PM Modi’s ‘Pakodanomics’: What do Informal Sector Workers Think?

PM Modi’s ‘Pakodanomics’: What do Informal Sector Workers Think?

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kicked up a storm with his ‘pakodanomics’. Don’t know what that is? In an interview to Zee TV’s Sudhir Chaudhary in January, the PM had said:

Agar ek TV channel ke bahar koi pakode bech raha hai, aur wo Rs 200 kamake jaata hai, to wo rozgaar hai ki nahin? (If someone sells pakodas outside a TV channel, and earns Rs 200 a day, does that not count as employment?

Also Read : 10 Questions Times Now and Zee News Could’ve Asked PM Modi Instead

According to the International Labour Organisation, an employee is defined as someone who gets basic remuneration that is not directly dependent on the revenue of the employer.

So, does selling pakodas count as employment? The Quint took to the streets of Delhi to ask some street hawkers about ‘pakodanomics’ and to find out their thoughts about about the PM’s move to brand them as employees.

Also Read : Whose ‘Pakoda’ Is It Anyway? Amit Shah, Chidambaram Spar Over Jobs

“We don’t even earn enough to save Rs 1,000,” says Rukhsana Khan, who sells peanuts and soda.

We make just enough to cover our costs of living, that’s all. 

Also Read : Less Than 1% of Those Registered in Employment Exchanges Get Jobs

Vishwanath Sao, who sells tobacco by the roadside, tells us he makes Rs 9,000 a month. On the other hand, Ramratan, who owns a biryani and kachori stall, says he earns about Rs 5,000-6,000 a month.

Our shop is rented and the boys who work here need to be paid. I can’t handle all the work so I have a few helpers.
Ramratan, Biryani and kachori stall owner

Also Read : Budget 2017: The Employment Data Vacuum and What It Entails

According to a 2017 statistical report from the National Sample Survey Organisation, India’s informal sector employs close to 7.52 crore people. Most of these workers are uneducated. According to a 2018 report from the International Labour organisation, the rate of unemployment in India is estimated to grow to 18.6 million this year, from 18.3 million in 2017.

To regularise those who are employed as domestic help, the government has announced plans to fix Rs 9,000 as the minimum monthly wage, along with social security cover, and mandatory leaves.

Also Read : Is Begging a Job Too?: Chidambaram’s Swipe at PM’s ‘Pakoda’ Remark

But a simple calculation shows that if all 7.52 crore Indians who are currently employed in the informal sector are given Rs 9,000 monthly, it will cost the Indian exchequer Rs 67,680,00,00,000. Can these promises be met?

Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim

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