Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Silicon Valley

"The 21st century belongs to India', declared Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to thousands of his adoring fans at SAP Center in San Jose, California. As he spoke inside the Arena, protestors carrying anti-Modi posters condemned the presence in Silicon Valley of the person they choose to describe as the "Butcher of Gujarat".

My Invitation and Ticket:

I had received an invitation and a ticket to attend Prime Minister Modi's reception at SAP Center. I thought about attending it long and hard. I was really conflicted about attending and, in the end, I chose not to.






Modi's Soaring Rhetoric:

As Prime Minister Modi wowed almost exclusively Indian-American techie audience in Silicon Valley, there were many who compared his rhetoric to US President Barack Obama's 2008 soaring speeches promising "Change" in America which, for many, have led to a huge letdown in the last 6 years. Modi led his audience with chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Jai Baghat Singh" and the they responded by cheering the Prime Minster on with screams of "Modi! Modi".

“[India] has moved on from scriptures to satellites,” Modi said. “The world has started to believe that the 21st century belongs to India.”

"Unwelcome Modi" Rally:

As the Indian Prime Minister spoke to thousands of his adoring supporters inside San Jose Arena, a group estimated by some at 3000 staged a rally against him.



"Prime Minister Modi's 'Rock Star' visit to Silicon Valley can't make up for his rock bottom performance in human and civil rights," Virali Modi-Parekh of Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) told NBC News. "Since Modi's been in office, violence against religious minorities has spiked. But Modi turns a blind eye while churches are burned and Muslims and Christians are being forcibly converted. There is a culture of fear and victimization, especially against minorities in India, which undermines Modi's standing as a business partner."



Campaign against Modi's presence in Silicon Valley included billboards across Silicon Valley focusing attention on Modi's human rights record; hundreds of bottles of Purell hand sanitizer sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, each with a name of a person killed in the Gujarat riots; challenges from South Asian LGBTQ employees of high-tech companies of India's Penal Code 377; a "faculty statement" from 125 academics on Modi's history; a "die-in" dramatizing continuing attacks against minority groups; and social media campaigns using the hashtags #ModiFail, #ChallengeModi, #ModiLiestoUS, #ZuckWashYourHands, according to NBC News.

Academics Letter:

Over 100 US academics wrote an open letter to Silicon Valley tech executives warning them against doing business with Prime Minister who came to push his "Digital India" initiative. The US professors reminded the technology executive that Modi and his Hindu allies are using their power to censor dissident voices in India.

Hindtuva activists allied with Modi have been attacking dissidents with impunity since the Prime Minister's elevation to power in Delhi. M.M. Kalburgi, a 78-year-old professor, was assassinated by the Sangh activists recently. Hours after Kalburgi's murder, Bhuvith Shetty, a member of the Hindu militant group Bajrang Dal, tweeted in celebration: "Mock Hinduism and die a dog's death. And dear K.S. Bhagwan you are next."

Two other high-profile rationalists, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, were shot point-blank 18 months apart in the western state of Maharashtra. Dabholkar, a 68-year-old activist who worked on behalf of villagers exploited by local gurus and so-called godmen, campaigned for the state government to pass an anti-superstition bill. It's been two years since he was killed in the city of Pune, and no one has been charged, according to a report in Los Angeles Times.

Digital Censorship:

Facebook has published data indicating that India leads the world in censoring Facebook posts.  Indian government demanded Facebook blocks 4,765 times in a six month period.India’s approach to Internet speech has been a flash point for years, with the government saying it wants to regulate content that is offensive to religious or ethnic groups, and companies such as Facebook and Google (GOOG) bristling at the restrictions, according to Bloomberg News.

Source: Bloomberg


Summary:

There's no question that Mr. Narendra Modi is wildly popular with Indians at home and abroad. The Prime Minister has made a lot of promises to the Indian people. And the more he speaks, the higher the expectations. Meanwhile, India's exports have declined every month for the last 9 months and the corporate profits of Indian companies continue to be weak. At the same time, Mr. Modi's allies in the Sangh Parivar are stepping their activities challenging the "Secular" foundations of the Indian Constitution. So the question is:  Is the Modi phenomenon beginning to unravel already?

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Pakistan Launching T20 Cricket League

Pakistan will soon be starting its first professional sports league along the lines of for-profit sports leagues like Major League Baseball (MLB) or National Football League (NFL) in the United States.

 India's IPL (Indian Premier League) was the first such league in the cricket world. It was started by India's Lalit Modi who studied professional sports business at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Several other countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, England, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the Caribbean nations (West Indies), followed suit with their own versions of premier league. Pakistan is the latest country to join this movement with its own league called PSL or Pakistan Super League.

Pakistan is the 2nd largest cricket market after India in terms of viewership. It's the 4th largest market after India, England and Australia in revenue terms.

The launch of Pakistan Super League (PSL) will help significantly increase cricketing revenue and put Pakistan in second place in revenue terms. It will also help generate revue for Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to promote domestic cricket in the country.

There are five categories of players being recruited to be part of PSL — Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver and Emerging.

PSL has already signed up top international cricket stars like Kevin Peterson (England), Chris Gayle (West Indies) , Brad Haddin (Australia), Grant Elliot  (New Zealand) , James Franklin (New Zealand), Brad Hogg (Australia), Shakibul Hasan (Bangladesh), Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Sunil Naraine (West Indies) and Ravi Bopara (England) . Other names will soon be revealed.  Several top international coaches have also agreed to join.

The star power is attracting major broadcasters to bid for media rights in different regions of the world. Broadcasters can expect high advertising rates with many big international stars playing in each team. In addition, big businesses will provide funding as sponsors of league matches.

Each team will have a salary cap of about $1 million for about 3 weeks of work. PSL will comprise of just 24 matches, with each team playing the other twice. Each tournament will end in less than a month.

There will be 4 foreign players and 2 under-19 Pakistani players in each of the 5 team currently in the works. The rest of the teams will be made up of Pakistani players who are now playing at the national level and the first class matches.  The teams are: Islamabad Blasters, Karachi Super Stars, Lahore Warriors, Peshawar Kings, Quetta Challengers.  80% of the league's revenue will be shared among the franchisees.

Under-19 Pakistani players will receive Rs. 2.5 million fees for 3 months of play. This will encourage more talent to compete and help improve the quality of young players in the country.

Pakistan Super League is expected to be played in February 2016 in Dubai and Sharjah stadiums in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It's the best thing to happen to Pakistan cricket in a long time. Let's hope that the security situation will soon allow future tournaments to be played on Pakistani soil.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Wahab Vs Watson: Cricket At Its Absolute Best

Pakistan Cricket Needs Top Sports Psychologist and World-Class Batting Coach

Pakistan Won 1992 World Cup After Losing to India and West Indies

Top Ten Sledges in Cricket

Pakistan Breaks Australia's 34-Match Winning Streak

Obama on Cricket

Case For Resuming India-Pakistan Peace Talks

Pakistan Punish Aussie 2-0 in T20 Series 

Afridi's Leadership

Pakistan In, India Out of T20 Semis

Pakistan Beat India in South Africa 

Kiwis Dash Pakistan's ICC Championship Hopes

Pakistan Crowned World T20 Champs

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Pakistan's New Net Metering Law For Rooftop Solar, Wind

Pakistani power regulators have approved a regulatory framework for solar and wind energy for both commercial and residential installations. The framework includes feed-in tariffs for commercial power producers and net metering for residential applications of up to 1 MW.



Under the new Net Metering Law, NEPRA, the Pakistani power regulator, will grant power generation licenses to solar and wind system owners. The owners will need to register the critical equipment used, particularly the make and model of inverter and generator used. Among other technical considerations, the generator must also install a manual disconnect device to take the system off the network if necessary, according to details published by PV Tech publication.

Source: PV-Tech
Net metering is a billing mechanism that pays solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. It allows a residential customers with rooftop solar panels to generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours and sell it to the power supply company. It will require a bi-directional meter (or two separate meters) for implementation.

Pakistan has already introduced feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for larger renewable power systems to supply electricity to the national grid on a commercial scale.  It paved the way for a 1000 MW Quaid-e-Azam solar park being built in Bahawalpur.

Pakistan's renewable power policy and regulatory frameworks have drawn praise from international law firm Eversheds which has described the country as “one of the most exciting renewables markets globally, with an abundance of potential”. Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) of Pakistan's CEO, Amjad Ali Awan has said that "Pakistan’s renewable market is relatively new but it provides an attractive investment opportunity with compelling structures which make it bankable as well as marketable."

Net metering law is necessary but not sufficient to promote widespread use of renewable energy. It will take serious coordinated efforts of Pakistan power regulator NEPRA, the country's nascent solar industry and various utilities like K-Electric to start implementation. Meanwhile, consumers could install a stand-alone rooftop solar system that can be connected to the grid in future. They just need to make sure to select high-quality equipment, particularly inverter and switch, for this purpose which will most likely be acceptable to utilities.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Deploys IT Apps to Improve Service in Public Sector

Solar Power For Pakistan Homes, Schools, Factories

Shakti Solar Model For Pakistan

Pakistan's New FIT Policy For Alternative Energy

Media & Telecom Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistan Building 1000 MW Wind Farms

Pakistan Launches Wind Farm Projects

Renewable Energy to Solve Pakistan's Electricity Crisis

Electrification Rates By Country

Wind Turbine Manufacturing in Pakistan

Pakistan Pursues Hydroelectric Power Projects

Solar Energy for Sunny Pakistan

Wind Power Tariffs in Pakistan

Pakistan's Twin Energy Shortages

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