An End to a Turbulent Year

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Gp Capt R Vijayakumar (Retd), VSM

It was a year in which everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. 2020 will go down in history as the most unprecedented year, a test for human race. It is imperative that we use the time well, and use the crisis to learn, prepare and adapt innovative ways.

The things around us have dramatically changed. This is also the time when companies are asking their staff to “return to the workplace.” We have brought out a series of stories that lays stress on career, empathy at the workplace and diversity. The insights and experiences contained therein would benefit both organizations and their staff; the stories are also very apt considering the immense challenges and changes posed by the New Normal.

The Farm Acts

Farmers in many parts of the country have got together to stage vigorous protest against the proposed agricultural reforms. Having attended and organized a few seminars on the recent Farm Laws, it is hard to understand what exactly it is that farmers are worked up about. The main bone of contention appears to be fears about the minimum support price (MSP) on food grains. The government provides MSP as a safety net to agriculturists; the proposed reform clearly states that the government will continue the MSP policy while at the same time enable farmers also to sell their produce to whoever they choose to and who might offer a price higher than the MSP. But it is unfortunate that why are farmers bringing the country to a standstill. The protests are a reminder of why the government cannot skip the important step of building consensus in policy-making.

Despite the not so conducive investment conditions prevailing due to the pandemic, global investors have continued to repose trust in the Indian market, going by the funds being invested into the stock market and even in distressed assets

The Wistron incident is an example of how exploitation of labour practices could accompany businesses moving to India. What caused the violence? The reason is said to be the reported non-payment of wages or its delay and flouting of labour laws. In the absence of avenue for workers to channelize their grievances and adequate collective bargaining mechanism as well as social dialogue, frequent labour unrest including to the extent of violent confrontations could very well be a daily reality in the high-end manufacturing facilities. Hope that the  passing of new labour codes may not further impact labour protection.  At a basic level, it points to a lack of empathy at the workplace. We have a high-profile team of panelists discussing the nuances of empathy and how it can alter the course of a business. You may read the article in this issue to gather more insight.

Coding for Children

In the midst of emerging online learning systems, ensuring a blissful childhood remains a key challenge for parents. There is an imperative need to provide children soft skills to nurture their emotional intelligence which would enable them to boldly face the challenges in life. Hence, introducing children of age 4 or 5 to coding is without a question far too early. We do agree that 21st Century careers will be based on technology but that does not mean such young children should be made to sit in front of Mobile and Laptop screen for long. In this context, I am delighted to share with you that MMA under its CSR initiative supported by ACSYS Investments has identified three schools with poor children to focus on their all-round development, which would also include teachers and parents.

Retrospective Taxation

Retrospective Taxation is not only bad in law but also an unfair practice resorted solely with the aim to augment revenue to the exchequer by such means which may not stand the test of law. Hence, it is advisable why India must close the Chapter on retrospective tax amendments and it’s a best opportunity for the Government to make a clean break from retrospective legislation.

Despite the not so conducive investment conditions prevailing due to the pandemic, global investors have continued to repose trust in the Indian market, going by the funds being invested into the stock market and even in distressed assets. Their contribution in generating employment and growth can in no way be underestimated. We should tread with caution before application of penal provisions on global investors. On the other hand, a stable tax and regulatory environment is essential for sustained high economic growth and prosperity.

MMA Women Business Forum

It is our endeavour to draw a lot of Indian women to start-ups. I am glad to share about another initiative of MMA to make this possible through MMA Women Business Forum. A number of unique initiatives have been planned to unlock the talent potential of women as someone who can stand up for themselves.

As 2020 winds its way out, may I wish you a very happy New Year 2021, fully loaded with good health and prosperity!

May this year bring new happiness, new goals, new achievements and a lot of new inspiration in your life, including the vaccine.

As always, we would be happy to hear your comments and suggestions regarding MMA and its activities.

Happy reading…. and a brilliant New Year!!!!