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Corona Blues

Rajeev Dubey     March 17, 2020

An ambitious, greedy banker ran his company aground by disbursing massive loans from the publicly listed bank in lieu of back-deals to enrich himself. That's how the Enforcement Directorate has presented its case against former Yes Bank promoter and CEO Rana Kapoor. It's the newest addition to the long list of corporate investigations the ED is pursuing in the ongoing assault on erring and defaulting promoters.

It is now faced with the arduous task of conducting forensics and connecting the dots - deciphering the trail of money and linking it to the motive of kickbacks or bribery. The latter, the hardest to prove. Having established a money trail of Rs 4,300 crore loans and Rs 600 crore of alleged kickbacks, ED says it's now zeroed in on Rs 20,000 crore worth of loans and Rs 5,000 crore worth of alleged kickbacks supposedly used to buy properties in India and abroad. An evidence that still needs to stand scrutiny in the courts of law.

Meanwhile, with coronavirus spreading to over 100 countries and WHO's decision to declare it a global pandemic, stock markets in India and around the world are in a free fall. A slump in demand, global disruption in supply chains, travel restrictions, containment and quarantine fears are all contributing to the dramatic fall. Since its peak on January 17, 2020, Sensex has lost 10,884 points, resulting in erosion of an unprecedented Rs 38.9 lakh crore of investor wealth until March 16. Never in India's stock market history has the benchmark index fallen so steep, so fast.

So, what should the investor do under the circumstances? For the un-initiated, this is the worst time to start investing in stocks. Markets will continue to roil until the coronavirus outbreak recedes. The Money Today cover story this issue recommends extreme caution. Though, for regulars at investing, a subdued market is the time to buy quality stocks and to avoid exposing the investment portfolio to a specific stock or sector. However, if you decide to venture on your own, remember to stagger your investments. Debutantes should rather stay away, stay far!

This special issue in your hands is one of Business Today's most extensive annual exercises - a dive into the world of human resources that powers the corporate world. And singles out a good company from the ordinary and the bad. For 18 successive editions, the Business Today-PeopleStrong survey has tapped employees across a cross-section of vintage, industry, location and job grades with the aim to capture the perception of workforce towards organisations. It provides deep insights into how companies and industry at large can align employer brands to aspirations and needs of the workforce.

This survey of India's Best Companies to Work For pings over a million employees through an Internet-based questionnaire. More than 17,000 respondents approached the survey page. More than 8,000 completed the entire questionnaire. One out of every 10 respondents was cross-verified. We surveyed eight sectors. The survey findings and corporate HR practices have several valuable takeaways in this year's coverage that India Inc can adopt.


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