Life at work or life after work? What is more important for you? Till the early 1990s, answering that question would have been easy. People went to live in places where they found jobs, less concerned about the quality of life. Not today. Though jobs are still the prime mover of people, for an increasing number of middle class Indians, the quality of life is becoming as important as the quality of work. And as life and work become more intertwined, businesses and people flock to cities that cater most appealingly to both.
Looked at from this perspective, Mumbai's stability at the top of the BT ranking of Best cities for business will come as a surprise. But as Assistant Editor T.V. Mahalingam argues in his profile of India's commercial capital it is, perhaps, because Mumbai's draw as the creator of jobs is still stronger than its drawback as one of the toughest cities to live in. But as other cities catch up with Mumbai in job creation, especially in service sector jobs, Mumbai's historical advantage will no longer be able to keep it at the top. Unless, of course, somebody dusts off Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's 2006 proposal of turning Mumbai into a Shanghai and see if it wasn't all a pipe dream.
Strangely, one man who could have some answers is Anand Jain, Chairman of Jai Corp., but best known as one of Mukesh Ambani's most trusted aides. He is not only a member of Maharashtra government's Empowered Committee for Transformation of Mumbai, but is also at the helm of building two new cities from scratch, as Special Economic Zones, in the vicinity of Mumbai. So far, people have heard a lot of Jain, but almost nothing from him-at least not directly. Senior Editor Virendra Verma brings you the man and a first-hand account of his mission to develop urban infrastructure.
For more than a year now, a debate has been raging on whether and how much the US subprime crisis will impact the Indian economy. But nobody had given a serious thought to the possibility of India having its own version of the crisis. Perhaps somebody should have. As Associate Editor Anand Adhikari details in his story(Sitting on a time bomb), a combination of wealth erosion, rising inflation and serial hikes in interest rates has led to an increase in delinquencies in auto, personal and credit card loan repayments. This has shaken several non-banking financial companies, some of which are backed by leading financial conglomerates.
Thankfully, the risks are restricted to a few institutions and do not endanger the entire financial system-at least not for the time being.