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The biggest scandals and scams across the globe may not be the billion-dollar scam but the one rupee or one-dime scam.

  1. Have you bothered about a call drop when using your phone?
  2. Have you bothered to collect a rupee or a dime after a retail shopping?
  3. Have you bothered to correct a rounding off issue whether it is a rupee or a dime?

As stakeholders if we have not raised our voice to the simple questions listed above, we may be participating in the structuring of one-rupee scam, knowingly or unknowingly.

A simple analysis of any scam across the globe can throw up these three elements; Stealing, Lying or Cheating. Let me illustrate how these three elements can make a good scam:

  1. A well planned cheating –a manipulation in finance
  2. An organized stealing – a ponzi scheme
  3. A simple white lie – writing wrong emission reports

But a fourth one that is emerging and most of us are ignoring whether with or without our knowledge is the concept of one-rupee scam that is resulting in stakeholders becoming partners in crime. These scams may be on account of the stakeholders’ inability to find time to fight or question the loss of one rupee.Most mobile phone users encounter a call drop; all that is lost is a one rupee. A 100 million-subscriber base can earn the telecom company a minimum of 100 million rupees everyday.

Have you bothered about a call drop when using your phone?

There is a huge issue on call drop but the stakeholder, who is the customer, employees, vendors, regulators, and government choose not to complain or question the operators. In fact most of us are cursing but we tend to ignore as it is costing us only a loss of one rupee per call.  Next year there may be newspaper headline on a billion dollar call drop scam and the immediate reaction by business community, academicians and regulators is to figure out who are the persons behind the scam.

Little do we realize that a loss of one-rupee per call by cell phone subscribers can make it a small scam of rupees 100 million per day and on yearly basis a scam of rupees 36,500 million (forget it the scam size is less than a billion dollars does not justify to be in the wall of shame).

Did we participate in the scam; should we blame anyone else?

Have you bothered to collect a rupee or a dime after a retail shopping?

This one-rupee scam is not only in telecom; it is more prominent and visible in retail. After the shopping is over when the cash counter fails to return the change of one rupee or less, have we bothered to collect the rupee, if not this can result in one rupee scam in retail. In a Scam one does not know the exact trail of where the money is going.

This issue is not India specific, in a foreign country the government decided to do away with dime but most of the bills generated come with an odd figure and ends in 9, which means a dime is never returned.Is it not fair that the corporate and not the stakeholder should take the loss on account of the rounding off? One-rupee or a dime may be too small an amount to ask but from a big picture it may be huge money.

Did we participate in the scam; should we blame anyone else?

Have you bothered to correct a rounding off issue whether it is a rupee or a dime?

This happens predominantly in the bills that get generated and a credit card is used to swipe the payment. The payment that is swiped is rounded off as one and not nearest to one. Why do companies round it off to the next rupee, why should the card not be swiped the other way? Where are all these money going?

We have this issue in the banking industry too, when the customers are charged for not maintaining minimum balance of their own money or instances where customers are forced to take an insurance scheme that is sold in banks for one rupee to all account holders.

Did we participate in the scam; should we blame anyone else?

I have just listed a few cases of a possible one-rupee or one-dime scam for creating awareness and I know there a hundred more cases of ONE RUPEE SCAM or FRAUD that is emerging not only in India but the world over.

As stakeholders instead of blaming the system can we correct our mistakes and be more aware of the one-rupee scam?  Why wake up late and start a study on who was the real cause for any scam, after the scam. In fact knowingly or unknowingly, most of us are part of this system, please blow the whistle before it is too late.

Together, let us move towards better and responsible corporate governance.

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