Economy

Is India’s annual budget a political exercise or an attempt to frame a stable and long-term development, fiscal and monetary policy framework? If it is the former, the yearly tamasha makes sense. If the latter, it absolutely does not. No sustained development will happen in a system that can change policy from year to year. Certainly a central budget is needed. We need to know how much the government earns and how much it spends, and on what. Defence, foreign policy and managing money matters on the macro scale constitute the budget’s main objectives. Beyond that, what else does the…

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Jacob D’Souza, 63, a resident of Matunga and a school bus operator for schools in Mumbai, once owned four buses and operated independent bus services in five neighbourhood schools in and around Sion Koliwada. Two years into the lockdown, he is left with just one bus and struggles to make ends meet with that. Within a year of the lockdown, financiers seized two of his buses for defaulting on loan repayment. “My buses were confiscated despite my sound credit record of paying all my dues on time,” said Jacob. “They didn't care that I had no income due to the…

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Marian D’Costa of Aiyo Patrao, an online kitchen that serves Goan and Kerala delicacies in response to orders received on Instagram, faces a stiff business challenge today. “Sourcing fresh fish at good rates has become increasingly difficult.” she says. Marian echoes what a large section of the huge fish-loving community in Mumbai and its suburbs have been feeling and what holds strong connotations for the fish economy in Mumbai. Fish used to be a staple in most East Indian, Koli and some Maharashtrian households. All kinds of fish from shellfish, the bigger varieties like King fish, silver and black pomfret…

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Bhendi Bazaar is situated between Mohammed Ali road and Khetwadi in South Mumbai. It is home to several micro-economies that cater to the needs of the communities living in the area.  Interestingly, one of the etymological theories of the name ‘Bhendi Bazaar’ comes from the British era. According to Murtaza Sadriwala, Media Coordinator of the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), when the British lived on the Southern side of Crawford Market, the Northern side was referred to as ‘Behind the Bazaar’, which over time was colloquially pronounced as Bhendi Bazaar. This was phonetically similar to the Hindi word for Okra…

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“I really want to begin investing my savings but the thought of losing money in volatile markets really pulls me back,” says Vandana Singh, who works as a senior software engineer at a multinational corporation. “The fact that financial decisions are made by the ‘men’ of the house has intrinsically made women believe that it’s not their cup of tea,” says Veera Jain, research associate at a prestigious educational institution.  Have you ever wondered why, despite it being one of the most important aspects of living a fulfilling and secure life, there has been no inclusion of financial education in…

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Reforming Indian agriculture in a way that would match the country’s food needs with ensuring farmers’ security has been debated for decades now. But a reform package, that would be welcomed by farmers and consumers from Punjab to Kanyakumari was never going to be easy or simple.  This Central government’s version of bringing about much-needed agriculture reform were three new farm laws that overrode all the other laws that came before it. Unfortunately, the new laws addressed the various issues that farmers faced in much the same way that the blind men of the fable saw the elephant. No wonder…

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The orders were verbal, with no paper trail. Curiously, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was the last to implement it. In one fell swoop, four BJP-controlled municipal corporations directed their executive wings to launch a drive to remove Ahmedabad's street vendors selling eggs and other non-vegetarian eatables at roadside stalls. One reason given for these verbal orders was that the sight of non-veg food displayed in the stalls hurts the religious sentiments of the Hindus. The drive to remove all such street vendors from the streets began from Rajkot on November 9th. Vadodara was next, followed immediately by Bhavnagar and Junagadh.…

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Guarantee: An assurance for the fulfillment of a condition (Merriam Webster Dictionary) A trite and tired cliché, but so true. There are no guarantees in life. A truth brought home starkly and tragically to millions of urban workers, as the country shut down overnight in March 2020 to battle the COVID pandemic. And again earlier this year, as the second wave hit. And now, fearful of another lockdown as wave three of the virus threatens to strike, workers are again wondering if they will be left without any jobs. But the bigger tragedy is that those stark images of migrant…

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The new set of Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Amendment Rules, 2021 released by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has raised a storm of protest from other ministries, e-commerce platforms and IT industry trade body Nasscom. Given the huge spurt in e-commerce transactions since the pandemic, especially in the supply of essential goods and services, the new rules aim to protect the interests of consumers using the various e-commerce platforms. India registered a growth in e-com transactions of 36% in 2020, amounting to approximately 80 billion dollars and still counting. The main issue is that e-commerce does not have…

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On October 22nd, Citizen Matters hosted a tweet chat with Kaveri Medappa, DeliveryBhoy (an anonymous Twitter handle of a former delivery worker), and Abhishek Sekharan to discuss the issues delivery workers deal with on a daily basis. Kaveri is a researcher at University of Sussex, she is known for her work studying the experiences of delivery workers in Bangalore. DeliveryBhoy is an anonymous food delivery worker who brings focus to poor working conditions of gig workers in the country. Abhishek Sekharan, is a Researcher with Centre for Internet and Society CIS India doing interdisciplinary research on internet and digital technologies…

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