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Wednesday, 12 July 2006 18:33

Mumbai swings back into action after attacks

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ImageLife in the financial capital of India returned to normal after a series of bomb blasts ripped through the city, killing around 200 people at seven local railway stations and injuring over 400.

On Wednesday, train services resumed, schools and colleges remained open – ordinary things went on. On the business side, stock market was up buoyed by Infosys’ impressive Q1 2007 results where the growth in net profit was 49.2% year on year.

While India’s Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi has gone on record to say the country's economic growth story is intact with industrial and manufacturing growth remaining buoyant, India’s second largest software exporter Infosys’ newly crowned chieftain, Nandan Nilekani, said during the company’s announcement of the Q1 results in Bangalore, “Although this was a terrible and shameful act, the India economic story will continue because the fundamentals are all right.” (It was also announced during the Q1 2007 results that  chairman Narayana Murthy would relinquish his chairman's post  but would continue as the non- executive chairman of the board and chief mentor of the company)

Minimal impact on business/BPOs
 
The city has over 35 leading call centers -- multinationals such as Accenture, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche bank, Prudential, Convergys, IBM-Daksh, Hutch BPO 3, and Indian BPO firms like TransWorks, Intelenet, Mphasis (now acquired by EDS), ICICI OneSource, Wipro, WNS and eFunds.

More than 50,000-plus contact centre employees work in the area where the blasts took place but due to the nature of their work rosters nobody takes the local trains because the companies arrange for their pick up and drop off.

“This morning when I was just taking a look at the number of attendees, I was so surprised to see the attendance was over 90 per cent,” says Atul Kunwar, CEO, Transworks, an Aditya Birla BPO firm.

Incidentally, all of the companies have business continuity plans in place to handle most kinds of exigencies.

“The first priority and of paramount importance in any event is the safety of our employees and their well being. The second is to ensure business continuity for our customers through operational readiness and planning. And third, to ensure that employees (and their near and dear ones) are constantly updated on the situation,” adds Kanwar.


The blog help

Meanwhile, about 30 Mumbai-based bloggers have collaborated on the community-based blog Mumbai Help to help the city come out through its latest crisis.

The Mumbai Help blog was started in July last year after heavy rains led to floods in Mumbai, cutting the city off by land, rail, and air.

The Mumbai Help blog has traffic information, names of those suspected injured or missing, updates on the rail situation, help-line numbers, and information on how to SMS a cell phone using email, etc.

“Whom were you trying to target? The working class men who struggle for an inch of space in local trains? The working women who knit and cut vegetables in trains on their way home? Young, dreamy students discussing exams and love? The babies accompanying their mothers, smiling back at the women around them?” asks Selma Mirza through MetroBlogging.

Ironically, most of the victims were middle class working men and women, whose family members would not be accessing the Net and blogs to find news of their family members but at least this serves as way to give vent to the feelings of angry and hurt Mumbaikars.


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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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