Economy

How do unemployment, inflation and economic inequality affect the lives of urban residents? How does government policy impact local economies and livelihoods of the people? Gain insights into these through community stories, reports on urban economic trends and developments as well as expert commentary.

What's better for the average middle class income tax payee, the old regime of exemptions or the New regime, that this government has created? The latter is now the default, meaning that is the form that  you will see on your screen when you get online to file your income tax returns. Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman, and some economic analysts, insist the new rebates and tax slabs will reduce the tax burden on salary earners. But an important part of the Sangh parivar, the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, a staunch opponent of globalisation, says otherwise. In a statement on February 3rd, Manch convener…

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Earning a livelihood in Bengaluru is becoming increasingly difficult for street vendors because of the actions and sometimes inaction of the BBMP. The civic body appears to have done very little planning to accommodate street vendors. It has even been flouting the law, according to vendors in the city. Street vendors, who are a ubiquitous part of Bengaluru, face constant harassment from the police, resident welfare associations as well as city officials for occupying public spaces. The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 was passed with the intention of protecting vendors from constant harassment…

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Adar Ali Sheikh, 38, came to Bengaluru two years after the devastating 2002 cyclonic storm hit his hometown in Nadia district, West Bengal. It wrecked his home and the fields he worked in as an agricultural labourer, entrapping him in debt. He travelled almost 2,000 kilometres to find a job as a car washer in Bengaluru so he could pay off his lenders.  “I had to leave because we couldn’t save the harvest, and the landowner (who he had leased the land from) demanded we pay the agreed amount. What would I have done?” he asks. Adar lives in a…

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According to Hindu mythology, God’s first avatar on earth was a fish. And now scientists reveal that life first developed in the oceans. Whether related to that or not, trading in fish has been an important source of human livelihood and nutrition for aeons. But none of that was even remotely in my  mind when I tucked into four nicely cut and cleaned Silver Pomfret fish pieces I had bought from a local fish seller.  With several grocery and fresh meat apps on my phone, it has been a while since I visited a fish shop. As a kid, buying…

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In a narrow gully in Thane’s Vartak Nagar, a small home-based unit of a contractor is also the assembly point for the area’s women to gather and take raw materials to make keychains. The contractor weighs and counts the keychain parts before wrapping them in a plastic bag. He notes the quantity in his diary and a small notebook that each woman carries with her. “Kal ka kitna bana (How many did you make yesterday),” the contractor asks each woman, who deposits the previous day’s keychains with him as he again records the quantity they have submitted. The women take…

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Citizens in Bengaluru are taking to the circular economy with thrifting, buying used or second hand goods instead of brand new ones. The underlying principle is to reuse and recycle what already exists rather than producing new products with more resources. Thrift stores are common in western countries, where they are seen as good sources of unique, vintage, and sometimes even valuable items no longer available in mainstream markets. The concept of thrifting or buying second-hand or pre-loved products is not entirely unheard of in India. Second hand book stores, for example, are quite common and often well loved in…

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Gone are the days we paid in cash for every other purchase. With the increasing use of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions, almost all shops ranging from roadside stalls to big supermarkets tend to facilitate UPI payments. As much as it seems to have made our lives easier, there has been an increasing trend of scams related to UPI payments and digital transactions in Chennai and across the country. A recent study shows that the country has around 35 crore transacting users across various digital platforms, including e-commerce, shopping, travel and hospitality. The number is set to hit 70 crore…

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The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is currently facing huge losses in property tax revenue due to a technical glitch in its zonal classification. It is estimated that at least 70,000 citizens have underpaid their property taxes from 2016-2017, the time of implementation of new zones under the Self Assessment Scheme of Property Tax assessment. This glitch in assessment has caused a loss of Rs 240 crores in the past five years for the financially struggling BBMP. Low revenue from property taxes BBMP revenue collection from property tax is Rs 2,400 crores against an estimated demand of approximately Rs 4,000…

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The weekly used clothes market at Marol is perhaps one of Mumbai’s best hidden treasures. Tucked inside Andheri’s Marol dry fish market, old, used clothes arrive here from across the city, especially western suburbs. These are brought by vendors who go door-to-door collecting clothes and exchanging them for vessels. They are traditional recyclers - people carrying baskets of vessels on their heads and a bagful of clothes dangling down their shoulders. What’s on sale The mainstay of the market is used clothes, but now it has expanded to a wide range of paraphernalia including used shoes, bags and suitcases, electronic…

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On a sunny Saturday morning, Jai* hoists his shoe onto the platform of one of the many shoeshine workers on Borivali station. The job barely takes minutes. As per usual rates, he pays Rs 10 for his newly cream-polished shoes. But as he turns to leave, he’s called back: he owes Vinod, the shoeshiner, an additional Rs 5. The cost of shoeshining has increased. The writing on Vinod’s wooden stand is clear: Sada (plain/ordinary) - Rs 10, Cream - Rs 15. Jai’s surprise is not unfounded. The last time shoeshine rates on the stations increased - to Rs 7 for…

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