Observing that climate change has become an urgent concern across the globe, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said ways and means should be developed to reduce India's carbon footprint as it would be among the nations to be "most seriously" impacted.
"We need to develop ways and means to reduce our carbon foot-print through technological innovation. In our country, more than 50 per cent of power comes from coal-based generation, which is a major emitter of greenhouse gases," he said.
Dedicating to the nation public sector BHEL's Power Plant Piping Unit & Unit-II High Pressure Boiler Plant in this town near Tiruchirappalli, Singh expressed happiness over BHEL's initiatives for development of ultra super critical technology in line "with our mission for development of clean coal technologies."
He said the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar mission seeks to develop 20,000 MW of power generating capacity by the end of 13th five Year plan, adding its success has the potential of enhancing India's energy security, and "contributing handsomely to our efforts to combat climate change."
"I sincerely hope that BHEL, which is bestowed with engineering expertise, manufacturing prowess and a commendable human resource base, will not only take the lead in solar energy in terms of power generation but also in the development of solar power technology in India.
"This is a difficult commercial decision, but well worth taking in the long term interest of our country," he said. Lauding BHEL, the Prime Minister said "I believe that with the operationalisation of these two units, the company has achieved an annual manufacturing capacity of 20,000 MW."
He lauded his cabinet colleague Finance Minister P Chidambaram, saying he was instrumental in persuading BHEL, a maharatna PSU, to locate their new power plant piping unit at Thirumayam in Pudukottai district, falling under Sivaganga Lok Sabha constituency.
He commended Chidambaram for "tirelessly striving" for the all-round development of the backward block of Thirumayam, saying this showed his concern for his constituency, "and also exemplifies our government's commitment for development of the backward regions of the country."
Such projects benefit a locality by way of new employment opportunities, including indirect ones through small businesses, besides boosting skill development and increasing the trade and commerce in the area, contributing to overall prosperity, the Prime Minister said.
Singh also said India needed to do much more in manufacturing, adding it must expand its manufacturing substantially both in absolute terms and as a proportion of GDP. "Only this can enable us to generate productive employment for our large work-force. BHEL is not only one of our foremost companies but is also contributing to our efforts for expanding manufacturing by helping us make our economy more competitive," he said.
He said that to address India's power deficit and to meet the needs of an expanding economy, there was a need for a large-scale capacity addition programme. "The government is targeting a capacity addition of more than one hundred thousand mw, including renewables, in the 12th five year Plan. In the 11th five year plan, the country added around 55,000 mw of generation capacity which is more than twice the addition achieved in the 10th Plan," he said.
Out of this, BHEL alone accounted for almost half. This showed the critical role that the company played in one of the key sectors of our economy, he said.