Category Archives: Business

Life after demonetisation

I was in the hospital along with my mother in law (mil) when PM Modi gave his speech on the notes ban on Rs.500 & Rs.1000 denominations. Although it was almost past the dinner time, I didn’t really feel anything at that point. But next day, the breakfast was late and so was the lunch, even for the patients who were meant to get food on a certain time. Interestingly, the coffee vendor the hospital floor was not accepting card, Paytm and or the old notes. Which means I didn’t get coffee that morning.

Ah! Yes I was very irritated and getting restless even. Following week after demonetisation; we ran out of cash to pay our cook and maid. We had to ask for their bank account details which they didn’t know. Sadly since these two ladies who do such a phenomenal job at my place actually depend on cash for all sorts of transactions and save money in nooks and corners of their homes.

My husband and I switched to Paytm and credit cards for transactions. However, our vegetable vendor took a little while to get online. He still doesn’t accept credit cards but has started Paytm service to maintain his loyal customers.

2 weeks after demonetisation, I find myself standing in never ending ques to get cash an also to deposit cash of old denomination. ATMs are running out of cash and suddenly no one seems to have cash at all.

I managed to give salaries to my maid and cook somehow, and was left with no cash at all. I had to consciously change my shopping style and decide to go to places that accept credit or debit cards. I enjoyed this phase a little as it meant no arguments for change and a proper bill  was given to me.

Eventually, cash has started to appear now. However, I’m now heavily dependent on Paytm and plastic money for transactions; even while commuting by taxis. Although all the political parties and the entire nation is in debate on whether this move by our PM has brought the black money and parallel economy to its knees; I feel the sectors which are heavily cash dependent have suffered the most.

The unorganized sector that employs a lot of people has suffered the most. This move of the present government talks about transparency and technology driven transactions. I’m wondering when and how will my maid and cook become tech savvy?

Wondering all the farmers  and people working in small and medium enterprises will change their business workings consciously to be able to survive the tsunami of demonetisation…

Despite the sudden changes in the economic transactions, life seems to be moving slowly and steadily and coming to normalcy. Nobody seems to be revolting, even if many have lots jobs and are struggling to maintain a steady cash flow and also to continue leading a good life.

The real impact of how much black money was coveted through this exercise is yet to be known. Whether this move will bring about any change in the way how black money is transacted in this country, is questionable. If demonetisation will stop funding of terrorist outfits, is another question to be asked?

The timing of demonetisation in this country while many political parties are prepping for elections in UP, Uttarakhand and several other states is also questionable. Since from now on; no party will be able to transact in cash to bring people to attend rallied and also to form any coalitions whatsoever.

This post is a commoner’s view and experience of demonetisation. I’m not an economist or a politician to project or polarise anyone. Do share your experiences and lets educate, enlighten and empower the masses.


CSR & Business gupshup

By Celin Thomas

Consider myself lucky to be able to be a participant in a CSR conclave orgnanised by Yes Bank & IICA in Mumbai on the 8th June 2012 at the Nehru Centre.

Hon. Min. Veerappa Moily was present and gave his valuable inputs and feedback on the topic of discussion. The one good point which was nicely brought out was the trust deficit primarily triggered by irresponsible business practices that lead to the global financial meltdown in 2008, which was bravely accepted by the Minister himself in his speech.

Peoples loss of faith in corporations and government was primarily due to the fact that they were being perceived as greedy and least considerate about business practices, environment and community welfare. According to Mr. Moily, businesses can bridge the trust gap by adopting effective CSR initiatives. CSR is Corporate Social Responsibility. Which is often confused as charity by many even today.

Considering the global industrial scenario, CSR which was also the main topic of discussion in the conclave- is considered or rather was projected as the saviour by the eminent panelists.The panel consisted of  noted academicians, experts from consultancies, IICA, planning commission & ministry. The best part of the conclave was the knowledgable panelists who belonged to some of the reputed firms and industrial houses such as Deloitte, Tata, Jindal, Godrej, ITC, etc.

Financial contribution to CSR fund debate
I began to wonder if Mr. Moily and IICA were lobbying with the corporates here in Mumbai through this conclave to promote the 2% of PAT contribution to CSR agenda. Which is BTW being successfully implemented by PSUs in India.
This topic bought upon funny and intriguing revelations. Like how does one go about spending 2% of the PAT and into what? Define CSR activities or whatever that may fall in the gamut of CSR initiatves? There was talk about necessary CSR guidelines that would answer all the queries which were raised.

I guess the only concensus that the conclave agreed upon was to work amicably on a set of guidelines that set the precedent for spending on CSR and how to go about the implementation of activities.

Creating social value
CSR is definitely the new mantra to revive businesses and their reputation whilst reinstating faith of people in their government. For extractive industries, CSR is huge mandate. Earlier product and businesses revolved around inducing demand and upscaling lifestyle. But after the recent economic meltdown, everyone is slowly coming to senses that available natural resources need to be used judiciously and that very soon there’ll be hardly any means to live luxurious lifestyle.

Pretty soon, having a luxurious life may seem like an outdated concept or worse could even be fined just as the largely debated carbon tax, there could also be a lifestyle tax. So things that are additional or excess may soon turn into baggage or liabilities.

Here is where social entrepreneurs and corporates can find the purpose and the future trend. Which implies in a simple manner that, produce or provide a service that adds value to life. Instead of creating a buzz and demand, therby plundering natural resources. It is better to switch your business model to suit future requirements. I think in the long run, only those companies will survive that have capacitated themselves with processes that support products and services that generate value rather than support Greed!

Two decades ago
Companies never had corporate governance or any structured policy and value system. But today a corporate functions like a huge family tree, with the head of a family and several stakeholders. The onus lies amongst the senior most to decide and act upon responsibly for the wlefare of the vulnerable stakeholders. Instilling values mid-way will be very difficult, it is always better to begin with a good set of values; however having no values can leave a company clueless about its stand on certain matters that may have legal & regulatory implications.

It is of utmost importance, to map out each and every process of the company and also its supply chain for all the applicable norms and check for compliances, here is where one can always start & never go wrong. Policies and guidelines, charters, laws, acts, regulatory bodies have sprung up to monitor and gauge performance & compliance. Performance & compliance are the first mandatory steps.

The real measurement of the company’s life comes from its social investment. This investment can be in terms of its policies,practices and processes that lead them to produce products and serve their stakeholder accordingly. Social investment or responsible businesses essentially generate value in the long haul. They command respect for the organisation and its representatives.

Certain developmental inititaves have reflected government and corporate apathy. These initiatives have given birth to naxalism, maosim even terrorism. While there have been certain inititaves and policies on the regulatory and corporate level that have bought about social awakening and reforms such as diversity & inclusivity, equal opportunity, affirmative action, etc.

It is clear that corporates play a big role in abolishing and at times even creating social evils. Needless to say, it is imperative that the corporations must have values based on ethical systems that would provide the necessary impetus in influencing profits, people and eventually the planet.