Embracing a hybrid life!

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We are living in a completely different world, a world where technology plays a huge part in our lives. It has even spurred the startup ecosystem to bloom extremely well despite the raging pandemic. And three Covid waves later, India is on a path of recovery and growth. At least that is what we would like to believe, but the complex underpinnings of the economy leaves much to imagination. Retail inflation raced to a 17-month high in March led by a sharp spike in the prices of food and manufactured goods. Energy and commodity prices have shot up due to the Ukraine war. Inevitably, the stage is set for an interest rate hike.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
A new phenomenon is now the talk of town: Non–fungible tokens or NFTs. NFTs are quietly making an impact in a short period it has been around. These are blockchain-based digital assets. With Amitabh Bachchan being the face of this trend, NFTs are becoming the next big think in the digital world. It is only a matter of time that the people would embrace this tech space.

Back-to-office: Hybrid is the way forward
Back-to-office! While many enjoy the banter and comfort of having face–to–face communications in office, others miss the efficiency and flexibility of working from home. I understand that many corporate professionals have easily slipped back into their pre-pandemic office routines, while others struggle with the commute and being around people. People are already missing the flexibility of taking a break to do their household works, the comfort of eating freshly cooked meals, and the luxury of working more refreshed. However, adjusting to the routine is easier in the hybrid work model—the most valued outcome of the pandemic work environment. Transitioning from work-from-home to the hybrid model has been smooth for many as it brings in flexibility and accessibility, thereby helping balance work, health and family.

Data privacy in India was a concept that only a few knew about a decade ago. Frighteningly, very little is still known. Our mobile numbers and addresses may all be available for a price.

The hybrid model is challenging even for the CEOs and Senior Management: they have to make adjustments in how they carry themselves, how they communicate and interact with their teams. It calls for a progressive blended-leadership style that is dynamic enough to tweak work styles multiple times in a day to build and retain talent in a gig economy, to dole out warmth and competence in equal measure, to create a culture and to meet the goals of the organization. The agile approach and timely pivot without losing momentum are testimony of the adaptive and nimble attitude of the leaders. Life coaches say that the skill sets needed to survive at the workplace are changing rapidly, but employers are not ready for change. Consequently, many careers are becoming redundant.

The events at MMA are carefully curated to ensure that we address these issues for the benefit of leaders to understand managing expectations around remote work, handling fast growing digital transformation, and implementing new initiatives to meet the aspirations and expectations of employees. Please do join us in person or online to benefit from our events. Log in to our website http://www.mmachennai.org to know more.

We are also happy to present an article on the theme “Overcoming Personal Challenges for Professional Growth” by Ms Meena Chabria and on “Goal Setting for high Performance” by Ms Sangeeta Shankaran Sumesh with embedded videos in this issue, which are very relevant and inspiring.

Data Protection Act 2021
Data privacy in India was a concept that only a few knew about a decade ago. Frighteningly, very little is still known. Our mobile numbers and addresses may all be available for a price. Earlier, the leaked data was used by the product and services companies for cold calling. Recent instances show data breaches can cripple peoples finance, and prevent them from availing financial product. While there are systems in place to deal with data breach violations, they have not been fool-proof. People do manage to get hold of important KYC documents to commit fraud. It is not out of place to mention here that the European Union (EU) has another first to its credit. It has unveiled the Digital Service Act, which aims to hold big tech firms accountable for hate, fake news, ads aimed at kids and other harmful content on their platform. The EU is also the first to enact the digital privacy law to safeguard people. India, therefore, needs a strong Data Protection Bill. After it was tabled in 2019, the personal Data Protection Bill was sent to a joint parliamentary committee which submitted its recommendation last November. It is understood that the Government is planning to daft a fresh Bill to address data privacy issues. The Data Protection Act 2021 has already made its entry as Due Diligence under ITA 2000.

To say that India needs a robust data privacy law is an understatement. In this context, MMA in association with FDPPI and KAS organized a one day seminar on the theme “Data Protection Act 2021 – A Compliance Perspective” on 23rd April 2022 at MMA Management Center. A galaxy of thought leaders shared their insights on this important issue, which was thought provoking and informative. This initiative of MMA is a small but significant step towards better understanding of Data Protection Act 2021 and its implications. I am delighted to present a brief article on the event in this issue. Please read on and do watch the video and enrich yourself.

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Entrepreneurial boom!
New venture registrations are up, but this could also reflect self-employment driven by job losses. What we need are ambitious start-ups that can recruit people in ever larger numbers. What has motivated this rush of entrepreneurship is not easy to assess. To the Government’s credit, starting a business has certainly become easier than it used to be. And as opportunities and big ideas keep sprouting, we could well see success stories in most sectors. Plus we have Start-up India and other initiatives in place, but we need to go beyond slogans and the ease of starting up if we must catalyse value addition and job creation. In this context, MMA-KAS in association with TiE Chennai organised an event on the theme “Understanding the Nuances of Deep Tech” on 18th April 2022. The insights shared by the speakers are very critical for the success of entrepreneurs. I am happy to present the article with embedded videos for your reading and viewing.

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Students are back in school!
The increased public dependence on Government schools is an opportunity for the State to regain its pre-eminent role in education. However, with almost two years of absence from schools and with students having spent most of their time at home with either semi structured or no educational activity, the school premises could be a strange sight for many of them. In this context, an MMA CSR initiative supported by ACSYS and Super Auto Forge helped schools in resuming structured educational activities and infrastructure development. We work with government-aided schools and schools for poor children. I am delighted to share that the donor, ACSYS Investments Ltd., has approved our recommendation to focus on children in primary schools to inculcate in them modern learning methods right from the start. This initiative’s impact will be improved learning outcome, which is a measurable impact and can be tracked and monitored. The objective is to provide children from low income families an equal opportunity to succeed in life.
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The passing of Mr N Sankar, Chairman, Sanmar Group, and Past President, MMA, is an irreparable loss not only to the corporates but also to the world of sports. History and posterity will mark him as a stalwart, a pioneer and a resolute and determined human being who led a comprehensive life and has now passed on to immortality.

Stay safe and stay healthy!