Thursday, 16 October 2008

Jet Airways backtracks after mounting criticism

Naresh Goyal had suddenly become a hated man in this country. At least, among the middle-class salaried men, who were shocked at the retrenchment of 1900 employees by the Jet.

When he was standing in the company of Kingfisher's Vijay Mallya, Goyal may not have realised the enormous power of media. The tears of young professionals moved everybody in this country.

Goyal should have understood that despite liberalisation, India can't be a replica of USA. In India, family is still run on a single salary. One layoff can shatter the dreams of an entire family for ever, as the guy may not be lucky to get another lucrative job.

Reactions are also extreme in this country. Running an airlines is not rulling a neighbourhood bania shop where the guy can simply fire the employee. Though Goyal has suddenly realised that he needs to take care of the Jet family, it's time the government and industry honchos sit and decide a certain formula to avoid such sudden job cuts.

Sacking hundreds of employees overnight is no joke. There should be a proper policy on this. True, the businessman is there to earn but he can't have a ball all the time. Despite all their shortcomings India media also needs to be congratulated for the reprieve to the Jet employees.

One hopes it won't be temporary. But, at least, they can get an honorable exit a few months later, so that they can find alternative jobs. Such events do justify the existence of Raj Thackerays. After all, where was the government when the young professionals needed somebody to raise their voice?

Though it is possible as the grapevine goes that the government may have intervened, but such sectors must also streamline salaries. There is generally no hue and cry when a poor man loses his job or a farmer doesn't get seeds, because the middle-class and the media doesn't identify itself with them.

But that's India. Here Centre succumbed to the militants during the Kandahar hijack because live 24x7 TV had arrived in the country and the tears of the families of those kidnapped, moved then nation. Goyal can hope that he will no longer be painted as a demon after the reinstatement of the employees.

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