May Day! May Day! May Day! In April!

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India is now suffering the worst days of the pandemic. It is going through a second wave as a result of poor planning and execution. For months, many celebrated that India had beaten the virus, even though none of us could explain how and why. In this crisis, there is so much that as an individual we can do to protect ourselves and our families, but political/national leaders must do more.
It’s also the time for a global treaty on health emergencies. The WHO and 23 national leaders have issued an urgent call for an international accord on the pandemic. We must seize this moment and join hands in solidarity. The financial and human cost of the pandemic is horrific and its scars may take years to heal. How our lives and economies are overturned in a very short span of time! Right now, what is most important is to be safe and healthy, not only physically but also mentally.
Roping in the advertisers
I also strongly believe that advertisers should join the battle against Covid. Advertisers should serve a cue for other brands to adopt ‘dual purpose’ campaigns. Across the country, vaccine awareness response is inadequate, especially among the poor and those who live in far flung places. There are also ample signs of jab hesitancy, an issue that cannot be addressed without a grasp of attitudes and insights. By studying psychographic research inputs, brands can chip in with ‘dual purpose’ campaigns that attract attention and bring about the attitudinal shift among people. Many corporates have large ad budgets. For once, let the “Return on Investments” manifest itself on more than just a revenue chart. Flattening the Covid-19 curve and its downward trajectory eventually rests on a judicious vaccination deployment plan and its pace.
Of demat & capital markets…
Indian investors opened a record 14.2 million new demat accounts in FY 2021, which is nearly three times the figures in the previous FYs. The pandemic and business disruption opened up new investment opportunities! Digitalization and growing awareness about equities are likely to push more people towards the capital market. In this context, MMA is presenting a fascinating success story of “Zerodha (No Impediments): A journey into the fabulous success of India’s foremost fintech startup.” Watch Mr Shankar in conversation live with Mr Nitin Kamath, founder, Zerodha, on 12 May 2021 and get inspired. Click to view the invitation.
Less is more with our neighbour!
Lowering our expectations might not seem a very ambitious prescription for the immediate future of India’s troubled relations with China. It may however be just the right course of action to guide the way forward, as both countries seek new ways / offsets after a major impact in relations following the border crisis. India today is working to redefine itself against China for which it will need to build international coalition of countries that have like-minded thoughts. As both sides chart a course forward after last year’s rupture in ties, India and China may find a conversation that is driven by realpolitik and shared interests, even if modest. As India and China go back to the drawing board, it is prudent to assume that less may indeed be more.
In this regard, MMA is organising a discussion on “Strategic Patience—How India can rise to the China challenge” at 06.00 PM on 7th May 2021 to focus on important aspects of India’s relationship with China and more. Join us live to hear from a galaxy of experts. Click to view the invitation.
The Suez crisis
India needs to learn from the Suez crisis. The recent blockage highlights the importance of the Red Sea for Indian economic interests. The Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea are linked by a relatively short, narrow ribbon of sea water—the Red Sea. The recent Suez blockage has not only highlighted the importance of the Red Sea waterway, but it has also focussed attention on the ongoing conflicts on both the sides of the sea. India has long historical links in the region. It has excellent bilateral ties with all the major players there, and is well placed to pursue and safeguard its interests.
Working from home…
We can’t overlook the economic fallout of working from home. It has been a little over a year since many employees started working from home. With the second wave of the Covid pandemic now in a big way, this phenomenon of working from home is likely to continue. While this has been true over the past year, it is difficult to see this trend continuing to play for a simple reason that companies may not move to the 100% work from home model. It is imperative that ideas need to float on this front. Remember, physical presence is great for accountability: visual cues help build trust. In this context, going forward MMA will be organising all its events on the hybrid model at the MMA Management Centre.
The theme of this year’s Earth Day celebrated on 22 April is one that now resonates with everyone—restoring the planet. Over the past year, the pandemic has changed the way we live. And the effect of climate change has only intensified: 2020 saw carbon dioxide levels shoot to record high levels despite the lockdowns related to covid-19.
It’s clear that the same speed shown in developing vaccine for Covid-19 is needed for adopting emergency technologies and innovative thinking to restore the world’s ecosystems. These two aspects are a key part of this year’s Earth Day theme. In keeping with the objective of the theme, MMA has planned a number of initiatives to focus on a low carbon future and adapting to climate change.
“The New Woman of Today”
The recently concluded online MMA Women Managers Convention 2021 on the theme “The New Woman of Today” was a grand success watched by over 21,000 viewers.
I am delighted to present to you in this edition insights shared by the speakers during the convention with embedded videos. I am also happy to present to you articles on the theme of the hybrid conclave “Free Trade Post-pandemic: Rationale vs National” addressed by Prof Dr Heribert Dieter and a galaxy of economists organised by KAS in partnership with MMA on 17th April 2021. Click to view.
Let’s all hang in here, together. And let’s be kinder than necessary—all of us need it!
Another hectic financial year! This too shall pass! Definitely better days are ahead…
Happy reading!