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.

Rupees 10 crore may seem a small number. But the cause that prompted the Delhi government to allocate this sum is at once extraordinarily human, and extremely rare. Building a boarding school for children whose home generally are the pavements, road dividers, under flyovers and outside stations and temples. It is a miniscule part of the Rs 75,800 crore total Delhi budget, presented by Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia. Efforts to bring these street kids into the mainstream education stream have failed so far. A boarding school for them will be a small step in that direction, Sisodia hopes, and that…

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Sagir Qureshi, a hawker in Mumbai, has been selling clothes on Hill Road in Bandra for over 50 years. He does not have a shop, instead, he wheels in an assortment of t-shirts and tops on metal racks to his usual spot everyday. In a line on the footpath in front of the brick and mortar shops, he joins the other hawkers getting ready for the evening crowds. “Mai apne pitaji ke time se yaha hu. Elco Market 1965 me shuru hua tha, tab itne hawkers aur dukaan nahi the. (I’ve been here since my father’s time. The Elco Market…

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With the presentation of the Delhi budget due any day now, stakeholding citizens crystal gaze at every word, comma and fullstop in the finance minister's statements. But Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio besides education, left little scope for guesses on what the Kejriwal government's priorities will be for the upcoming 2022-23 state budget. For one, the Delhi government came out with full page newspaper advertisement inviting suggestions from citizens to send their ideas on what the focus and specifics of the budget should be. Normally, pre-budget public consultations around policy and allocations generally…

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The termination of 80 workers of India’s first Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), M/s Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) Limited in Bengaluru on December 21st, 2021 is the latest instance of the long history of labour abuse at ITI. Their struggle ever since for fair treatment and wages reached its 100th day on March 10th. Though the workers had put in between 3 to 35 years at the ITI, they were all still designated as “contract workers”. In recent times, as with all PSUs, ITI’s contract workers have been increasingly vulnerable to being “casualised”---that is transformed from being employed chiefly on permanent…

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Mohammed Irshad, a garment worker in Dharavi, recalls being gripped by the fear of policemen lathi-charging him when he would step out in search of odd jobs during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. His garment unit was shut down. He wasn’t the only one, and many workers were suddenly faced with a crisis that appeared to have no solution ahead. Laxmi Kamble, co-ordinator with Acorn Foundation, which distributed food and ration kits during the lockdown, recalls the humiliation, desperation and embarrassment faced by workers, who were suddenly stuck with no tiffin service or hotels, no vessels to make food and no…

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Archana Yadav of Mumbai is an excited soul today. In just a few days, she will be starting classes under a free skilling programme offered in Kandivali under the Skill India initiative and hopes that it will help her secure a much-needed job in the domain of nursing. Archana knows the trials of having to look for a job without formally acquired skills or certification. Pre-pandemic she had been working as an unpaid trainee in an orthopaedic clinic in Mumbai, in the hope that the skills acquired in this position would help her get a better job in the future.…

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If last year’s BBMP budget is any indicator, health and education are likely to once again be at the lower end of the allocation scale this year too. With no elected Council, BBMP had sought suggestions directly from citizens on what the 2022-2023 city budget should focus on. It is probably safe to assume that health and education were high on people’s priorities, especially with the impacts of COVID. Yet, infrastructure seems to be the BBMP’s favourite, despite the myriad problems citizens are facing with ongoing delayed and incomplete projects. In the 2021-2022 budget, BBMP's total outlay was Rs 9,286…

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Rani N, 48, a fruit vendor who sits opposite RT Nagar post office, is warding off flies from her precious guavas. At night she sits in a barely lit corner, shrouded further by a large red umbrella that protects her from rains. Rani had migrated from Tamil Nadu to Bengaluru over three decades ago as a 16-year-old newly-wed. She and her husband wanted to escape the droughts in Tamil Nadu and pay off their debts.  She has been selling fruits for the past five years. As a relatively new entrant to street vending, Rani has little access to certain areas…

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To clear the air over speculation on the status of cryptocurrencies, Budget 2022 imposed a 30% tax on income from virtual digital assets (VDA) and announced the launch of digital rupee later this year. But, a few questions remain unanswered, especially on the definition of cryptocurrency. And what terms like blockchain and NFTs mean. The concepts of fungible and non-fungible have been around for some time now. In economic terms, fungible tokens or assets are products which are non-unique and interchangeable with something of equivalent value. They are transferable, tangible in nature and their value remains constant. For example, a…

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Manoj Kumar, who was handling loans for a private sector bank before COVID struck, has seen it all. He lost his Rs 35,000 a month job and sold vegetables as livelihood and to pay the EMI for his housing loan. The NOIDA resident says that he even considered going to a village and trying for a MNREGA job during the lockdown days. Manoj is emphatic that Budget 2022 has ignored the whole segment comprised of the urban unemployed. “I have not met anyone who feels things will improve by way of jobs for the young, educated, unemployed. No one is…

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