Monday, April 8, 2013

Future of Geothermal energy in India

Geothermal energy is the energy generated/stored in the earth’s core crust about 4000 miles below the rock surface and only some miles below in the heat pockets of water on the crust. This is stored in the earth crust in the form volcanoes, fumaroles, geysers, steaming grounds and hot water springs.

India being a subtropical country is a vast resource of geothermal energy. Some of the major geothermal provinces of India, enclose around 400 thermal springs, sedimentary water  basins and Cretaceous-Tertiary volcanic regions.
These geothermal provinces in the country are the Himalayas ,  Sohana ,  Cambay, Son- Narmada-Tapi rift valley ( SONATA), some of the regions in the West coast , Godavari basins, and  Mahanadi. With the recent volcanic eruptions, some of the the Barren island’s in the west  have become one the most important geothermal provinces in the Indian subcontinent.

On the basis of heat harvested or stored called as enthalpy characteristics, the geothermal systems in India, is classified into medium enthalpy (100°C-200°C) and low enthalpy (<100°C) geothermal systems.

Medium enthalpy geothermal energy resources are mostly the Himalayas, Narmada tapi basins, Damodar Mahanadi and Godavari valleys and cambay basin on the west coast.

Low enthalpy geothermal zones include some of the hot water springs on the west coast of the country.

Estimates suggest that energy from one third of these springs is of the order of 40.9x1018 calories. This is equivalent to the energy that can be obtained from 5.7 billion tonnes of coal or 28 million barrels of oil.

Apart from the government organizations in the energy sector, there are some of the private organisations like Tata power  is working in exploitation of geothermal energy.
and seeking to more than double capacity in five years and acquire projects at home and overseas. 

Geothermal energy in India thus looks like a huge investment zone for today assuring big returns in the coming future.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Indian Patent System and International Pharmaceutical Trade

With the implemetation of the " TRIPS" agreement in 2005, India lost almost over 800 patents in the country and the conventional licenses to market those products in the international markets. Post the TRIPS agreement the Indian Patent System was strengthened with new rules and amendments in sections, transforming the vision from reverse engineered process patents to product patents. With this aim and strengthened vision India could fight and win the US claim over turmeric patent as traditional knowledge in India.

 Now in 2013, 8 years from the implementation of TRIPS agreement , a situation has arisen that the conventional countries of the TRIPS agreement intend to copy and implement section 3d of the Indian Patent Act.  Section 3d of the Patent Act decides the subject matter of a patent; where it clearly distinguishes and describes the difference between innovation and discovery- every subsection of section 3 looks for an inventive step in patent, thus makes the candidate for patent exclusively different and worth patentable to rule the international markets for 18 years.  Though India has lost a great deal in the International markets in the 2005 wrt respect the merger and acquisitions by US and UK pharmaceutical giants on the name of product patents,  but now it looks as if India is making up the loss by defining innovation and applicability of the innovations and every invention step to common men for whom these products are designed and this is seen in most of the patent cases on the international board or at the supreme or subordinate courts in India where India or  Indian companies looks to be winning the battle mostly let it be the Gleevac - Novartis case or Pfizer's Viagra case.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Investment opportunities in Railway Sector:

12th Five Year Plan ending 2017 proposes Rs. 1 Lakh Crore (USD 20 Billion) investment through PPP (Public Private Partnership), a fifth of total Rs. 5.2 Lakh Crores (USD 100 Billion) in Indian Railways.  The Vision 2020 [presented in 2009] document envisages the need for investment of Rs. 1.43 Lakh Crores (USD 2.6 Billion) just for clearing the existing backlog and another Rs. 14 Lakh Crores (USD 260 Billion) in Ten years to reach the goal of Vision 2020, thus a requirement of at-least Rs. 1.4 Lakh Crores (USD 2.6 Billion) each year between the period from 2010 to 2020.
Areas for investment include Dedicated Freight Corridor, Doubling of Lines, New Lines, Rolling Stock manufacturing like Wagons, Passenger Cars, Locomotives, Development of New Railway Terminals, Logistics Parks, Multi-Modal Freight Terminals, High Speed Corridors, Power Generation for Captive use, ICT, Catering, and Merchandising etc.
In the recently announced policy by Railways for development of Private Rail Lines, participants/developers can be State Government, Beneficiary Industries, Ports, Local Bodies, Corporate, including FDI.  Railways have proposed to do away with the transfer of assets to Railways on completion of lease, which has been a major hindrance in private investment.  ‘Non-Government Railway’ model is proposed to have first and last mile connectivity, which can be developed on private land and it will be a Non-Government Railway project.  Financing, Construction and Maintenance is to be done by the developer.
Revenues: Railways to pay user fees for usage of infrastructure, which is calculated at 95% freight computed on the basis of Inter Railway Financial Adjustment Rules after Cost of Operation and charges.
Indian Railways has also proposed Joint Venture, BOT through Competitive Bidding, DBFMT (Design, Build, Finance, Maintain and Transfer) and Annuity Models.
Challenges: Some of the key challenges however remain unanswered like Operations still vests with the Railways, Policy Support/Flexibility, Single Window & Timely Approval of Projects, Support during Long Gestation Period, Support in Land Acquisition/R & R, Funding etc.  .