Below the line

Our Delhi Bureau | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 09, 2016

Ranil Wickremasinghe Rollicking with repartee   -  AP

RaGa sells

“Rahul Gandhi to address WEF at 4 pm”: this was enough to revive media interest on an otherwise dull Thursday at the India economic summit of the World Economic Forum, especially as his name was not on the schedule. There were frantic calls to authenticate the news from the organisers as well as Congress headquarters. Equally surprised, the organisers asked “Is he?”

Rahul did address a meeting a few hours later, but not at the five star hotel where the summit was happening, but at Jantar Matar where the now -famous jibe, “ Jawano ki aap dalali kar rahe ho” was made. While the question of who spread the news still remains a mystery, one thing is for sure: he attracts attention!

Guts alright

Even as he took a dig at media overdrive in his JRD Tata Memorial lecture, SEBI Chairman UK Sinha was refreshingly different from his contemporaries. Speaking about the role of media in driving accountability among those wielding power, he said that while there are “multiple and persistent” examples of media reporting transgressing into the area of media trial, regulators cannot escape scrutiny and have to be held accountable. It takes courage to say this.

Quick-witted Ranil

A talking point at the WEF was Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s sense of repartee. During his address he touched upon the important role of India and China in the global economy. But, he said investors need not leave the region for recuperation. “When you are tired, come to Sri Lanka. We have some great hotels!”

Later, talking about economic ties with the US, he said Sri Lanka would pursue it after the presidential elections. “We have put aside 500 acres for a golf park and a Trump building,” he quipped.

Last-minute rush

Indians are known to do things at the last minute, whether preparing for exams or meeting the IT filing deadline or applying for an IPO under the retail quota. Now it seems this trend is visible even for coming clean about black money. If CA Institute insiders are to be believed, almost 50 per cent of the declarations in value terms under the Income Declaration Scheme 2016 came in the last four days. The total black money declared under IDS has crossed ₹71,000 crore. IT officials are hoping they will be rewarded for the massive collections.

Flipping out

We have not heard the last of the exodus from Flipkart. Corridor talk at the annual SHRM conference was on how executive search companies were being flooded by CVs from Flipkart. High-profile exits from the beleaguered e-commerce giant, that has been hit by valuation markdown and rebellion from sellers, have included Silicon Valley catch Punit Soni, Ankit Nagori, Manish Maheshwari, Samir Nigam, and its legal head Rajinder Sharma.

The company’s management restructuring which saw co-founder Sachin Bansal replaced as CEO by Binny Bansal has been cited as a reason, but according to a disillusioned Flipkart executive who recently quit and gone back to a traditional company, it’s “talent management” that is to blame.

Blame it on navaratri

The usual buzz at the India economic summit of the WEF was missing this year with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and senior North Block mandarins away at IMF and World Bank meetings in the US. Though senior government ministers did speak at the annual conference, many sessions were only half-full. Even many India Inc leaders chose to give it a miss. According to some associated with the event, the ongoing navaratri celebrations may have been responsible for some invitees deciding to spend the time with family rather than at business networking.

Published on October 09, 2016
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