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Friday, Feb 10, 2006


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Global Indians

This refers to the news item "Global attitude, behaviour highest in Mumbai: BBC study". (Business Line, February 9). Surveys are generally to be taken with a pinch of salt and this one cannot be an exception.

It gives little solace to know that "35 per cent of Global Indians or Globizens reside in Mumbai in the face of the distressing fact that bulk of the city's population is required to strain themselves to travel to and from their work-place daily with the city's creaking transport infrastructure, inadequate drainage and sewerage systems, etc."

I was shocked to read that a Mumbai paper while reporting this survey highlighted that "53 per cent claim that the standard of living in India's cities is comparable to that in the developing world."

More shocking was the `finding' that 60 per cent claim that they have more in common with people in the West than with India's poor.

Even if the constituency of respondents come from Marine Drive or Malabar Hill, they would hardly have expressed such a view.

If AC Neilsen's findings are realistic and not statistical jugglery, there is hardly any need for such grandiose schemes as the National Urban Renewal Mission, blessed by the Prime Minister himself.

Obviously, the constituency chosen is so elitist and exclusive that it does not represent Mumbai with its population of over a crore.

Further, confusion rather than clarity is seen in the use of terms `global attitude' and `global behaviour', their definitions adding more amusement than substance.

If the objective of this report is to ensure some publicity for the surveying organisation, it is negative.

What do the surveyors and their commissioners seek to establish by these findings?

Whatever that may be, for Mumbai's people, who have for far too long been fed on hopes of Mumbai being an international financial centre — which has been lately been downgraded to the vision of its becoming a `regional financial centre' — it is one more vision being conjured up.

With the election season nearing we shall be treated to more such surveys and opinion polls. A time has come for the industry to have a second look from within at the ethical part of such surveys and opinion polls and whether they are discharging their corporate social responsibility obligations.

S. Subramanyan


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