Tuesday, November 20, 2018

India Wakes To The 'Gig' Economy

U is for Uber
O for Ola
F for Flipkart
A is for Amazon

Once upon a time  a chaffeur  was paid Rs 3000 per month.Today its Rs 18,000.A quantum jump and this once upon a time was not in the previous century but just 4 or 5 years back.Almost unthinkable,now businessmen are rushing to buy 'luxury' cabs and register themselves for a commercial driving license.

One young man who used to work as an accountant in a sedate machinery & equipment manufacturing company now drives a can for Uber.

But after a 3 year honeymoon the startups that are now on their way to expanding their business have tightened the returns they offer and it being India there is a surfeit of people willing to jump in even with meager profits.

The frightening possibility is that this government with such a strong mandate for change has all but frittered it away in the 4 years with frivolous and sometimes downright stupid moves like DEMONETIZATION.This is the main reason for so much social unrest in the country, It is here to stay as the same power brokers who talked of progress,change, industry, are now bent on diverting public attention and wasting resources on building tall statues and temples!

Crude oil has given a respite but I do not see emerging markets being able to recapture the dynamic results of 2017.Traders need to become investors, Entrepreneurs need to sell 'pakoras'.

Where are we headed as a country. Lofty goals on paper in in vain speeches. All the sectors are in doldrums. Rupee depreciation versus US $ has not resulted in comensurate increase in exports because here again the issues are systemic.Bangladesh and Vietnam are moving ahead in textiles and food processing. Kenya is producing more tea.

Press freedom and critics are being silenced.Yet we are told on television that we the nation are making tremendous progress. Statistics can be interpreted any which way.

Yet again  Indians will have to find a way without any political leadership to find new industries to grow exports, create jobs for the millions pouring out of colleges yearly.car sales will be down, consumption down and profits down. Good businesses will survive.

Stock prices will stay flat. It is important to not expect big price changes in the short term from markets and from government policies....and thy shalt not be disappointed.

Apologies for the lecture!!