The persistent urge to respond to calls and office emails throughout the day, and even on weekends and holidays is causing stress, burnouts and sleeplessness in lakhs of urban working Indians,” writes Member of Parliament, Supriya Sule. “It is our right to lead happy, stress-free lives,” she adds. She has even introduced a Bill in Parliament to make the #RightToDisconnect a reality for every working Indian.
IS MCA LISTENING !!??
Well, you may wonder who is this MCA and what has it got to do with Right to Disconnect. Why am I singling out MCA this time ? MCA a la Ministry of Corporate Affairs is the ministry regulating corporates in India through the Companies Act, LLP Act and other legislations. While the Hon’ble MP quoted above feels employers are over-working employees beyond the normal 8-9 hours, what can we do when we are faced with dysfunctional web portals like www.mca.gov.in that keep hanging frequently, switch off completely on the crucial last day of some important filing and surprisingly spring back into mid-night action, forcing lakhs of professionals to stretch way into midnight or wake up very early in the morning to upload an e-form ?? What prescribed working hours are we talking here ?
The latest experience was the filing of e-form DPT3 (not worth explaining the purpose since the MCA is bombarding corporates and professionals with forms, deadlines, additional fee & penalties way too frequently) for which the last date was 29th June, 2019. Since the time the form was introduced it has been confusion galore – with the drafting, with the interpretation on webinars, with so-called clarifications, with forms throwing up technical challenges, with conflicting views from different Registrars and what not. So much so that my whatsapp was flooded with messages from professionals venting their ire on the inefficiency of the portal and our own helplessness, torn as we are between uncooperative clients that give information late and dysfunctional MCA portal with no updates and no one to turn to. Thousands of manhours were lost and company secretaries were reduced to filing clerks praying earnestly for the ‘Almighty MCA portal’ to open its eyes and give us ‘darshan’. What hurt us more was that the same portal that froze on the last date for more than 24 hours, magically de-froze in the wee hours next day, promptly slapping additional fee on every form that was accepted. Revenue for the Government for the failure of its technology service provider ! Loss of faith for the corporates and professionals ! The frustration was so much that, otherwise seasoned and patient professional friends started calling this a ‘cancer that can be treated only with chemotherapy’. Unfortunately this is not the first time. Since the last 5-6 years, this is the plight with no signs of improvement.
As a cancer survivor, I can tell you bottled up stress is one of the reasons for cancer cells to grow. Therefore I encourage all the stressed out employers and employees to do whatever it takes to de-stress. Needless to say proper planning and prior communication to clients is a must – Is MCA listening ? Their officials need a lesson or two in drafting, planning, communication & technology readiness !!. On a lighter note, I am sure Company Secretaries participated in the International Yoga Day on 21st June and continued various “innovative postures and positions” throughout the next 10 days to make sure the MCA portal works. At least in my office they sat for hours, meditating with eyes wide open, without a blink, hoping to catch that elusive moment when the portal would function. They even sat in the same uncomfortable positions and used the same lucky laptop, missing out even on the loo-breaks, praying that the form will get accepted. But Lord MCA didn’t seem moved
Recently received a beautiful message about Sunflowers. Here it goes….
“Sunflowers turn according to the position of the sun, in other words, they “chase the light.” You might already know this, but there is another fact that you probably do not know! Have you ever wondered what happens on cloudy, rainy days when the sun is completely covered by clouds? This is an interesting question, isn’t it ? Perhaps you think the sunflower withers or turns its head towards the ground. Is this what crossed your mind ? Well, that’s incorrect! This is what happens – *They turn towards each other to share their energy.*
Nature’s perfection is amazing; now let’s apply this reflection to our lives. We all want this light and seek it in different ways: in our family, friends, work and so on. But there are always going to be cloudy days, gloomy days, because there is no escaping them ! When this happens, most people become overwhelmed, low-spirited, and the most vulnerable ones, some-times, become depressed. How about following the example of the beautiful sunflowers ? *Supporting and empowering each other. Nature has so much to teach us.*
Is the above true ? I do not know – there is no scientific evidence to show that the sunflowers face each other to draw energy. But does it take away the underlying powerful message ? No, then lets adopt it !
From a forwarded message to a real eye-witness, let me share some of the lessons from nature learnt from our ‘forest walk’ in Ramakrishna Ashram, Shivanahalli, about 30 kms away from Bangalore. It was a typical beautiful, cool, Bangalore monsoon, Saturday morning with a light sun on our heads, as our group of children and adults keenly listened to the experienced teacher-cum-guide stop by every tree and explain its features, its leaves, its flowers, its roots, its history, its properties etc. :
* The first picture in this banner shows a conjoint tree – it is not. Infact they are 2 separate trees growing together, trying to access sunlight without crossing each others paths. Look how beautifully they co-exist without stunting the growth of the other. The 3rd picture shows how the same trees have branched out at the top only after reaching certain height where there is bright sunlight and ample space to spread. Are we humans accommodative like these trees ? We are forever in a rat race trying our best not only to surge forward but also to ensure that somebody else stays behind !!
* The central picture seems a miracle since on the top of a boulder, out of nowhere, we saw a bright, green bunch of leaves tenderly reaching out to us from the hard rocks. Beneath was some natural soil and rainwater collected in the dent. Thanks to a chemical reaction between the rain water and the limestone in the rock, a small dent in the boulder grows big enough over 10 years to allow germination of seeds. Do we have the patience that nature exercises ? We seems to be on the move always, on the run expecting fast growth. Sometimes we must allow things to settle, things to take its own time – the outcome will be natural, matured and lasting.
* Observed sandalwood trees growing amongst other plantation – it is a semi-parasite which draws water from roots of other trees nearby, explained our guide. But the law of nature is to allow a semi-parasite too in the wild jungle.
* Forest officials insist on planting with certain distance between saplings but in the natural, wild way of growing in a forest, the trees coexist – adjust to grow with lot of trees around. The guide gave this as a beautiful analogy while talking about competition and market share between rivals in business. Trees naturally adopt a ‘Live and let live’ policy. All grow together in an accommodative way. Does it remind us of the joint family setting we had in India way back then, when there was ‘shared living’ unlike ‘shared accommodation’ today ?
It was a 1 hour trek but we got lessons for a lifetime – simple lessons that we humans seemed to have forgotten. Oh what a way to have spent a weekend amidst nature and the village children who were learning botany hands-on, in the lap of nature, touching, feeling and hearing – a complete sensory experience that is truly enviable !
It wasn’t planned that way but we did celebrate World Environment Day (5th June) close to Mother Nature.