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BW Businessworld

Why Better Days Are Ahead

In this issue, we look at how the economy and businesses, having surmounted the GST glitches and demon, are heaving a sigh of relief this festive season

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There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. — Kofi Annan

India is witnessing a revolution of sorts. They call it the MeToo movement. Women are speaking out. It’s a cathartic moment for many as women workers and leaders in the film world, media, academia and other workplaces have declared “Time’sUp”.

Not too long ago, harassment at the workplace used to be a given for women workers. The Supreme Court’s Vishakha guidelines of 1997 notwithstanding, few institutions cared to institute grievance redressal mechanisms. Half of the population, derisively called the second sex, are often at the receiving end of the whims and fancies of the men holding positions of power and importance.

With the recent women’s upsurge, this promises to be a thing of the past. With the victims calling out their oppressors, and civil society calling for a boycott of ‘predators’, women have become more aware of their rights. The movement, initially propped up by women elites, largely through the social media, has percolated down to towns and
This augurs well for a just and equitable India. While we routinely lament the absence of women leaders on company boards, the institutionalisation of women’s safety mechanism at the workplace will be a right starting point.

Women’s contribution to the economy needs to be acknowledged. Their representation – from Parliament to the boardroom – needs to go up. MeToo has played its part. It’s a catalyst for a positive change. For change to happen, the government must seize the opportunity, as it has rightly reached out to the victims and asked organisations to set up internal inquiry mechanisms.

The movement had in M.J. Akbar the first high-profile casualty. One of our columnists asks in this issue of BW Businessworld how to build up on the momentum gathered so far. The Last Word in this issue, too, dwells on how corporates should handle this change. This, however, is not the main theme in this issue. For our cover story this issue, we look at how the economy and businesses, having surmounted the GST glitches and DeMon demon, are heaving a sigh of relief this festive season. With a greater demand, especially from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and a greater purchasing power, the businesses hope for better times. In the series, we look at sectors like consumer durables, auto, gems and jewelry, realty and FMCG, showing how the online portals have become the preferred medium of transactions.

These, admittedly, are not the best of times for the economy.

Like, for instance, non-banking finance companies are facing their biggest test ever, as they grapple with a liquidity squeeze that is slowing down business. The slump is also due to the woes gripping the debt market due to financial institution IL&FS defaulting on commercial paper repayments. We have a special report as we dissect the crisis.

Among corporates, we look at the ambitions of IKEA India, which is betting big on India. In addition, we have an interesting story on how the future of travel could look like.

All in all, a highly readable issue, which, I am sure, you would love to read. Do keep sending in your feedback.

Happy reading!

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MeToo movement magazine 13 October 2018 editors letter