willing to forge joint ventures with the Indian firms in private and public sector.
* On operationalizing of the agreement, India would need to amend its Atomic Energy Act, which limits nuclear energy within the domain of the Nuclear Power Corporation.
*Once India is able to do global nuclear commerce it would not only enhance the country’s indigenous programme with imported fuel but also help accelerate nuclear power with the best of the imported power plants.
* 86% of the CEOs polled by ABB across different segments believed that India-US relations have been scaling a new high. They felt that better economic relations would lead to improved political ties.
* 68% wanted the PM to show the resolve and firmness of a strong leader. They were also confident that those opposing it in the US would come round to the mutual benefit that the deal offers.
* 83% said that the country should not be seen as divided when it comes to foreign policy issues. They felt that the government deserves support on this key agreement from all sectors of society, including politics, academia, intellectuals, scientific community and business houses.