26 February, 2021

Staring At Stagflation?

When all indicators barring inflation point south, experts begin to whisper the dreaded S-word

Staring At Stagflation?
ON a chilly morning in Delhi's middle-class Savitri Nagar, Kamlesh Arya is getting ready to catch the 7.30 bus to Mayapuri where she works in a garment factory. As she stands applying the bindi on her forehead, the looking glass suddenly slips from her hand. Bending to pick up the broken pieces she mutters, "It's a bad omen. I wonder if I can take any more bad news." Six months earlier, her husband Ishwari had lost his job as a peon in a private company. Their children were pulled out of the public school they attended since the fees were no longer affordable and sent to the neighbouring municipal one. The Aryas also have had to look after ailing parents.

At 4.30 that evening, Arya was told that her job was no more. A dearth of export orders had forced the shutdown of yet another factory. "I knew the mirror's breaking spelt bad tidings. Earlier I worried about fees, now it's food," she sobs.

Arya's story, however, is not about faith in signs or portents. It's about cold economic reality. And you don't need to believe in omens to know that we live in scary...

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