By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, Dec 9 (IANS) West Indies cricketer-turned-musician Dwayne John Bravo -- aka DJ Bravo -- who is in India for a multi-city musical tour with his Champion team and for his new track "The Chamiya Song" says that he cannot wait to collaborate with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, and shares insight on how Indian and Caribbean cultures are similar and diverse in nature at the same time.
"I see a lot of opportunity for artists from both the countries to do collaboration and, hopefully in near future, we will do more of such projects. Recently I have recorded one song with the Punjabi singer Jassi Gill, and we will release the song soon. More than musicians, I am an admirer of some of the Bollywood stars. I so wish to collaborate with them. I have to confess I am a fan of Shah Rukh Khan, and I admire Deepika Padukone, too. I hope the opportunity comes, actually, I believe it will!" Bravo told IANS.
The cricketer enjoys a huge popularity in India, having played for IPL teams like Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. As a singer, he had collaborated with Ankit Tiwari in the song "Jager Bomb" for the film "Tum Bin II" in 2016.
Lately, he has been in the news for recording "The Chamiya Song" with Thai singer-songwriter Rimi Nique. The number features dancer Shakti Mohan.
So, where is the common thread between Indian and West Indies culture? "Firstly, when I represent West Indies as a cricketer, people tend to think that it is one country with one culture. That is not correct, we are as diverse as it can get because West Indies is a collection of several islands, and each of these have a very independent and unique cultural identity. Together, we represent the West Indies, the entire Caribbean. So, for instant I am a native of Trinidad and Tobago. Our culture is different from Jamaican culture," Bravo explained.
"In Trinidad, our music is Soca music. We are also known for Chutney music. This genre has a lot of fusion elements drawn from Indian music because there is a huge Indian population living in Trinidad for years. They have become influenced by our culture and we also had the same exchange. So, when I am here in India, I clearly see the cultural similarity," he said.
Bravo also emphasised on how that is different from other Caribbean islands.
"In Jamaica, they are known for Reggae music. That is a different genre altogether. They do not have as much Indian population as we have in our island. So, our culture is as diverse as Indian culture -- just as, in India, every state has a different culture," Bravo added.
After retirement from international Test cricket in 2015, he has excelled as an entertainer, and has established his brand as a musician under the name DJ Bravo. Somewhere, however, he feels there is the need for formal training in music, and admits that currently his music is only passion-driven.
"I really do not think as a musician I am that great. I have a sense of music, I love to entertain people since I am a kid. When I was playing cricket for my country, it was a dream. When you are living your dream, you are naturally focused and work hard because there is no other way in the sports field to get success. You have to perform. It is the same thing when I am on stage -- then, I have to perform!" Bravo pointed out.
He added: "I want to get into formal training to improve myself as a musician. Look I am a sportsman, and all I know is that with practice, I have to excel."
While most retired cricketers find an alternative career in coaching, ot as cricket commentator or administrator, Bravo has found it among his fans, on live stage.
So, what's his way to stay relevant with time? "Life is simple. You should just find your true calling and live your dream. The fact is if you are following your passion, you will become successful sooner or later. After cricket, I have my career in entertainment, because I have a great team, and a strong fan-following. I think if you can celebrate life with them, you can stay relevant with time."
"If we are successful, we earn money, and there will be less poverty -- which means (there will be) less corruption. The world will become a safer place to live in, for us and for the children. We can generate positivity around us. I am never intimidated by the success of others because I am evolving," Bravo signed off.
New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) Reduce financial and operational inefficiencies across India's power distribution sector, which as of May had accumulated massive overdue payment liabilities of Rs 1,16,340 crore to generation companies, by retiring old and expensive thermal power plants, a report by IEEFA said on Thursday.
Written by Vibhuti Garg and Kashish Shah from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the report recommends, among other strategies, that discoms work with state governments to retire their inefficient and expensive thermal power plants as a key pathway to reducing their average cost of power procurement.
Discoms carry a total outstanding debt of Rs 4,78,000 crore or $66bn in FY2018/19.
"We suggest state-based discoms sit down with state generation utilities and review what old thermal power plants they can retire, given the state of surplus capacity," Garg told IANS.
"Many thermal power stations are old and operating at well under half their capacity, yet the states are bound by contracts to continue to pay hefty capacity charges.
"We understand that retiring power plants won't be easy as the proponents will want to make money for the life of the contract period. But in order to move forward and start to reduce the massive discom debt while enabling the states and the nation as a whole to transition to a cleaner, cheaper energy economy, the states will have to jump this hurdle."
By taking steps to retire end-of-life, expensive legacy thermal power contracts, states will reduce their losses and be in more of a position to contract cleaner, cheaper renewable power and invest in new technologies to further reduce losses such as smart meters.
Discoms have been unable to improve their operational performance even after receiving multiple bailout packages from the government in the last decade.
While there is no silver bullet to improve discoms' financial sustainability and viability, the report analyses three state-based case studies with respective recommendations on Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, while also focusing on action the government can take now to reduce the discoms' financial burden.
These include resolving legacy contracts issues and closing inefficient plants which will result in significant savings from fixed charge payments while reducing pollution and carbon footprints.
Also, reducing cross-subsidies to decrease the burden on commercial and industrial customers and increase healthy competition while allowing for the implementation of direct benefit transfers, solar irrigation pumps, and the adoption of policies favouring the uptake of solar rooftop systems.
"There is no point in bailing out state discoms again and again without locking in a systemic improvement," said Shah.
"Absent a sustained resolution of the discom sector losses, India's overall power sector reform will be stilted and ineffective.
"The government of India should consider implementing these recommendations and if state government lending and guarantees and discom subsidies are still required, they should be tied to the performance of the states in implementing reform in their distribution sectors."
Garg said the extreme financial mess in the distribution sector is unsustainable and requires bold policy choices and government expenditure to create an economically sustainable national electricity system.
"New private competition can bring new capital and more innovation," added Garg.