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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Qatar spending spree

Qatar is a small gulf country with vast oil and gas reserves. The export of oil and gas has led Qatar to enjoy highest per capita income in the world. 

The government is in the hands of Al Thani family who are governing Qatar as hereditary state since its founding.  The Government of Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hammad Al Thani provides subsidies to its people on almost everything from health care to education.

 Owing to huge subsidies, Qatar has not seen Arab spring. Rather it funded the rise against Arab monarchs some of whom were governing for many decades. The funding of Arab spring has now backfired and it has to put an end on its spending for its expansionary plans.

Still Qatar has other options to spend her shale money. The preparations for FIFA football worldcup in 2022, is an outlet for the government to bankroll the projects in order to successfully hold the event. The total expenditure on these projects is planned to be in excess of 200 billion dollars. Regional business intelligence specialist MEED has predicted that Qatar will see $30 billion worth of new infrastructure projects through 2015 alone.

Unlike other Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE, Qatar has not seen slow down in mega projects due to fall in oil prices. This has been said by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in a report showing the mixed impact of cheap oil on the Gulf.

Friday, April 10, 2015

6 thirsty industries

Water, the most abundant compound on earth, is used by many industries. When you use computers, wear cotton shirts, drink beverages you are actually consuming water. The industries which are most water thirsty are listed below. In terms of direct water usage, agriculture and power-generation industries top the list, which together are responsible for 90 percent of direct water withdrawals.
1.       Agriculture
Agriculture is the major water consumer of all the industries. For India more than 90% fresh water usage is in agriculture industry.
 The room for improvement in water usage efficiency is also in this industry. Using modern techniques like sprinter irrigation, drip irrigation etc can help to make use of water efficiently. In developing countries huge amount of water can be saved by simple improvements in the method of irrigation.
2.       Power generation
Generation of electricity is another bigg consumer of water.  Ultimately, it takes a staggering 95 liters of water to produce one kilowatt-hour of electricity, according to Tamim Younos, research professor of water resources at Virginia Tech.
Pumping oil, cooling the power plant, removing pollutants from power plant exhaust, generating steam to run turbines, and washing away residue after fossil fuels are burned all involve water usage.
All sources of power generation are not equal in water consumption efficiency. For example natural gas is the most efficient source of energy in terms of water consumption.
3.       Food processing
Huge water is used to wash and rinse fruits, vegetables and meat. Food processing industry uses water to
1.       Wash raw food,
2.       washing after steaming/peeling/ size reducing,
3.       Balanching
4.       Filling
5.       Sanitation and plant cleaning
Half of the water used in the fruit and vegetable sector is for washing and rinsing
4.       Textile and garment industry
Textile and garment industry is very water intensive. Most of the water used is in wet processing and dyeing fabrics. The textile industry uses 100 liter of water to process only 1 kg of textile fabrics.
5.       Meat production
According to a study by the UNESCO Institute for Water Education, conducted between 1996 and 2005, “29 percent of the total water footprint of the agricultural sector in the world is related to the production of animal products.”
 It takes more than 1,800 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef
6.       Semiconductor manufacturing
Semiconductor Manufacturing Plants can use as much water as a small city. These plants use water in washing the silicon wafers with ultra pure water. One manufacturing plant uses anywhere between 2 to 4 million gallons of very, very pure water— ultrapure water—per day, and that is roughly equivalent to the water usage of a city of around 40,000 people.

Ultrapure water is a term in the semiconductor industry to emphasize the fact that the water is treated to the highest levels of purity for all contaminant types, including: organic and inorganic compounds; dissolved and particulate matter; volatile and non-volatile, reactive and inert; hydrophilic and hydrophobic; and dissolved gases.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kingmakers of the Indian sub-continent during dynastic rule

Kingmaker is the one who either lack resources or due to other restraints such as legal one cannot be contender to the throne, but can influence the successful candidate in the game of throne. The person or group can be termed as king makers. Kingmaker can use political, monetary, religious or military means to influence the succession.

The word kingmaker has negative connotation. The very idea of someone ruling from the shadows might go some way toward explaining why there is a negative connotation to the term "kingmaker”.

Two interesting groups and individuals who were termed as power broker or king maker During Indian dynastic rule are discussed below.

Chihalgain, Chalisa or Turkan-i-chihalgani was a group of nobles.

Shams-ud-din Iltutmish or Altamash (1167-1236) after ascending to the throne realized that Turkish nobles were not trustworthy and could conspire against him to overthrow his rule. Therefore, he had a group of faithful slaves to protect him. This group was known as Amir-i-Chahalgani.

The group which is also called ‘The Forty’ had become a power on their own. After the death of Iltutmish, the successor kings were not able to take control of the state affairs. This group took the role of king-maker and king remover.

Historian Ziauddin Barani writes that since ‘The Forty’ were slaves of Iltutmish and were posted on high ranks at the same time, they considered themselves important and were not ready to recognize any of their colleagues as superior. The members also competed with other members of the group in control of the army, possessing property and wealth. As a result, there was strong rivalry and conflict among them too.

The number of nobles known as chihalgani has never been more than twenty five.

Later when Ghiyas ud din balban, one of former member of chihalgani, became king, he broke the power of these nobles. Ghiyas ud din balban recognized the fact that he could not become a real ruler in the presence of Chihalgani members; therefore he removed them one by one. Being the former member of the group he knew their modus operandi. Even he poisoned his cousin, who was a member of the group of Forty. The network of spies, established by him, helped him to remain aware of Chihalgani moves.

Sayyid brothers in era of Mughal

These were two powerful Generals in Mughal army. The brothers were from the community known as Sadaat-e-Barha. Names of two brothers were Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha and Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha.

Two brothers became influential after the death of Aurangzeb which was followed by anarchy. During the anarchy the brothers became king-makers. During the decade of 1710 the brothers were virtual ruler over the state and the king was reduced to the figurehead. When Muhammad shah ascended the throne, Sayyid brothers became his regents. Later on the King Muhammad Shah took back control of the state by arranging the killing of the two brothers. Hussain Ali khan was murdered while Hassan Ali khan was poisoned to death. In this way the rule of Sayyid Brothers came to an end. Hence Muhammad shah proved to be Balban for the Sayyid brothers.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

15 Ways to Finance Your Start-up

Not all small businesses need financing. Accurately gauge the need for financing because usually entrepreneurs make mistakes in assessing the need for financing.
There are number of ways in which small entrepreneurs can arrange financing. Some of them are listed below along with brief description.

1.       Bootstrapping is when you reinvest the profits of your business. Growth is slow, when you work your way up, but business decisions are under your control.

2.       Friend and family loans Arab Americans prefer to get loans from family rather than bank. Getting financed from family is easy in strong families as they are more willing to trust you. Regular meetings and communication is important in order to avoid misunderstanding with friends and family.

3.       Savings Utilizing your own saving is one of the most common methods to grow and simultaneously have control over the business decision.

4.       Home-equity Home equity may serve as collateral for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC).

5.     Angel investors These are wealthy individuals who fulfill financing needs of start-ups against convertible securities or ownership equity.

6.       Venture capital Getting financed from venture capital is another option. Usually venture capital funds take ownership interest in young companies. They also take part in management of your business.

7.       Crowd funding Crowd funding is pooling funds from large number of people, often using internet. Many websites help you in arranging crowd funding for your venture. Some of the sites are Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc. The highest amount raised from Crowdfunding is USD$70,000,000. This amount was raised by Star citizen, upcoming video game.

8.       Rotating saving and credit association In this arrangement members of the association meet and every member pay fixed amount. The total amount is than paid to one member. Same cycle is repeated to pay lump sum amount to every member of the society. When every member has received lump sum amount the association is disbanded.

9.       Factoring It is selling your account receivable to financer.

10.   Applying for small business loan Akuwat, and Grameen bank are some of the institutions in developing countries for aspiring entrepreneurs.

11.   Sale and leaseback transaction A company sells some of its equipment to a lessor, such as a bank or another financial institution, which leases the equipment back to the company. Thus the company is no longer the owner of the equipment but keeps the use of it. This commercial transaction allows to companies to have at their immediate disposal the cash to make investments in new business opportunities.

12.  Keep your financing requirement to minimum. Squandering your cash will play havoc with your business. Efficient management is most important thing in keeping your finances under control.

13.  Efficient management Keep your debtors’ collection day to minimum.

14.     Buying on credit. Buying on credit is another means of financing with added advantage that it is interest free. The down-side is that relationship with client can deteriorate if you fail to pay within stipulated time.

15.      Merchant cash advances. It is selling your future credit sales against a lump sum amount. For example if you get 10,000 Rupees lump sum than you have to sell 13000 rupees worth of future sale to the lender.