I was out in the narrow streets curating a customized walking tour in Jaipur for an upcoming educational trip of the US university students when I captured this picture.
Over the course of the last two years, having met many people from various sections of the society I feel the sentiments are low and people often grumble about the lull in work. More often it is demonetization of Indian currency in 2016 & implementation of GST that is blamed for lack of business in the market. When the demonetization was announced many economists appreciated this move citing a variety of reasons but a few disagreed too. Two years later, very few economists seem to side with the decision of demonetization. The consensus is that it is a small-scale and unorganized sector which took a major burnt of both these moves and there was a big layoff due to lack of business.
On a different note, while many of us faced temporary inconveniences it is poor people who were hit hardest. They had a tough time with cash in a short supply. Most of these daily wage earners didn’t have a bank account or smartphones to use mobile wallets as an alternative to cash. Despite all this, there was no protest from this section of society about the difficult situation. Probably, they were too busy making their ends meet to protest or may be trusted the PM for “better India”.
It is unfortunate that poor people have to endure a harsh decision like demonetization. Some say it is collateral damage or a side effect of a good intention. The opinion and mood seem to be changing; it’ll be interesting to note the results of an upcoming election this year. While some people still side with the ruling party quite a few have changed their loyalty. Whether Demonetization was good or bad is still debated; I leave the decision for the readers to make.
In the above street photo, the livelihood of the subject depends on repairing of bags. He is waiting for work and customers. His eye and face convey a lot. What do you read?
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