Category Archives: Economy

The condition of the Aam Admi

The “aam admi” (the common man) has becomes a subject of ridicule ever since the Congress party used the expression to pretend that it is a people-friendly government. You can stuff the plus 9% GDP up your…if the common man or woman cannot buy even decent food without burning a big hole in his or her pocket. Everything from gas to power to vegetables are expensive. For some commodities the increase has been more than 200%.

Shivam Vij on his National Highway blog in a post titled The Hand That Slipped says:

Meet the Congress party’s aam aadmi, exalted to VIP status just three years ago and used as a potent weapon against the India Shining delusions of the ruling National Democratic Alliance. India Shining became India’s most berated slogan, seemingly discrediting economic reforms along the way, and one thought the aam aadmi was back in the centrestage. But three years on, even the Congress seems jittery about not having kept its promise. For an electorate that does not understand the consequences of the rise and fall of the gdp, the only tool of measurement is the price of onions.

Right said. But saying that “even the Congress seems jittery” means giving too much undue credit to the party. I think they do everything purposely. Let the common man toil for even smaller things in life and this never gives him a breathing space to think about bigger issues. When even arranging for the next meal becomes an ordeal how do you get time to think about other things? Given the kind of defeatist attitude we have, and the fact that there is no ready alternative, somewhere the Congress knows it may continue in power for at least the next 10 years. So it routinely sheds the crocodile tears for the common man and then goes on doing its own dirty business of drilling holes into the existence of the country.

[tags]indian economy, indian gdp, the congress, aam admi, indian politics, indian poverty[/tags]

The Woes of the Rising Rupee

Well, ask me! Since most of my earnings come from abroad, the rising rupee value means less money for me. But instead ruing the fact I’m trying to earn more. In the macro-economics terms the rising rupee may render the RBI poorer. The link says:

A strong rupee, which adversely impacts exporters’ earnings, could also leave the Reserve Bank of India poorer. Any appreciation in the rupee results in an erosion in the value of RBI’s foreign exchange reserves in its balance sheet.

This is paradoxical. Doesn’t a rising rupee mean a healthier Indian economy? And this puzzles me:

“The only way out for the central bank could be to resume its intervention in the forex market, by mopping up dollars to prevent the rupee from rising further,??? said Mr Barua. The Kotak Mahindra Bank report foresees that the central bank would resume its intervention in the foreign exchange market, prior to June 30, probably also to shore up its CGRA before its year closes.

Can someone throw some light on this in the comments section?

[tags]economics, indian economy, rupee value, rising rupee[/tags]

The Dabbawalas of Mumbai

I know a lot has been written on the legendary (the service was started around 125 years ago by the British), the dabbawala business continuously gets international coverage for its mammoth scale and unfaltering efficiency. The entire functioning of the process goes like this:

A network of (dabba)wallas picks up the boxes from customers’ homes or from people who cook lunches to order, then delivers the meals to a local railway station. The boxes are hand-sorted for delivery to different stations in central Mumbai, and then re-sorted and carried to their destinations. After lunch, the service reverses, and the empty boxes are delivered back home.

The secret of the system is in the colored codes painted on the side of the boxes, which tell the dabbawalas where the food comes from and which railway stations it must pass through on its way to a specific office in a specific building in downtown Mumbai.

A business that is still growing at the rate of 5 to 10 percent, it has received the Six Sigma award from the Forbes Magazine. Only those organizations get the Six Sigma award that can keep their defects at around 1 defect every 6,000,000 (six million) deliveries. This is amazing, and they don’t even get any special management training. Seth Godin in his post rightly says:

The dabbawalas know their customers. If they rotated the people around, it would never work. There’s trust, and along with the trust is responsibility. By creating a flat organization and building relationships, the system even survives monsoon season.

You can apply for a dabba service at MyDabbaWala.com.

[tags]dabbawalas, mumbai, food supply, tiffin, six sigma[/tags]

Hindutva, Ram Setu, and Marine Ecology

It has to be nasty when “Hindu” organizations get involved. These bloody fascists need to be taught a lesson, even if for that you have to cut your own arm. Our progressive central and state governments are planning to demolish the Ram Setu to make way for the ambitious Sethusamudram project that is going to connect the Bay of Bengal with the Indian Ocean (Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay). A ship canal will be dug, I think somewhat similar to what they did when they created the Suez Canal. This will significantly reduce the shipping time, as right now all the ships have to come round Sri Lanka.

It’s irrelevant how much money the canal is going to save. It is also irrelevant that the vanar sena (the monkey army of Lord Ram) laid the millions of stones so that they could reach Lanka and rescue Sita from the demon king Rawan. What’s relevant is the ecological, geographic and oceanic effect the project is going to unleash. This is what some of the experts say:

Retired marine scientists and experts claim that if the Government persists with the project in its present form, India could be inviting an ecological disaster. They cite the 2004 experience of the coastline protected by Ram Setu escaping the fury of the Boxing Day tsunami.

Destroying the setu, they point out, citing tsunami expert Tad S Murthy, “Opens up serious potential damage to the entire Kerala and Tamil Nadu coast when the next tsunami occurs.” The project does not factor in measures to protect the coastline from tsunamis after the existing barrier is destroyed.

Experts have pointed out that as a consequence of dredging and opening of Ram Setu, fragile coral islands will be “destroyed by sediments and turbulent tides of Bay of Bengal entering the tranquil Gulf of Mannar.” They have suggested that the channel should be realigned towards Pamban and, like the Panama Canal, locks could be provided at the Palk Bay end and the Gulf of Mannar end to prevent disasters like tsunamis.

And this is where religion gets involved:

It is ironical that a government which changes the metro rail route to protect the Qutub Minar, built with the material of destroyed temples, stops a corridor to protect the Taj Mahal’s surroundings and spends crores of rupees to showcase ancient potteries and jewellery in heavily guarded museums, is destroying a unique symbol of national identity and an icon well preserved in our minds since ages. Even a child knows that a bridge was built by the friends of Lord Rama using floating stones and Rama’s army marched over it to Lanka to rescue Sita and destroy the evil regime of Ravana. [link]

This is sad. I’m not saying the monuments and historical artifacts belonging to the “great Mughal period” shouldn’t be protected — of course they should be protected because they are a part of our heritage — but then why be so callous about the Ram Setu, which officially the government calls the “Adam’s bridge”? Just because the bridge bears Hindu connotations, it doesn’t mean it deserves no protection. So I fully support the VHP campaign to save the bridge — sometimes the end does justify the means. It’s disastrous that destructive organizations like the VHP is doing something that the civil society should do.

Here you can find more information on Ram Setu, or Ram Sethu.

[tags]sethusamudram project, ram setu, ram sethu, vhp, hindutva, hindu[/tags]

Why can’t the northern states do this?

While most of the northern states political parties in India are busy building (or not building, destroying, you may say, in some cases) temples and mosques, the southern states are building their technological might bit by bit. At the instance of the Andhra Pradesh government Google is expanding its operations in Hyderabad. The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh is visiting different countries to encourage IT investment in the state. Imagine Laloo, Mulayam, or even Badal doing this.

The northern states of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Bihar should learn from the southern states. Progress doesn’t only mean growing crops (that too, using obsolete methods) and pulling down other castes and religions: it also means systematic technological and industrial growth.

[tags]google india, google[/tags]