A lot to watch out for this March!

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India’s latest economic survey offers a healthy revival picture and projects 8.5% growth in GDP for 2022-23. The fiscal situation is comfortable, thanks to buoyant tax revenues and successful post-pandemic recovery initiatives among others. The budget attempted a balancing act in a competing domestic and global environment. This increases the challenges and trade-offs confronting monetary policy. Keeping this in mind, this year’s MMA Annual Convention will focus on the key issues that underpin India’s ability to deliver on its promise.

Annual Convention at MMA
The MMA Annual Convention has been conceptualized over the course of three exceptional sessions and through conversations with several prominent industry experts/economists/thought leaders. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Suresh Raman, Chairman, MMA Convention Committee, and our Knowledge Partner, McKinsey & Company, for tirelessly working over the last few months to make the convention a grand success. I also thank the sponsors for their support in organizing the celebrations of propagating management movement in this part of the country. Please watch the convention live on Saturday, 12th March 2022. Click to view.

We need significant institutional reforms if Corporate Governance is not to remain an illusion. The cause of investors trust must never get short shrift. It is vital to India’s economic success and faith in the process and systems.

MMA Women Convention
Come March, usually it is time for our women members to interact with the women thought leaders, entrepreneurs and corporate executives at the annual MMA Women Managers Convention. The event is a celebration of the spirit of women, and the many diverse roles they play. We, at MMA, believe that Women’s Day Celebration is not another shallow exercise in tokenism but is a celebration of spirit of women. The MMA Committee has decided to host the Women Convention in person on Saturday, 26th March 2022 on the theme “Marching Ahead: Inspiring Change in Human kind.”

More recently, the burden on women has become heavier, owing to the pandemic. The result is a non-stop, high-stakes juggling act. Today there is some light at the end of the Covid tunnel, and we are here to explore what awaits! How do we march ahead and rise to the occasion to aspire for greatness?

In this context, the Convention Committee headed by Dr Ranjini Manian and knowledge partner, EFL, are putting together a great convention with a galaxy of outstanding speakers. The convention content and structure have been finalized with great care, keeping in view the aspirations and expectations of our women delegates. Look forward to seeing you at the convention and you can also watch it live.

A step closer to the Olympic dream!
It isn’t the medal, but the honour nonetheless. In 2023, India will host the annual session of International Olympic Committee in Mumbai. It is inspiring to know that at this year’s conclave in Beijing, India received 99% of the votes for hosting the meeting after a gap of 40 years. What Indian sports enthusiasts are keen to know is whether India would be in a position to make a winning bid for an opportunity to host the summer Olympic Games. I strongly believe that India would have the added advantage of being a major economy which could swing a few votes just based on this fact. Hopefully, India will project a well worked out proposal that IOC members will find attractive and award us the hosting of 2030 Winter Olympics. Let’s hope for the best!

The Ukraine war
After the end of Cold War, many former Soviet Union nations have joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Russia is concerned by the security implications if Ukraine too were to join the bloc. Ukraine made a strong statement that any military escalation could bear a heavy cost. But ignoring global pleas, Russia launched a multipronged invasion of Ukraine. The Russion aggression is a danger to the world. While we may have defence and other ties with Moscow, India must act now, at this moment, in a sensible and logical way and as an exponent of non-violence. With Russia and China enjoying veto power, any UN resolution considered against Russian interest is bound to fail.

India has advised its citizens, including students living in Ukraine, to return home. The free world calls upon the Russian President to re-consider and withdraw his troops and start dialogue with Ukraine leaders and other world leaders. At the moment, peaceful co-existence should be the top priority. In this context, MMA in partnership with KAS and ORF is organising a conclave on the theme, “Ukraine Crisis: Is Global Focus Moving Back to Europe?” with a galaxy of international experts, including Mr Kanwal Sibal, Former Foreign Secretary, Government of India, sharing their insights on 22 March 2022 at Hotel Leela Palace, Chennai.

Corporate governance
There is never been a dull moment with issues of corporate governance in India. Board room and chat rooms have been equally spellbound by the latest revelations emerging from the country’s premier bourse, National Stock Exchange (NSE), that an outsider was said to have guided its Management with business and regulatory advice. Despite the total freedom and authority granted to the exchange’s top executives, the board members betrayed the trust of shareholders whose interest they had to protect. Hopefully, regulators will not resort to a routine approach to governance issues, but will seek to balance flexibility and accountability with iron hands. Convulsions of outrage after a particular episode will not take us very far. We need significant institutional reforms if Corporate Governance is not to remain an illusion. The cause of investors trust must never get short shrift. It is vital to India’s economic success and faith in the process and systems. In this context, I am delighted to share with you a proposal under consideration to set up an MMA Centre for Business Ethics to focus on how to build ethical leadership to strengthen ethical culture in organisations and promote ethics research in India. This quote of Mahatma Gandhi is very relevant: “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” To spearhead that change process in ethics and business, I am sure that the MMA Center for Business Ethics will play a vital role. I am also delighted to share in this issue an article with an embedded video on the theme, “Ethical Blindness: Why ethical awareness is the bedrock for success and sustainability?” Please do share your view to strengthen our endeavour to promote ethics and trust as a culture in our society.

Not even a tulip
In her budget speech, the Finance Minister introduced a 30% tax on income earned from transfer of virtual digital assets. The budget’s move was taken as an implicit admission of the legitimacy of crypto token as an asset class. In this context, the RBI Governor’s flag of caution deserves attention. Urging investors to recognize the risk of putting money in crypto, he said, “The crypto currencies have no underlying (asset) not even a tulip.” This was a likely reference to a 17th century bubble of tulip prices inflated by a frenzy of buying in Europe that left many speculators with huge losses after it’s inevitable burst.

A crypto ban would be hard to enforce, given the secrecy with which password “Keys” can be held. Moreover, why forgo a loss of tax revenue? People should be left at liberty to buy the tokens they want. Caveat Emptor.

Young professionals giving back to society.
I am delighted to note that a new generation of wealthy Indians with a desire to give back and build a better country is driving philanthropic activities. The world giving index ranks India 82nd.. The US, which experienced significant wealth creation in the early 20th Century, is ranked first globally. As philanthropy grows, advisors and facilitators are needed to assist givers in creating an enduring and sustainable impact. There is no harm in enjoying wealth, but many of us have more than required, so why not we use some of it to help others? And to start asking ourselves how are we paying off our debt to society and our planet?’

RIP Lata Mangeshkar
An era has ended. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice transcended generations and it remains eternal. In a way, she led a full life and let us cherish the lovely moments she gave to this country. That she could rise to impossible heights in the world of music in those days where sound technology was at its nascent stage by dint of her hard work and sheer discipline sends a message to budding singers and management professionals. “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music,” said Aldous Huxley. Lataji has exemplified this truth in her music journey. The magic was her mellifluous voice.

As always we would be happy to hear your view, comments and suggestions.

Stay safe, stay healthy and keep learning!