“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.”
—John F. Kennedy
The world has come about a full year since the Covid-19 health emergency broke out in China. It quickly unfolded into a full-blown global economic crisis, posing an existential threat to businesses as they grappled with liquidity and survival challenges. The impact was particularly adverse on businesses in the hospitality, tourism, airlines and manufacturing sectors, weighing down on their cash-starved drooping shoulders. While governments all over the world have taken many fiscal and monetary measures to support the economy and cushion businesses from the brunt of the crisis, this is perhaps also the time for market participants to step up their role in stabilising businesses as the post-crisis period progresses. State actions, even though potent for short-term stabilisation, tend to saturate quickly. For long-term sustainable recovery, market participants need to find the cure themselves through self-initiated actions that are for their own benefit.
MARKETS’ ROLE IN RECOVERY
The World Economic Forum (WEF) in the article, “How banks can help companies restructure for growth”, published on 28th September, 2020, identified three phases of rescue efforts to salvage the economy in the post-crisis period: sovereign phase, debt phase and equity phase. The sovereign phase is the phase for state actions, which is the first response package for immediate rescue and pre-emptive measures to mitigate further loss.
As this phase tapers off, the debt phase kicks in, led by banks and financial institutions for the palliative care of the economy. Here banks and financial institutions need to infuse the required liquidity and capital through dedicated credit lines to revive businesses. In this phase, it is essential for the banking sector to invest in opportunities or back restructuring efforts that not only benefit businesses in the short term to tide over the crisis, but also focus on the bigger picture of long-term growth and resilience of businesses. At the same time, the banking sector will have to carefully calibrate risks and distinguish between good lemons and bad lemons viz. firms that have the potential to be restructured or those which will not survive the crisis at all.
Once the banking sector reaches its saturation point, the capital markets need to step in to offer funds directly in the equity phase. With declining valuations and lower interest rates, the opportunity is ripe for private investors to invest in viable yet distressed businesses. Further, this is the time to find creative and versatile equity solutions for businesses. As per the WEF, there is already some activity picking up in offering full balance sheet solutions for some distressed industries with innovative sale and leaseback. Financial engineering solutions are also being offered, allowing struggling businesses to access their full capital base to generate the needed cash flows.
The equity phase has the potential to be the knight in shining armour for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Private investors and private equity firms can hold direct equity control in those companies that pump liquidity in SMEs viz. trade credit. Investments in SME-focused exchange traded funds (ETFs) are another lucrative avenue. If risk aversion is more, investors could infuse low-risk liquidity to SMEs by purchasing minority stake in them. This would assuage valuation sensitivity and risk of ownership control.
THE ROLE OF BUSINESSES
A business is an intricate filigree work made of numerous threads that impart strength and continuity to it. Businesses are in the best position themselves to mitigate potential negative fallouts of a looming crisis if the right actions are taken at the right time and in the right earnest. As the post-Covid crisis progresses, managing their own stakeholders and planning for the future will be important ingredients for stabilisation and restructuring. Cash flow improvement measures such as short-term cash saving actions, cash-flow monitoring plan for business plan, contingency planning, income protection measures such as product repositioning and/or pricing, balance sheet structure improvements such as asset review and divestment identification, balance sheet right sizing, corporate simplification like review of corporate structures, and strategic planning such as planning of non-strategic assets divestments, execution of settlement, sale or merger plans, etc., will be immediate corporate restructuring measures that businesses can take to recover from the crisis. Such a recovery will not only aid in overcoming short-term setbacks but also help sustain the value and life of the business in the long term.
When in an economic crisis, a firm’s first instinct may be to just survive the crisis somehow. However, in the long term, the strategy of a firm should go beyond solely saving the day. A corporate restructuring is said to be sustainable when a firm is able to reverse the performance crisis that was brought about on account of a turbulent business environment or economic recession or insolvency, is able to terminate the threat to its survival and, finally, is able to accomplish sustained profitability for future growth.
Sustained competitive advantage and strategic flexibility can prove to be the panacea for long-term stability. A study by Penrose on “The theory of growth of a firm”, developed further by Rumelt, Wernerfelt, and Barney, shows that a firm is said to have sustainable competitive advantage if its resources are valuable, rare, inimitable, and non-substitutable. Some studies advise organisations to use a mix of actions to build flexibility and competitive advantage, such as, (a) developing dynamic core competences, (b) focusing and developing human capital (e.g. contingency workers and outsourcing), (c) effectively using new technologies (e.g., IT or flexible manufacturing systems), (d) engaging in valuable strategies (e.g., cooperation), and (e) developing new organization structures and culture (e.g., horizontal structures).
FLEXIBILITY IS KEY
While markets advocate for flexibility and adaptability for survival, the same fluidity is expected from the state as well. Flexibility in types of interventions is essential, especially in times of crisis. Studies have shown that countries which have shown flexibility in supporting one-off interventions—for example, restructuring funds or special-purpose vehicles—have done better in overcoming a financial crisis. Similarly, such countries have relied on formal bankruptcy and insolvency systems, but not exclusively, in order to prevent overburdening the system in a crisis. They have buttressed the formal system with pre-packaged insolvencies (prepacks). Countries have facilitated setting up of asset management companies (AMCs) to resolve distressed assets and promote a market for them. They have relied on market determined solutions to unload the assets of AMCs. Further, they have established frameworks for voluntary workouts, which are relatively quicker and cheaper, to bring firms and stakeholders together to determine the ability of the firm to pay up its debts and survive a crisis.
The recently enacted Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act, 2020 by the UK government and the German Act on the Stabilisation and Restructuring Framework (StaRUG) for companies are cases in point. Similar innovative measures can also help Indian businesses to successfully restructure themselves outside the formal insolvency frameworks to recover quickly from the Covid-19 pandemic induced economic crisis.
The writer is Assistant Manager in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India. Views expressed are personal.
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DPS R.K. Puram: Celebration of an odyssey of 50 years
Delhi Public School R.K. Puram, one of the most prestigious schools in India, was founded in 1972 in New Delhi. The school upholds the founders’ commitment to excellence in the all-round development of the students, with emphasis on its motto Service Before Self. The school is extremely proud of its illustrious alumni who continue to uphold the ideals of the school and have impacted society greatly in every sphere of life. DPS R.K. Puram has received the Education World Award as the No.1 Day-cum-Boarding School (2020-21) in India.
On 2 October, Delhi Public School, R. K. Puram organised a curtain-raiser to the official launch of the six-month-long celebration of the golden jubilee of the institution. The event was attended by renowned alumni of the school. The school plans to organise a plethora of activities to commemorate the 50 years of excellence by organising alumni guest speaker programmes, alumni reunions in different parts of the world, cultural programmes involving the present and former students, collage of video messages of alumni from all over the world to inspire the current students and the culmination of all these events at the grand celebration in 2022.
The event commenced with a lively dance performance by the students as an ode to Lord Ganesha with drum beats followed by a graceful Garba performance. The chief guest, VK Shunglu, Chairman of the DPS Society and DPS RK Puram Managing Committee inaugurated the ceremony by lighting the lamp and unveiling the logo of the 50th anniversary. A cake baked by Aadishwar Singh, a student of class XII was cut to mark the occasion. It was followed by a splendid rendition of ‘Vaishnav Jana Toh’ through Indian and Western instrumental fusion. This was followed by a nostalgic presentation of DPS R.K. Puram through ages.
The Principal, Padma Srinivasan warmly welcomed the Chairman along with the former Principals; Shyama Chona and D.R. Saini. She quoted Mahatma Gandhi, by saying that with the burning passion within each individual one can alter the course of history. She said, while we must reflect on the glories of the past, we must also look to the future and aim to transform lives with education as the school has done so ably in the past five decades. She thanked the chairman, V.K. Shunglu for his guidance, constant unceasing support, his spirit of empathy in covid times and for being a leader who thinks from the heart. She further emphasised how 1972 and 2022 are connected by a belief that transcends time; that education can transform lives. To conclude her address, she asked the alumni present to start a movement and give back to the society what the school has given to them and firmly stand by the motto of ‘Service before Self.‘ Following this was a graceful Kathak dance rendition on the song ‘Ghar More Pardesiya.’
Sooraj Dhawan and Sudeepta Chaterjee coordinated and compèred the programme for the alumni group and presented video messages from them. A video showcasing the drone footage of Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram, Vasant Vihar and East of Kailash was screened, magnifying the nostalgia of the alumni in the audience. A self-composed song by the alumni and the students helped reminisce the years gone by and rejoice in the celebrations.
V.K. Shunglu, in his address, reiterated the importance of focusing on what we do in the next fifty years so that we modernise at a fast pace and keep abreast with the challenges of a fast-moving world and keep the banner of the school flying high. The vote of thanks was proposed by the Vice Principal, Renu Nayyar. In the closing note, Padma Srinivasan expressed her appreciation for the alumni who actively participated in the cultural programmes of the day. The programme concluded with the national anthem.
The school plans to organise a plethora of activities to commemorate the 50 years of excellence by organising alumni guest speaker programmes, alumni reunions in different parts of the world, cultural programmes involving the present and former students, collage of video messages of alumni from all over the world to inspire the current students and the culmination of all these events at the grand celebration in 2022.
Water ioniser: A boon for healthy living
As per Medical research, the major root cause for more than 90% of modern-day health disorders includes heart stroke, cancer, diabetes, thyroid, gastric, and many other issues are oxidative stress, acidic environment, and hypoxia.
Oxidative Stress caused by free radicals makes a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases, ischemic diseases, gastric ulcers, hypertension, and preeclampsia and neurological disorders.
The second major threat to our health is caused by stress caused by the acidic environment around us.
The third threat to our well-being is hypoxia. Hypoxia is a condition in which the body or a region of the body is lacking adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level.
The food we take, the water we drink, the air we inhale, our habits, genetic conditions all contribute to our overall lifestyle. A good lifestyle is the best practice to be healthy, happy, and fit enough. Our drinking water plays a very crucial role in our overall healthy lifestyle. At every point, we should not only need to check the safety of our drinking water, but more importantly, we also need to be sure it is healthy or unhealthy.
Drinking water which undergoes reverse osmosis type of purification is dead water without useful minerals, acidic in nature making internal body pH balance tough, having bigger clusters difficult to get absorbed by body cells. Most importantly the oxidant nature combined with the acidic nature of reverse osmosis purified water adds extra free radicals that weaken our immunity power. Oxidative stress and free radicals are the biggest threat and root cause of more than 75% of health disorders.
For complete family health protection, switch on to Ionised alkaline water which has rich sources of essential alkaline minerals and selective Anti-Oxidant molecular hydrogen.
Ionised alkaline water helps in restoring the right pH balance between the acidic and alkaline conditions in the human body. It neutralises disease-causing free radicals, helps in reducing inflammation.
Ionised alkaline water is micro-clustered. This helps our body cells to absorb more water easily, quickly, and with effective transportation of oxygen and important nutrients to vital organs of the body. This further improves Hydration and detoxification levels. It helps in reducing joint pains, improves metabolism and energy, slows down the aging process and helps in boosting immunity.
The research on molecular hydrogen on Covid-19 has shown promising results where the antioxidant nature of hydrogen helps in preventing the disease onset and also helps in reducing the disease severity in Covid-19 affected patients.
By looking at the enormous health benefits of the Hydrogen-rich Ionised Alkaline water, Medilight Pvt Ltd thought of introducing water ioniser machines in India. Medilight Private Limited found the perfect product which uses a fourth-generation technology water ioniser machine which is a solution to battle air, water and food pollution. This worldwide patented fourth-generation Disc Ionisation technology is available only in Taiwan.
Early in the year 2016 Medilight bought that technology and introduced their own brand name “H Rich” alkaline water Ioniser. In the year 2017, Medilight collaborated with the world-renowned water ioniser brand “Tyent”, a Japanese technology-made water ioniser machine from South Korea which has extensive market coverage in the USA, Europe and Australia.
Health benefits are clinically tested and certified by research. In short, your healthy drinking water can drive your metabolism on the right track in the correct way. It’s a good solution and an investment idea for your family’s health for the next 20 years.
FOCUSED ON GIVING BEST TECHNOLOGY AT AFFORDABLE PRICING: AVNEET SINGH MARWAH
In an exclusive conversation with NewsX India A-List, Avneet Singh Marwah spoke about what sets his company Super Plastronics Ltd apart from other players, expectations from the festive season, impact of pandemic, and much more.
Avneet Singh Marwah, Director & CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Avneet spoke about what sets his company Super Plastronics Ltd apart from other players, expectations from the festive season, impact of Covid and much more.
Giving us an insight into Super Plastronics Ltd and what sets it apart from other players in this competitive market, Avneet said, “Super Plastronics is about a 30-year-old company. We started with plastic moulding of television back then for CRT and then we started manufacturing CRT. We are a complete backboned integrated plant and that experience was forward toward manufacturing LCDs and now LEDs, 4K TVs, USDs. The company invested. Back then, we were completely “Atmanirbhar” for CRT televisions, now we are again in LED televisions. We are a complete backbone integrated plant and we have everything in house, from plastic molding to SMDs to cleanroom and assembly line. Currently, we have about five brands, starting from Kodak, then Thomson-we launched in 2018, after that we launched Globewarm, recently we launched Westinghouse televisions and then we have white Westinghouse by Electrolux- our appliance in washing machine brand. We are one of the largest brand licenses in India and second-largest television manufacturing in India right now.”
He added, “In terms of selling, we currently selling more than 18,000 pin codes in India. We are on top 2 of online selling brands. Our major strategic partner is Flipkart. For Kodak, it is available across online and offline, both. We have a vast service network of more than 550 service center that are company-owned and about 20 warehousing, we have one manufacturing unit in Noida and there are two manufacturing units that are coming up.”
Talking about his expectations from this festive season, Avneet said, “The festive season for any electronic brand is about 35% to 40% of the year. As I told you that we are online and offline, so there are three major sales that come to online. This time, the sales started a bit early, so it is a very important month for us, then the Dussehra sales comes and then “Dhanteras”. The majority of the season is covered in this. We have done a couple of new launches. There are more launches that are coming up this festive season. The company is completely focused on how we can give you the best technology at affordable pricing.
When asked whether there has been an issue of demand-supply gaps because of the Covid situation, Avneet responded, “When the first wave hit, there was a lot of pent-up demand. One of the reasons was the whole world was on screen and work from home. Classes were going online, and then there were OTT platforms to entertain you in the evening. At that point of time, there was a huge spike in terms of buying of screens and televisions, smart TVs plays a very vital role in that. There was about 30% growth but things changed after the second wave. The kind of second wave that hit India, people start saving and they were not spending their disposable incomes. The mortality rate was very high. India is a very big saving economy. After June, I would say, in April and June, the market got stagnant. But, as the economy is recovering, and the first sales show a very encouraging sign. We saw about 80% year on year growth on Big Billion days sales and Amazon’s The Great India festive sale. I think its recovering. We are hoping that Diwali has good numbers. If wave three is not hit, I think the market will recover and you will see the growth in smart TV market.”
Around 53 Egyptian vultures spotted on Yamuna river in Delhi
As many as 53 Egyptian vultures were spotted two days ago by an ecologist on a sandy mid-island on the Yamuna river in Delhi.
While talking to ANI, TK Roy, who is an ecologist, said, “I found 53 Egyptian vultures here two days back in Delhi, which is the largest number in the last five years. This place is suitable for them.”
Roy further informed us that there are around 47 Egyptian vultures in the area at present.
“The population is slowly rising because of a ban on diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug that has a toxic effect on vultures and awareness among people on vulture conservation,” the ecologist added.
TRAFFIC FREE, PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY ‘EK SHAAM CHARMINAR KE NAAM’ PROGRAMME BEGINS
The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun, and frolic event.
A traffic-free and pedestrian-friendly “Sunday Funday” programme titled “Ek Shaam Charminar ke naam” is being held at the historic Charminar of Hyderabad.
The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun and frolic event. This event will also be used to spread awareness about various issues of public importance.
The event is inspired by the continuation of a similar programme for eight weeks now at the upper Tank Bund road of Hyderabad.
“With the success of Sunday Funday programme at upper Tank Bund road which has been happening in Hyderabad for last eight weeks now, we felt that the iconic place of Charminar is also another place which can be used for similar entertainment, fun and frolic and intermingling of people,” said Anjani Kumar, Police Commissioner, Hyderabad.
“Through such events, communities can be educated and made aware about several things such as how to prevent theft by servant, drivers theft, and other similar programmes. So we look forward to have a successful program at Charminar,” he added.
The event was inaugurated with the performance of the Hyderabad police band.
“The police department is also actively participating in this programme, the event was inaugurated with Hyderabad police band which is quite famous and subsequently it will be used for various police initiatives which are citizen-centric,” said the Police Commissioner.
PEOPLE HAVE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT SEX EDUCATION MEANS: KARISHMA SWARUP
In an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, Karishma Swarup opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.
Karishma Swarup, Sexuality Educator, recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Karishma opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.
Speaking about what exactly comes under the ambit of sexual education, Karishma said, “I feel like in India today, we don’t have a standardised sex education curriculum that is applied across schools, so a lot of people have misconceptions around what sex education even means. People seem to think that just talking about biology pieces that they studied in biology class might be considered sex education, but in reality, sex education is so much more than that. It involves biology but in the context of understanding anatomy. Understanding and not the teacher being like, oh! This is out of syllabus. Being able to discuss what are your body parts, how do those body parts function, whether or not it’s in a sexual situation. Right, so that is the first piece of it, just the anatomy bit of it.”
The second piece is, of course, the sexual health piece of it. That involves contraceptives, how condoms work and how to prevent STI transmissions. Just generally how to be safe and have safer sex. You cannot have any conversation about sex without talking about consent and consent is something that we talk about in the context of abuse but not necessarily in the context of teaching people what is the correct way of having a healthy relationship, what is the correct way to ask for consent in a certain situation. All of this is also influenced by things like gender and people’s personal identities. Good comprehensive sexuality education takes into consideration what are the different ways and aspects people are bringing into their experience of sexuality. So, that could include the LGBT community, it includes one’s gender. It can also include other intersections such as how does your class or other religion influences you, how you relate to other concepts so comprehensive sexuality or CSE is this holistic picture that goes so much more than telling young people to have sex and if anything the countries where they offer CSE at an early age young people tend to delay their onset of sexual activity rather than doing it earlier,” she added.
Talking about your educational background and whether or not from where you see it it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it, Karishma stated, “I myself have done science my whole life. I did science in school. I did those biology classes, I was referring to. I went and studied geology biology while I was at Brown University as well. A large bulk of my learning came from working with this NGO named Plant Parenthood, which is a really big organisation in the US that offers different sexual health and reproductive health services including sex ed. I was a part of a student organisation there, we went out and taught sex ed to high students in the area. Working with them, I got 3 years of field experience. I got trained by this NGO, which had years and years of grass-root teaching experience and i think it goes beyond the question of having a degree especially with sexual health. It is a topic that is so widely ignored around the world, in most places really like, it is a question of who is doing it.
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