About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

April 18, 2009

The Asatyams of Indian Industry

This week a good friend & ex-colleague touched base to say Hi from Mumbai. Our talk meandered on an Organization we knew well & its recent developments and how the promoters did a con job of it. It goes something like this, sometime back there was an upcoming private sector bank say X & another wannbe BPO company you can call Y. The promoters of Y find common (unholy) ground with that of X through a common friend who was once in the top mgt echelons of some multinational company who are now in X. They float a JV Co say Z and get senior professionals from the Banking sector promising them stock options & a bright future. 3 years down the line none of it materialises, it turns out that while the promoters of X & Y made money clandestinely, the banking professionals who came in had to leave with empty promises while others in the junior rungs are left with a hopeless future in Z as X has changed ownership hands and no longer supplies job to Z. Point is that the ASatyam’s of corporate India are dime a dozen and few fall out of the closet once in a while. So while Satyam has not been the first of its kind in India, many like DSQ have traversed the path before and there are many now perpetrating in varying degree and magnitude . Randomly examine some of these facets of Corporate India & you will understand what I am talking about

Advertising : If misreporting of financial statements amounts to a fraud in financial world what would you call misleading advertisements that propagate false claims on unsuspecting consumers? Advertising standard council of India (ASCI) has been pulling up all kinds of companies that have been falsely promising anything from anti ageing to fairness, long lasting blades to fat reduction, better food to dramatic health benefits . Most of these companies, as much as 47 in 2008 were booked for violation of ASCI codes on ensuring truthfulness and honesty in claims made by advertisers.

Marketing: Contests & schemes whose results never get announced, false/misleading promotional schemes & offers such as 0% financing , Discount schemes, 100% Returns etc. Many schemes are misleading in nature, the communication with its catchy line gets reflected prominently in the main body while the actual benefit usually subject to Terms & conditions goes in fine print under an asterisk.

HR : Moonlighting job role & responsibilities, compensation & benefit promises & other misleading claims to prospective candidates at the interview stage are common. Subsequently leading to unkept promises regarding Job role , compensation, rewards & benefits are common practices that HR depts. indulge in frequently. This got particularly accentuated during the bull run when competition was rampant & chasing scarce talent

Operations: People in India are now familiar how credit card companies trap consumer in the so called ‘debt trap’ with revolver facility, or take the case of Telecom Cos who have been accused of Improper billing & misrepresentation of tariff plans, Delays in refund payments , or airlines that does not provide seats despite confirmed tickets.

Stock Market malpractices: Rigging of company share price by promoters in collusion with brokers through circular trading or insider trading practices by Management in violation of SEBI guidelines are commonplace. The number of vanishing companies who get listed on the stock exchanges also tell the same story

Corporate disclosures
: If one were to go by the number of firms that have volunteered to subject their corporate governance to assessment by credit rating agencies, it turns out that only 19 of the 4700 listed firms have made this cut. This talks volumes of the quality of corporate disclosures in India.

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