We witnessed an innovative Navratri celebration in Mumbai this year. Enthusiastic dandiya raas dancers decked in all their colourful attire were swaying to music till the early hours in the morning. What’s unique is that they are all wearing cordless headphones – so now they can celebrate without disturbing anyone! An ingenious mind and a little technology have saved the day...or rather the night. This is silent garba beating the noise deadlines!! I hope other communities may take cue from this and pursue their celebrations without creating any nuisance or heartburn for others.
Let me also in advance take this opportunity to extend to all of you and your families my sincere greetings for a truly Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year. May the triumph of light and truth illuminate our lives and the future of India. And may our festive celebrations overflow with colourful rangolis, sweet temptations, surprise gifts and a sky ablaze with sparkling sound proof fireworks of many hues.
Across the Pacific, there are fireworks between the US and North Korea sparked off by North Korea’s missile and H-Bomb testing and UN sanctions. Tensions have escalated with a petulant North Korea Foreign Minister declaring that the US President had made “their rockets’ visit to the entire US mainland inevitable” by calling the North Korean leader a “rocket man”. The war of words accompanied by threats and a show of military strength from both sides have sent stock exchanges across the world tumbling. The prospect of an all-out nuclear confrontation looks remote but nevertheless the markets are still on tenterhooks.
Indian markets too have been impacted by the geopolitical pressure, but have also taken a beating for several other reasons. India’s GDP growth rate has slipped to 5.7% in the June quarter and demonetisation and the GST seems to have been partly responsible. Both economic measures were very much needed but possibly their unplanned and hurried implementation has caused the markets to react sharply.
The proactive government has already announced a stimulus package to arrest any further market descent. But it is in a quandary...should it choose to spend and risk overshooting its fiscal target which it has so carefully maintained. Or should it reduce expenditure and add to the ferment and pessimism in the market. Both the avenues have the potential to further unnerve both domestic and foreign investors.
Against the dismal economic stagnation, the Indian e-commerce market, which is slated to touch $100 billion by 2020, is clearly the silver lining. Flagging off the festival season, the giants in the business Flipkart and Amazon held their big annual sales. Piggybacking on the buzz generated, several smaller e-commerce companies too joined the sales bandwagon. The response to the sales has been phenomenal.
Flipkart claims that it has doubled sales over the previous year and hopes to touch Rs. 6,000 crore. The high point of their Big Billion Sale is that they sold 1.3 million smartphones in just 20 hours of the sale. Amazon too scored high saying that it was their biggest shopping event...the largest in terms of units, sales value, sellers, customers and pin codes they served. What’s notable is that they garnered 85% of their new customers from tier 2 & 3 cities. Amazon claims sales were spectacular with 50% of the 32 categories on offer doubling in value terms over last year.
What’s significant is that these e-commerce companies attract a lot of funding which goes into creation of jobs and infrastructure. E-commerce has disrupted traditional business models and has turned into a money spinner for all and a money saver for millions of customers. May their tribe increase!
The journey began a long time ago...on 18 April 1966, the first protest march against triple talaq was held. And only in 2017, the Supreme Court has finally decreed it as unlawful. Post the verdict, activists have now swiveled their attention towards decriminalising homosexuality and marital rape. Today the focus has widened considerably and the debate now centers on developing and introducing a Uniform Civil Code.
Is it possible or practical to reconcile divergent laws and formulate a common code that is acceptable to all communities? Those in favour believe a common code will provide a potential platform to unite India. A stronger argument is being made that a common code will ensure gender justice and discourage gender bias. But after a thorough comparative study of personal laws of India’s many communities, the sheer diversity of laws and the zeal with which they are adhered to defies any possibility of uniformity.
Those against, argue that there already exists an optional civil code with several acts that may be used by those who wish to avoid the religion and custom based laws. There is also a suggestion, which I like, that instead of trying to force a common code it would be better to take a few key aspects such as marriage, adoption, succession and maintenance and progressively work them into a common code.
Before I conclude this message, I would like to make this earnest request to all of you to join me in the BCAS membership drive. The Society needs to increase its membership, specially the youth. This will help us to generate more revenues, besides the Society will be taken more seriously when it comes to interaction at all levels of the Government. After all, numbers do matter. If all of us adopt the initiative of “Each one brings one”, we can target to double our membership, which will be a big step forward.
I would like to end by paying tribute to our Past President Shri Pradeepbhai Shah who left us this month. As a Trustee of the BCAS Foundation, he was actively involved in charity and had organised many campaigns for the needy. The drive for cancer afflicted children at Tata Memorial this year was one of his initiatives. A walking encyclopedia of jokes and anecdotes, he helped inspire people and transform difficult situations with his effervescent optimism. We pray that Shri Pradeepbhai may reap the abundant rewards he sowed and enjoy eternal rest.
Feel free to write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org
With kind regards
CA. Narayan Pasari