Norms Changed Where Spectrum Was Allotted, Not Auctioned: Prasad

Norms Changed Where Spectrum Was Allotted, Not Auctioned: Prasad

India on Wednesday approved changes in policy where telecom spectrum or airwaves were allotted administratively rather than auctioned, to arrive at the market-determined price for the scarce resource. This is to facilitate sharing and trading of spectrum by players.

“The most recent recommended reserve price will be taken as the provisional price, where auction-determined price is not available,” Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after a meeting of the cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Subsequent to the completion of ensuing auction and with the availability of auction-determined price, the provisional price already charged will be adjusted with the auction-determined price with effect from the date of liberalisation on a pro-rata basis,” he said.

The cabinet decision is based on the recommendations of industry watchdog, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), and will facilitate optimal utilisation of spectrum by introducing new technologies, sharing and trading, the minister said.

“A sum of Rs. 1,300 crores is likely to accrue to the exchequer by this process.”

The government had already specified the norms for administratively allotted spectrum in 800MHz and 1,800MHz bands, and the watchdog was approached for the same on similar spectrum in the 900MHz band.

In 800MHz, four circles had been left out. But this, too, was done end-February.

During consultations, the watchdog wanted to know from the stakeholders if the liberalisation of administratively-allotted spectrum in 900MHz band should be similar to what has been spelt out by theDoT for 800MHz and 1800MHz band, and if such reform should be made mandatory.

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Tags: DoT, India, Spectrum, Telecom, Trai
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The Daily Fix: Akbar Owaisi was jailed for hate speech. Why not apply same standard to Baba Ramdev?

The Latest: Top stories of the day
1. Honour killing: Dad, uncles killed Mandya girl for affair with Dalit boy.
2. 3 Dalit teens stripped and beaten for stealing bike in Chittor.
3. A 31-year-old Dalit, working as a clerk in an Ahmedabad court,committed suicide at his home alleging casteist discrimination and harassment at his workplace.
4. A Spanish couple have been attacked in Pushkar, Rajasthan and the woman’s clothes torn off.
5. Pilibhit fake encounter case: CBI court sentences 47 policemen to life for killing 10 Sikh pilgrims after branding them Khalistani terrorists.
6. The Bharatiya Janata Party has filed a police complaint against a journalist whose tweet mocked Modi’s trip to Saudi Arabia.
7. The price of petrol has been hiked by Rs 2.19 a litre and diesel by 98 paise per litre.
8. Virat Kohli has been named captain of World Twenty20 XI, but there’s no Indian in women’s team of the tournament.

The Big Story: Mass murder as mundane

On Sunday, yoga guru Baba Ramdev addressed a sadbhavana, peace and understanding rally organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Haryana. The aim of the function was to bring back peace after the brutal Jat reservation riots in February. But Ramdev doesn’t seem to have got the full memo.

Instead of focussing on peace, he seemed to hint at mass murder and the decapitation of lakhs of people who refuse to say “Bharat Mata ki jai”.

“Some person wears a cap and stands up,” began Ramdev referring to Muslims. “He says I will not say ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ even if you decapitate me. This country has a law, otherwise let alone one, we can behead lakhs. But we respect this country’s law. If somebody stands up and speaks like this, that gives strength to hooligans. We respect this country’s law and Constitution. Otherwise if anybody disrespects Bharat Mata, we have the capability of beheading not one but thousands and lakhs.”

Muslims and other minority groups that believe in monotheism have pointed out that they can be nationalistic without invoking India as a goddess.

Ramdev’s comments came just a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavais demanded Indians who woudn’t say “Bharat Mata ki jai” to be expelled from the country.

In both cases, the religious nationalism of the demand that all Indian chant “Bharat Mata ki jai” as a proof of their patriotism is a convenient smokescreen to hide behind given the BJP’s massive failures in governance. Ramdev’s call to turn Haryana’s attention to Muslims who refuse to chant a slogan is a poor cover for the BJP’s complete faiure to control the terrible violence during the recent agitation for reservations by Jats. So scandalous was the official response that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana – apprehensive of more riots – meekly agreed to be arm-twisted into actually awarding the quota. In Maharashtra, Fadnavis’s rhetoric is a cynical attempt to distract attention from the crushing drought in the state.

In 2013, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi was arrested for hate speech. Were the same standards applied to Baba Ramdev, the police would be pursuing him with equal vigour. But given the climate of majoritarianism today, that seems an unlikely prospect.

The Big Scroll
Watch the video of Ramdev admitting that India’s laws prevent him from beheading the “lakhs” of people who refuse to say Bharat Mata ki Jai. How Bharat Mata” became the code word for a theocratic Hindu state. And historian DN Jha points out that it’s only from the late 19th century that the idea of Bharat as mother found its way into thepopular vocabulary.

Politicking & Policying
1. I spent the most important years without my father: Saibaba’s daughter.
2. Row in Bihar over the inclusion of strongman Shahabuddin in the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s newly constituted national executive committee.
3. Congress government in Meghalaya may collapse on its own, claimsthe Bharatiya Janata Party.

Punditry

1. India should have close ties with the Gulf countries and with Iran,argues Kanwal Sibal in the Telegraph.
2. VP Ansari’s remarks on the need to protect minority rights have been made before. But they bear repeating, says Fali S Nariman in theIndian Express.
3. Ajit Balakrishnan in the Business Standard asks that if we can come up with ways of sharing property rights on the internet, why not do something similar in urban spaces?

Don’t Miss
Raksha Kumar explains why two adivasi women and an activist refused to ask for bail in Chhattisgarh

The district of Raigarh is protected under the Fifth Schedule of India’s Constitution, with special safeguards around the transfer of indigenous lands.

Chhattisgarh’s rehabilitation guidelines state that families, especially those living in districts covered in Fifth Scheduled areas, are eligible for the allocation of alternate land or housing, preferably in the area where they already reside.

The protesting villagers of Bankhet are yet to get alternate land or housing. The state revenue department officials claim an eviction notice was issued to the three households on March 22, asking them to vacate their homes by March 30. However, according to the residents, the notice reached them only on the morning of April 1, the day the bulldozers arrived with the police.

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This Popular Game About Colours Was Made By a Colourblind Man

This Popular Game About Colours Was Made By a Colourblind Man

David Reichelt is a colourblind former Iraq War veteran, a medic who wanted to become a filmmaker. Instead, he’s become half of the team behind Color Switch, one of the most popular mobile games to release this year. The game has nearly 4,000 reviews on iTunes, and it’s been downloaded between 10 million and 50 million times on Google Play, with over 200,000 reviews.

“I wanted to be a film maker – I had around $8,000 (roughly Rs. 5.5 lakh) worth of film gear, and I sold all of it to finance the apps,” says Reichelt. “Otherwise, I did part time jobs (including cleaning pools and parking cars) to pay for myself. I lost $15,000 to $20,000 (roughly between Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 13 lakh) along the way, but then Color Switch caught on, and there are now 50 million downloads.”

It was the number one app on the App Store for 27 days, edging out Flappy Bird’s 21 day streak, and it’s got one more thing in common with Flappy Bird – it’s a one-touch endless progression game, where you tap the screen to make your character bounce upwards, and progress through a series of obstacles, with excellent timing required to see you through. A small mistake and you’ll hit an object, which means it’s game over right away.

(Also see: Here are 800 Flappy Bird alternatives that are not simple clones)

The similarities end there though; unlike Flappy Bird, which “borrowed” its artwork and otherwise looked so terrible it was kind of endearing, Color Switch is slick. It’s sleek, with a great looking black and neon design, and pulsing music that hooks you into the game from the very start.

Also, where Flappy Bird is a one trick pony that really wouldn’t have been memorable if it wasn’t for the insane difficulty level, Color Switch incorporates a number of design elements that elevate it and make it more than just another “Flappy” style game.

Looking at Color Switch, it’s hard to believe that it’s been made by someone who is colour blind, since the colour changing mechanic is such an integral part of the game. Yet that’s perhaps why the game looks the way it does – the bold colours might even be considered garish, the flat black background too stark, but to Reichelt, it looked great. The result is something bold that stands out instead, though there were a few hiccups along the way. “I can see about 10 percent of the colours that other people can see, it’s hard to explain, but the game looks fine to me,” he says. “But for example, I thought I had picked blue for one of the colours, and I later realised that it’s actually purple.”

Reichelt says that he made 40 games before he hit pay dirt with Color Switch, but he happily admits that they were not very good. Once the idea for Color Switch hit him though, it was time to hit the drawing board, and figure out how exactly to make the game stand out.

“I would always observe the different games that I enjoyed playing, and I absorbed the ideas, and then I brainstormed 300 different ideas – literally with pen and paper – and Color Switch came out of that,” Reichelt says. The next step was to look at a number of different sources for inspiration, and then figure out how to make something unique and addictive.

david_reichelt_color_switch.jpg“I downloaded every game where you have to tap to progress upwards, and took them apart, to figure out their DNA,” says Reichelt. “What were the parts of these different games that were fun, that were rewarding as a user, and what were the parts that did not really work.”

Inspiration could come from unlikely sources. “I was opening up my Gmail account one day, and you know how there is a round icon that flips through different colours when it’s loading?” he asks. “That gave me an idea about the look of things, and how the colour mechanic could work.”

The result of all these ideas was something that clearly draws inspiration from a number of different sources – from games such as Flappy Bird or Crossy Road, to the visual stylings of Tron – but has its own unique identity.

(Also see: A Game of Clones – Mobile Games Will Be Cloned and There’s Nothing You Can Do About It)

The way the game works is simple – you’re controlling a small ball that bounces upwards every time you tap on the screen, and drops back down otherwise. Ahead of you are a series of obstacles – spinning circles, pinwheels, pulsing orbs and fast moving bars, of four different colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, and purple. These near-neon colours stand out starkly against the plain black background, and the obstacles are segmented into these primary colours.

The gameplay mechanic is simple – there are stars, which are points, and there are discs, which change the colour of your ball. The ball can pass through obstacles that are the same colour, and if you come into contact with a different colour instead, you instantly smash into smithereens, with little blobs of every colour flying off in every direction.

It’s a simple game but one that’s really compelling, and it’s come a long way from his first game, says Reichelt. “My first game was called Baby 3 Horn’s Great Escape. It was about helping this baby dinosaur. We outsourced the programming for the game and that was a bad experience, the game didn’t feel right to us,” he says. “In the end, we decided that we need to be able to do this in-house.”

baby_three_horn.jpgAfter that, Reichelt says, there was a number of games made for the Nook. These were super basic games, he says, but over time the team was gaining experience and getting close to the point where it would be able to make Color Switch.

When you start playing the game, it’s easy to understand it’s so popular. It’s visually upbeat, simple, and frustrating at the same time. It never feels like the game is cheating when you die, and you always think, just one more turn and I can do better. There are lots of small cosmetic features to unlock along the way, but the core gameplay never changes, and it’s perfectly suited for lots and lots of short attempts.

Dying is dramatic, and feels like a carnival. The colours are steady but the steady thumping beat of the music is unrelenting, and everything seems to pulse like a carnival. The colour mechanic adds a unique twist to what would otherwise be a very simple game, and the visual and audio design do a great job of keeping you addicted.

The music was first made by a DJ friend of one of the team members, Reichelt says. “I then cut the music from one of the tracks to suit the game, and it just fits,” he adds.

color_switch_gameplay.jpgThe games multiple characters keep you interested, and it’s a free game that makes money through displaying ads. Because of this, Reichelt is invested in keeping people engaged with the game as much as possible, and so there have been a number of updates with new game modes such as Reverse and Race, and new characters to play as. There’s now an in-app purchase to remove ads as well, on Android right now, and with an update bringing this to iOS soon.

This means that for Reichelt and the publisher, Fortafy Games, are in no hurry to try and create new games right away, and would rather focus on supporting Color Switch. “We haven’t talked about what’s next yet. We’re nearly at 50 million downloads, and hopefully we’ll hit 100 million this year, so there are lots of small updates we’re going to do that should keep people interested,” he says.

He’s not sure what comes next – but he tells us, “it’s funny, because I had to sell my film gear to fund the app, and now I’ve gotten a decent amount of money, and I’ve bought all my film equipment back.”

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Color Switch, David Reichelt, Flappy Bird, Fortafy games, Gaming, Mobile games, Mobiles, One touch game
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The Independent newspaper dies as it was born – in the white heat of technology

The Independent newspaper dies as it was born – in the white heat of technology
Photo Credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP
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Sunday, bloody Sunday: things began to go wrong for The Independent when the decision was made in 1990 to publish a Sunday edition. From the outset, it haemorrhaged money. And Murdoch dealt a second debilitating blow when he cut the price of competitor The Times. Revenue evaporated, and the Indy titles never truly recovered.

Perhaps the British media’s most regular topic of idle speculation in recent years, the question of how long the Independent newspapers could soldier on for has been answered emphatically by the news that the papers are to cease printing in March and become an online-only operation, with the loss of many jobs.

I was one of the journalists that launched the Independent in 1986 and worked there until 1995. As the dust settles, the autopsy will identify a sequence of events that turned the greatest Fleet Street success story of modern times into a protracted tragedy.

The Independent was perverse, smart, irreverent, sceptical – and very well written. It began without much idea of where it was going. Early news content had rather too many stories about what was “set to” happen, too much about what people said and too little about what they did. But the editors, sub editors and reporters hit their stride. They were encouraged to find stories and project vividly what was unearthed; if the Press Association news agency was covering it, then let’s take their coverage and have Indy reporters out finding unique content.

And they did. Tony Bevins in politics, for example. Heather Mills in home affairs. Paddy Barclay in football. John Carlin in South Africa. John Price’s news editing. Photographers were encouraged to eschew conventional picture composition. And their striking images were used imaginatively.

But the paper’s greatest virtue from was perhaps its copy tasting, the process of decision-making about what should be published, what prominence it should be given, and what should be discarded.

One typically compelling splash revealed the high number of babies born in New York to mothers who were HIV-positive. It was a story that had been buried in copy filed by a news agency. But the Independent’s curiosity was aroused, the story developed and competitors were left baffled by what they had missed – just one example of the paper’s independent streak.

Some of the distinctive journalism that characterised the papers was lost as ownership shifted. By the mid-1990s the Mirror Group had a stake. In the early 2000s it moved to a compact (tabloid) formatm and more recently it launched a successful cut-price spin-off, the i, which is being sold on to to Johnston Press.

The i was born under the Lebedevs who bought the titles from Independent News & Mediain 2010. In recent decades there have still been traces of the paper’s original voice, but only a shadow of that early élan.

Saved by Thatcher

Readers responded, but slowly. One month, not long after launch, the company only narrowly found the cash to pay wages. Its saviour was probably Mrs Thatcher. Her governments polarised opinion, in Fleet Street as well as among the electorate. So theIndependent’s boast of neutrality – “It is, are you?” – was suited perfectly to attract readers to its coverage of the 1987 general election.

Other ingredients merit mention. It was Murdoch, paradoxically, who made theIndependent possible: excellent reporters and editors on The Times and The Sunday Timesopted not to cross picket lines at the paper’s union-busting printers at Wapping, and were promptly recruited by the Indy’s founders, especially editor Andreas Whittam Smith.

Whittam Smith, the son of an Anglican clergyman and known by his staff as “the saintly one”, was a thoughtful, slightly detached figure. For humble reporters, it was hard to discern the essence of his ability. But he created in the City Road offices an atmosphere in which staff felt they had a proprietorial and emotional stake in their paper, a compelling incentive to do what they loved to do: good, serious and (also importantly) occasionally frivolous journalism. As circulation climbed, narrowing the gap with the Guardian, theDaily Telegraph and The Times, there were more reasons to be cheerful. This was the place to work on Fleet Street.

It was also Whittam Smith’s decision to launch the Independent on Sunday, something that puzzled those members of staff who recalled him not that long before denying any intention to enter the Sunday market. Perhaps it was an attempt to stymie the Sunday Correspondent, which had just launched.

From 1990, after Murdoch fired the first shots in the price war, energy levels dipped. The papers were never without flair, without imagination. But there were increasingly without money. But for those four or five years, it hardly seemed to matter. We were masters of the newspaper universe.

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