Monthly Archives: June 2008

RPF::: Railway PROTECTION Force / Railway POCKETMAAR Force

In the last few days my work took me to places. And my travel, unplanned in 2 of the 4 instances, brought me closer to reality of India – Corruption and Lethargy. While in the first case, me and my photographer colleague took a train from Mumbai to Surat. Just when the train had crossed nearly 25 percent of his distance, there was a continuous movement of vendors, all screaming out what they had to offer. Of course, both the quality and price were the converse of each other. But the point to be made is the more than efficient Railway Protection Force Constable, making a smart move within the compartments. Ever poor vendor required nothing more than a mild pat from the constable. The next thing to happen was the vendor pulling out a 10 Rupee note, with no expression on their face, and handing it over to the constable.

To avoid getting fainted I have not bothered to count the number of long distance trains plying daily in our country. But what I could recall, more than 50 different vendors I noticed after this observation. And there are minimum 200 – 250 vendors getting on and off a train in a 4 hour journey between Mumbai & Surat. Not my guess, I used my Journalist instinct to check with one of the vendors. The poor fellow just did not sound helpless, in fact he was into a helpless situation that very day. Helpless??? Vendors need to bribe the cops irrespective of whether they would earn on that train or not. And an average vendor jumps on at least 5-6 trains a day……

So???? If India is rated high for negative factors like corruption.. No reasons to debate. In fact, those who do such ratings must travel, for once. You never know, probably India could move up a notch or two further upwards… Thanks to mass corrpution at the micro levels.



If one believes that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is nothing but Public Relation (PR) strategy, I would stand up to support.

Why? Read the following extract from a mail from one of India’s premier bank. I got this from the Bank on world Environment Day (June 5, 2008 )

“On World Environment Day, the 5thof June, XXXXX Bank, one of India’s premier banks, has announced the setting up an internal Environment Management Committee to launch a series of environment friendly initiatives to address issues concerning carbon emissions and enhance its environment management strategies. Going forward the bank plans to audit its carbon foot print within the bank and develop effective systems for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants.”

The same bank, on April 15, had made an announcement. Read the extract below;

“With a view to providing comprehensive solutions on global warming to Indian companies, XXXXX Bank has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with two leading Carbon Credits service providers, namely, *********** India Pvt Ltd and ######## Consultancy Services Limited. This exercise is a part of the bank’s efforts towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere responsible for global warming.

As per the MoU, XXXXX Bank and its two partners will work on awareness building, identifying and registering Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects and, facilitating the buy/sell of carbon credits in the global market.
This tie-up will enable the partners to provide products and services in an integrated manner to the bank’s clients across untapped sectors such as housing, agriculture, food processing, and microfinance besides power, metal and infrastructure.”

So!! ?? What’s on your mind? If you relate the CSR mail to the business one, there’s a smart PR strategy in the name of CSR..

Long live CSR….. so as to thrive PR, in disguise ofcourse.



US Slow-down… ? Puzzles Galore

I had an opportunity to attend a Global Conference, primarily on Banking, by a renowned global rating agency. The event in Mumbai had speakers from various offices, including US – Europe & Singapore. The most amazing comment of the day, at the start of the day was from a gentleman, who hailed from New York. Of course, he had to present a scenario on the US market, especially in light of the sub-prime issue which was soon followed by a huge credit crunch. The crunch had an immediate ripple effect across the globe, right across Europe and other developed nations.

While emerging markets are growing and have growth potentials going further, said the gentleman. But US still dominates the global economy. He had sizable reasons and numbers to highlight the gravity of the fall-outs of the credit crunch, (read; Recession). But the recession will short-live, say 6 months, he said with immense confidence.

The same evening, Labor Department (US) reported that jobless rate increased to 5.5 percent in May 2008 from 5 percent in April 2007. This was the biggest jump since February 1986, and US payrolls, which have shrunk every month in 2088, droped another 49,000 in May. What else had to happen? Crude jumped up, and touched a record $139.12/barrel. Gold crossed the $900/ounce mark and the dollar declined too.

What is my point? Why do you see optimistic pessimism in analysts, economists, rating agencies and anyone who’s out there to gauge the economic scenario – now and going ahead. Are they unsure about the complexity lying in the future? Or they just don’t want to spread panic? Yes, there could be a reason there too. You do not want to be doing either of the two… Under-commit and over-perform and vice versa. If you say recession, and it turns out to be a hyper-recession, your observers lose faith in your intellect. 

But all said and done, we are definitely in interesting times now. The only hope to have, wish the decoupling effect prevail… But how long, as they say when US sneezes the world catches cold.