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Corporate Social Responsibilities and The Art of Living

Corporate Responsibilities, Social Responsibilities et all are deemed to be very heavy terms. You speak of them and all of sudden the air is heavy, and everybody seems serious. It’s a sense of corporate self-control built into a business model over a period of time. A fair deal of documentation can be referenced here if you like.

And then, there’s The Art of Living. Relaxed, without much of worries, and with a sense of detachment. Though one thing that Art of Living doesn’t teach is to walk away from the trouble and challenging times, and specifically of blaming others for your problems. But sadly Indian Corporate system is seeing a mess of senses of Corporate Social Responsibilities and that of the Art of Living. Am talking of Kingfisher Airlines and Mallya’s here.

The name “Mallya” indeed has now become a synonym to likes of: luxury, lavishness, loud (in good way), swanky life style etc. The name brings to you images of ultra-mod ladies as Flight Stewards and Calendar portraits, theme parties on just every occasion, Tipu Sultan’s Sword, Formula One Racing, glamour studded IPL matches, expensive bars and what not.

And think of Kingfisher Airlines now. Think of its Pilots, Support and ground staff who might not have received salaries for some time by now. Think of their suppliers who might be in trouble for their long dues on the Airliner – not just Fuel suppliers, banks, Air Traffic Controllers etc – but also likes of spare, transporter and food suppliers, who are very small to put any sort of pressure on an “air liner”. Image is indeed dull and uninspiring as of now. Almost every single Government body is after Kingfisher for its dues. And don’t forget the Aircrafts its using are on lease / rent, not purchased.

Every business (just like an individual) can have a low and high. But amidst of all this, what surprises is the fact that someone as rich as like Vijay Mallya is not doing much about it but blaming others. Pick up every single of his last few statements on the topic and you will find accusations on Air Traffic Controllers, Banks, Fuel Prices, Income Tax etc. Why? If one is responsible enough, he would pay taxes on time. If one has planned well, he would keep some buffers in the costing and would settle out dues in orderly manner. Talk of competition, but is the “price” only weapon to compete. For example, Kingfisher isn’t among the one considered to be very cheap – yet people preferred it many times. True story, I once travelled back from Chennai to Delhi in large size Air India flight, with hardly 25 passengers !

Still, imagine you have a loan of say INR 30Lacs and you go to bank saying you cant pay interest for next one year or more for any reason. Chances are bank will kick you first, then slash a NPA on you, and might even set up your loan to Auction for recovery. That’s when you are paying all dues on time and have a dependent family. But Banks are generous enough to large corporations like Kingfisher. They are at brink of losing their lending to Kingfisher, and now deciding to lend more so that the bad news can be deferred or delayed for some time. I think what Income Tax Department has done recently is very right. If you haven’t paid in past, without any intimation, then one has all right to doubt you for future as well.

Indeed the Air Traffic Industry is not in very good state. But when companies like Air India and Kingfisher Airlines demand for Government bail outs, they basically are asking for money that Income Tax Payers have paid. Basically, you think we should first pay for our travel so you are profitable, and then pay to keep you afloat just because you couldn’t manage the “variables” in your business. How about Kingfisher and Air India offering discounts to general masses in lieu of the funds received despite being a NPA now !?

Well, if you really want to settle this out, this is how you do it – you work for it. Start skipping the parties, and concentrate on your business. Your socializing is good enough only till the time you are King of Good Times. If no body is getting seen along side with you in your troubled times, then that’s a strong sign. World might not be too difficult to live if we don’t have Kingfisher Airlines or Air India in it, but this jolt might act against the other businesses too. Accept that, and try again to be what we (at least I) have always admired you for – own it up and deliver. Try to understand the true Art of Living. Corporate Social Responsibilities are part of it and not otherwise !

  1. Vaibhav
    February 24, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Nice write-up.

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