Look beyond the media noise in India.

I stopped my Satellite TV subscription over an year back as I could not take any more of the endless discussions with no closure. For a common man like me, it baffles me to no end why these experts do not get it. Is this just posturing to meet their own selfish political ends or is just an occupation. Are these topics really very complicated and am I wrong in trying to over-simplify these issues? What is happening around us? Is this true or just a narrative that suits some people. Is the common man even aware of what is really happening?


Where did the jobs vanish?

“I had 4 factories in Delhi NCR and post demonetization followed by GST, I shut down 3 of these.  I could no longer hide these from the authorities and not pay taxes” This is just one of the businessmen in Delhi who revealed. There may be many who took similar decisions. One would not close an established business unless they do not have any other recourse. This could have been the reason why suddenly a lot of blue-collar workers lost jobs and had to leave the cities.

I also came to know that companies who have been paying their employees in cash could no longer do so and since they had to account the cash flow. These companies had to eventually hire a workforce company to get their work done and formalize their dealings.

Eventually, these steps would lead in formalizing the unorganized sectors and to a great extent also increase the tax revenue for the state and center.


Aadhaar and the human rights violation!

When I moved to Oman, 12 years back in search of work, the first thing that I needed to get after the VISA stamp on my passport was the resident card. This involved me to submit my fingerprints and other details to the authorities and eventually a Resident Card (earlier called as Labor Card) was issued. This card was the only point of reference of my legal existence in Oman. This card was needed to open a bank account, buy a mobile sim or remit money back to India.

The Aadhaar card in India seemed to be on the same lines. But there was a lot of opposition, at least in media, towards implementation. One of the primary objections seems to be privacy. It comes to me as a surprise that a majority of people who are objecting might have a smart phone which is fingerprint enabled, now even face recognizable security is also available. These people are also active in social media, have uploaded personal pictures and also tweet day-to-day activities. What kind of privacy are they protecting? Or is this just an issue of choice?

It is also possible that these oppositions are more from citizens who have something to hide, black money, property ownership, unaccounted business etc.

I know that with the Aadhaar, the government will be able to focus, channelize and also save a lot of money in their social activities towards the actual needy.


Black & White Economy;

This is no secret that the black economy in India was big and some might even argue that it is bigger than the formal/white one. We do believe this to be true. This is most apparent when you go shopping for property. Not many people can own a property from the secondary market due to the black component being 50-70% of the price. And it is very easy for property dealers and people with money to invest 10% booking amount in white and bring the property into the secondary market. Then you have more buyers willing to pay you a higher price especially in black money. Needless to say, this means no taxes and a revenue loss for the government.

But what confuses me is why are these experts and media people are continuously discussing and still not able to identify the obvious? Are they really unaware?

Has the mainline media lost its relevance and credibility? Can we believe what we hear and see, anymore? All seems like a huge PR campaign run by one side or the other. A campaign where truth no longer prevails.

Why did the Indian auto industry take a reverse drive!

The auto industry in India is looking to pass the blame for the drop in the industry to someone other than themselves. They say it is the government policy, infrastructure, taxes and the list goes on. This might be far from the actual truth.

Indian auto industry needs to just look at the rear view mirror and they might see that this was expected long time back.

They took the customers for granted. The same mistakes that big global brands like NOKIA, SONY, CASIO etc. made in the past, to not understand the changing trends and customer behavior made them go out of business. While it is true that there are a few other external factors which would have contributed to this decline but primarily, I feel it was their own fault.

Crossover segment has been rapidly growing and customer preference for this kind of vehicle is evident from the fact that the some of the current new launches was over booked. Even the market leader’s crossover variants have done well. It’s the sedan segment which has been badly hit, isn’t that correct? My blog https://dilsaay.com/index.php/2018/02/22/innovation-vs-disruption/ which I published in Feb 2018, talked about this change in customer preference.

How many cars in India have a 5 Star Safety rating from NCAP or any established body? You might be surprised that in spite of really high prices for basic cars, these safety norms have not been secured. The Industry might say that they follow all the government norms, but is that a valid reason for brands to forget about the safety of their customers?

The cost of some of these basic cars are just ridiculous, in spite of these being built locally? How long can brands justify the increase in price which is largely due to their own mistakes and inefficiencies.

The traffic chaos, better public transport options like Metro trains and disruptions like Uber have changed the customers, especially the younger generation to switch to these alternatives, which are cheaper and stress free. Youngsters are saying that they do not want to buy a car anymore. Parking issues at home and at work, long traffic jams, expensive maintenance, high fuel charges, the list goes on as reasons to not buy a car. More and more companies today allow their employees to work from home. This has also contributed to this drop in purchase of vehicles.

Change in policies contributed to this change. Heavy traffic fines, Bharat 3 to Bharat 4 pollution policy, confusion on the EV technology and its implementation.

Lastly, the drop in black money has been also a factor, the details of bigger spends have to be declared to the Government. The parallel economy has shrunk and the car industry was also hit like some other industries like real estate. The financial institutions have also tightened their credit policies with increasing delinquency rates and in a market which has over 90% cars bought on loans, it surely was a contributor.

I think, the Indian auto industry needs to relook at its large capacity production of outdated small sedan cars, offer customers new, smart, safe vehicles that reflect their personality as well as justify the value of their hard earned money. Keep a stab on the changing customer behavior and be ahead of the trends. Its only a matter of time that the auto industry will revive.