Why would the finances of a roadside snackseller in Guwahati go into a tailspin because of the Mumbai terror attack? Because, when the English cricket team decided to pack its bags and leave India, cancelling the remaining two one-day matches- including the one in Assam's capital-Bijoy Das lost a chance to make a killing. Every time there is a cricket match, Das earns a fortune selling snacks outside the stadium.
On November 29, he called up his wife, a housemaid in Delhi, to say the match cancellation has caused a loss equivalent to one month of his daily earnings. This is just one small instance of the unintended and unaccounted financial loss that terror strikes cause. It also indicates how much wider and deeper than commonly understood the economic impact of such an incident can be. Of course, we are not even beginning to count the more obvious trauma of the lives and businesses lost.
The true cost of terror is impossible to comprehend or calculate. Yet, making an effort to understand it is important to prepare for the job of prevention and repair that lies ahead. This is exactly what we have attempted in our cover story. Our cover package goes beyond just cost assessment and evaluates our responses and remedies.
Since the Mumbai strike has been compared with 9/11, we look at the economic policy measures the US took within hours and days of the 9/11 attack. There are lessons in both the timing and nature of responses. An Israeli businesswoman shares with us how her peers work in an environment that is perpetually on high alert. Xerox India's Head, who served for six years in the British Army, tells us how better prepared businesses in India can be for emergencies. Each survivor account is a fresh story. We bring you three remarkable stories from representatives of India Inc., who were present at the Taj hotel on the fateful evening of November 26. Don't miss leadership spotlight, where we introduce you to a new Iron Man of India.
Amidst the urgency and importance of putting the cost of terror on the cover, we also worked on our scheduled cover package for this issue-the BT-KPMG annual study of India's best banks. This section is designed to tell you all that you need to understand the present and future of Indian banking, complete with facts, anecdotes and analyses. Banking was the first sector hit by the global financial crisis; it's also the industry that holds the key to economic revival-for institutions as well as for individuals.