If every Indian saved every single Rupee he or she earned over the past one year, the corpus would add up to a little under $1 trillion (Rs 48 lakh crore). If this entire sum of money were to be handed over to the global financial system as a rescue package, it would still fall short of the requirement by at least $500 billion (Rs 24 lakh crore). This is the scale of financial crisis that faces the global economy. Yet, the concern is not just about the size, but also the spread and shape of the crisis. By the time this issue of Business Today went to print, new fault lines were still emerging on the global financial map-the last being the trouble at the UK's Royal Bank of Scotland that also owns ABN AMRO in India.
This raises one fundamental question for us in the communications business: how definitive and clear can our coverage be in an ever-changing and uncertain situation? A situation in which even those in the throes of the crisis (central banks and other policymakers) are reviewing and revising their opinions and strategies almost every few hours? Our primary task was to understand the magnitude of the crisis and give you the most updated assessment of its impact on India. The cover stories (divided into eight small and easy-to-read features) attempts to do exactly this. The spread of our offering ranges from a country-by-country assessment of the financial crisis to the diagnosis and prognosis of the liquidity shortage (including stock market) and a small pointer to the opportunities the crisis has opened up for Indian companies.
When taking a call on impact, keep in mind that the Indian economy was already in a slowdown at least since early 2008. The best proof of this is in the quarterly job outlook survey that Business Today does exclusively with TeamLease. In all except one of the seven sectors tracked, the job outlook for the October-December quarter has fallen to the lowest levels in two years. The survey was conducted just before the financial crisis broke in mid-September. This brings us to the second caveat in estimating the fallout of the crisis-be it jobs, or incomes, or GDP, we are witnessing only a fall in growth rates and not negative growth.
If you want to escape the overdose of gloom, we recommend two features. One is on the growing popularity of the online social networking websites in corporate India and the other is on the CPI(M) running entertainment businesses in Kerala. At a time when some of the oldest capitalist institutions are trembling, it's interesting to find communists turning capitalists, at least in some ways.