Waiting to be Trumped ?

(A Perspective on India and Africa with emphasis on future of initiatives in ENERGY privatization)

This may be the first time that a US presidential oath taking, on noon of January 20, 2017 by IST, is being followed as if it were D-day here in New Delhi. I cannot believe that cafes in Hauz Khas (per newspapers) are inspired to prepare for a celebration with big screens and all the pomp once reserved for big cricket matches only. I guess it has to do with the tourist season and time when NRI’s find best season to visit Delhi at its coldest.

In December it seemed like global warming was on when we said it is a weak winter, but snow like always in Simla since the New Year rang in, has changed all that and all of the woolen that remained inside until now, are finally out. So global warming sans the photography and videos from the melting Arctic seems to take backseat whenever here in Delhi the winter chill shows it’s delayed spurts.

We know for one that Merryl Streep and some of the glitterati may even boycott the grand presidential ball and invites to other festivities but as for those with eye on global energy investments from the USA, they are ones debating on Trump ideology, as it has been widely mentioned that he will go gung-ho back to fossil oil/coal and nuclear that have hitherto made USA the power to reckon. As world would have it, it is the intellectuals, the philosophizers, the sympathizers, the artisans, the educated elite who see the world in a certain perspective who normally crusade for ‘climate change’, environment and future of society.

With Obamacare health already on the chopping block, what will be the fate of Obama’s Lighting Africa and other initiatives for Africa and the developing world at large, none of which have instilled much inspiration anyway, even as Renewable Energy is considered more a democratic idea, less macho, more idealistic than practical by many who have held any kind of important ‘Energy’ portfolio in past decades. The capitalists can afford to keep changing stance the direction winds blow and corporate professionals shall keep falling like Humpty Dumpty to any such ideology, soon as the words ‘profit’ and ‘KRA’ come in during year endings and budget sessions.

With every elected government in developing world in recent years was enforced to give proof of combating corruption, fueling of economy with tax retrievals, the US had a very different agenda this presidential transformation. The whole differential strongly rests on the Payee and Payer division with regards to balance of payments, vis-à-vis, world bank and donor funding where African countries especially, owe billions of dollars to China, US, EU and Japan (donor countries) in particular. The sword of taxation hangs on private sector, which was already looking at their respective governments with feeble trust to enter infrastructure, energy et al to put their own money at stake.

Also no country has had a brave PM like we in India do; that’s the popular view in India at large it seems. Like USA, we too find our people with mixed emotions of late but there are positives and negatives to perspectives in context of Energy and renewables per se.

In India the retrieval on taxes and money out of circulation may have been challenged in part by demonetization; but the PM has taken huge strides to solar-power the nation and this is what I want to leave you as the reader with on the possibility of renewable energy (as against fossils) being trumped (with some comparisons for African countries):

  1. Funding of Renewables under Obama’s programs, especially Lighting Africa has raised more eyebrows and seeing a dismal growth and even worse, the interest of private sector; the oil-rich African countries might just welcome a reversal. It might even create a revival in oil exploration now on hold on east coast, but that is a long shot until the oil pricing shows a definitive trend. So push for renewables will still need a push from governments and regional treaties, with growth ensured.
  2. The private sector renewal business in India particularly will rest with the big fifteen or so who have gained from power projects in thermal coal and are already way ahead with mega solar; even as rural electrification from solar is widely dismal but in mega solar there is optimism from the new guidelines for the (just tendered) 250MW Rewa in Madhya Pradesh have made 3 big attractions for investors – i) lowest tariff of 5.9 Cents (Rs. 4) per unit (ii) state government guarantees with inter-state open access with 25% to Delhi metro rail (iii) deemed generation for grid availability
  3. “Pay-as-you-go” models by mobile companies in Africa, with Kenya showing the way; as also in far east (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, etc.) are gaining success and India too has started with ADB $6 million support as over 60,000 rural households are in process to be electrified by off-grid solar by a company “Simpa Networks” and others like Reliance will be in fray whereas Adanis have put up the largest of solar mega farms already. However, still much remains to happen in the urban (rooftop) context as electricity woes are diminishing per reports.

In summary, a ‘Trumping’ of Renewables is highly unlikely as the pie for USA dependency is way too small to interest the man who shall build a wall around Mexico. Also, the African & developing country support has sustained Congressional blessings for more important reasons; China for one which practically leads in Africa by miles.

Yet, it would be unwise to say that India will be inert to whatever changes do take place in USA will not impact world population at large. So we can once again sharpen our business instincts and world vision by re-evaluating global equations that will impact business, profession and our general well being, since this is how the world is slowly becoming.

So the better thing will be to question “whether Modiji would find an ally in Trump for real to counter China or will Pakistan (which voices it’s nuclear muscle whenever under threat), offer reasons for a shift even as Hindu temples lighted ‘hawan’ piers in prayers for US to have Donald Trump win the election”.

For sure, the euphoria itself will be exciting for globalized professionals and I am looking forward to get ‘in there’ yet again and with more vigor, but with fingers crossed as the “change” scenario is getting way too dynamic and regular – but sure as hell, we have learnt and that’s what we as professionals must keep believing and keep contributing.

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Where Love has gone

Now this is the first time where I have put a title and really just starting to write on basis of, just a feeling that I have woken up with. But right away, I must warn you that the context may not be the most obvious.

2017 has begun and we seem to be in a world where from the moment we get up to time we go to bed, we must have a peep into our social media – the ‘WhatsApp’ or Facebook, Twitter and what have you. I have tried not to, many a time. But it fails to work. In fact whenever I decide not to err….peep; I am doing it more!

Why have we got so fixed to what somebody else has to say or what somebody has to say to what we said and if we are ‘liked’ then ‘how many’ are these people and who all?

It is very sad. No, not this act or the habit, but the very existence, adaptation and governance factor of such perception per se and social media by itself.

Gone are the days when I will sing a song, all in my house (whenever together with some and that’s how houses used to be back then), they would say ‘wah, wah’ pat me on the back and someone will give the kiddo a 100 in cash right away for whatever it might have been worth. That 100 or even the 50 and 10 would matter a whole lot and yes, fond memories are around still. They egged me to go on, feel on center of a stage; small as the achievements were at that time. They were my halo of being a part of my little world where rest of the world never mattered. It also made me to make my mistakes in life when I perhaps stopped working the passion.

Now I have travelled the world. More and many have joined in the ‘togetherness’ and it is wonderful to see them all, someone in USA, someone in Ethiopia, Tanzania, a European I met a decade ago, a relative of relative who became now more of a friend than the primary relative over time; even an old ‘enemy’ who is appearing suddenly on Facebook page seems like lost love now.

But all along the way, the closeness, the oneness, the ‘My-ness” if I may say, seems to be waning.

If we remember somebody across decades, or across distances or across wider relationships of official colleagues and business associates with whom we have shared our deepest feelings at times without even knowing them enough; there has to be something more to it if we ‘just remembered’ it one fine day again, in midst of ennui.

And the year ends (2016 just did) and a year beginning (2017) are as good a time as any and so it is that I am writing, expressing it the way it is.

At the same time, there is too much music, too much art, too much writing across the websites to make us be heard nowadays. And then…who doesn’t want to be heard? Our friend Rahul Ram, the bassist from ‘Indian Ocean’ even said of those like me “now Indian music is democratic; people from bedroom studios can post music” with HT Times heading calling it “clutter” (hey, my kinds cluttering on the biggies – wow!)

In times when I was a nobody and could do precious little I had friends who loved me to sing, relatives who sent messages wide and far of what a lovely little boy was the ‘son of my parents x & y’. Now it takes so much out of me to draw a ‘you did good’ from my own close ones; when I have really worked hard, invested so much and fought against so many odds to actually learn and master some across the whole 9 yards down the decades.

Maybe it is not so. Maybe they feel me destined to do even more, reach even higher. I am not old and I am certain there is no age peaking on excellence.

But do they want my ‘Excellence’ or is it, that ‘Love has gone’ and replaced with a YouTube comparative for the ‘seen’, ‘liked’ and there is even the ‘thumbs down’ to declare somebody worthy of a ‘glance’ and ‘peep’.

Where Love has Gone, we learn to re-evaluate ourselves.

I get up in morning or to sleep to find ‘who did not Like’ and if there was even a ‘thumbs down’!

These are my indications of “path, yet to traverse”or should I say, the path to where love still exists and be it our work for profits, music for creativity we carry or writing for vision that we carry; the “manzil” or the destination – is the SONG itself, and path is the quest for that love that exists…but needs to be extracted and brought out again and again, better and better.

At least this is what I would like my children and the youngsters I may mentor to believe and that’s all I wanted to say in this ‘first post 2017’. Those who had gone will come again….just do your thing to the best you can!

Coming soon on through http://talentrack.in/yogimusic and on YouTube:

  1. The YogiB Orchestral
  2. The Ghazal – a genre of ‘feelings’ and classical music