I couldn’t have chosen the quote in the banner at a more opportune time than now. Now, when we are besieged with shocking news about brazen conflict of interest, breach of code of conduct and misuse of position by a ‘Corporate czar’ who was a star in most ‘Corporate Governance Award’ ceremonies and had truly worked her way up to becoming a stellar role model for corporate women. What is right, what is the right way and right time must be decided by each one of us at every step in our life, whether personal or professional. Listen to the true inner voice. It will never fail you ! Challenge lies in how to find it, how to fine-tune it and how to use it in moments of dilemma.
It is heartening to note that when one model falls, several others rise. There is no dearth of women role models today. The small but growing number of women in the armed forces, especially the young women officers leading the contingents in the Republic Day Parade this year was testimony to this fact. 26th January, 1950 to 26th January, 2019……it took our nation 70 long years to recognise this and at the most appropriate time when an eminent woman is our Defence Minister. I would like to share that incidentally 26th January is significant for yet another reason – it was the day way back in 1975, that Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist organisation that promotes peace and happiness both at the individual as well as societal levels across the world was created. It is a faith and not a religion. It is a life transforming philosophy dating back to the 12th century that places great importance on empowerment of youth and women. The teachings and activities are aimed at helping the individuals to realise their inner strength and achieve victory over crises, with focus on family being the fulcrum of growth and peaceful coexistence. So, so relevant in today’s troubled times.
1st issue of the 10th year edition of Samhita in the 1st fortnight of 2019 ! Publishing issue after issue over the decade has surely sharpened my thinking and writing skills as also broadened the expanse and realm of my thoughts. It is a sort of mental-gym work out. Swami Vivekananda (whose 156th birth anniversary was celebrated on 12th January) rightly said “The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.”
While he may have said it in a different context, I definitely feel as governance professionals we are in a gymnasium of a different sort ‘working out’ day in and day out with demanding laws and unreasonable regulators. What else can I say when the Tribunal asks for a report of the ROC in a certain matter and he questions under which section am I required to give this ? why should I give ? Am I here only to keep giving reports ? who are we to advise who is right and who is wrong ? Are we supposed to carry these messages between 2 arms of legal machinery or throw up our hands before the clients who quote ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and demand an end-date that is forever elusive !
What else can I say when the Government at the top is promoting entrepreneurship in all sectors including not-for-profit but the Government representative who has the power to ‘licence’ such an activity (read Section 8, not-for-profit company) restricts the entity from pursuing more than one objective ? Despite explaining the promoters’ background and establishing their genuine intent to carry on charitable activities, he simply refuses to allow activities in different sectors, quoting ‘misuse’. The same office, a couple of years ago allows something and today they do a volte face. How do we as professionals face the entrepreneurs who again quote ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and demand an explanation, where there is none thanks to the whims and fancies of the regulators ! Should we advise them to opt for the less-regulated Trust or Society route which are more vulnerable to misuse ? Typical case of “Devaru vara kottaru, poojari vara kodalla” (a Kannada proverb which means “Even if God gives his blessings, the priest doesn’t allow it”). With increased interest from a large section of professionals pledging their time and efforts to social sector objectives like education, health, farming, science & technology, women empowerment, disabilities etc., coupled with corporates and Government itself pledging funding support, it is high time, the regulators de-shackle themselves from the ‘licence-raj’ mindset and enable businesses. They are not meant to RESTRICT or STOP. They are meant to FACILITATE & ENABLE ENTRY.