A severe blow to the informal sector

Workers playing a local game at agriculture market in Khammam on Wednesday.

Workers playing a local game at agriculture market in Khammam on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: G_N_RAO

Post-demonetisation, the earnings have declined sharply for daily wage workers and contractors

“We want to serve only ice cream and tea for the reception” — This is one of the strange requests received by Muhammad Akram of Ryan Function Hall in Rethibowli in the aftermath of demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. “We have had four marriages in November and one this month. There are another 12 marriages lined up this month, but we don’t know how they will be performed. Many people are scaling down the food and festivities associated with the event,” says Mr. Akram.

“The impact of demonetisation has been hardest on the informal sector which employs more than 60 per cent of India’s working population,” says developmental economist Amir Ullah Khan giving some statistics. If an upscale hotel in Begumpet area has seen three wedding events cancelled over the last one month hitting the bottomline, for Muhammad Yusuf, a wedding contractor, it has meant a sharp decline in earnings. Mr. Yousuf contracts workers for 25 function halls in the Mehdipatnam area. “People don’t have money in the form of cash. Not everyone accepts cheque or card. Whatever cash people have they are spending on necessities like flowers, vegetables and food items they can afford. There is no money for DJ, music band, crackers, lights or light carriers. Even the items cooked for weddings have been reduced for the 10-12 marriages that were conducted over the past one month in my area,” he says.

At the soup kitchen started by a few friends in November second week in Mehdipatnam, the number of people has just multiplied. “I saw food being given here a few days ago and I stopped by to have it. I am coming regularly as I don’t have much work. Earlier, I didn’t have time during the day to eat food. Now I am free most of the time,” says Muhammad Akhtar Husain, a daily wage labourer who carts cement bags for a fee.

Mixed effect

In Gachibowli area where construction activity is going on at a frenetic pace, the effect of demonetisation appears to have had a mixed effect. “I am getting work everyday. Today, I got this job. Tomorrow I will get some other job. Work is there, only a small problem of currency is there when people are giving us old currency notes,” says Brijlal, a tile mason from Bihar working in a shopping complex.

Sab gaon chaley gaye (everyone has gone back to village),” informs Moidul Islam, who works at the under construction complex called Meenakshi in Gachibowli area. “My salary gets credited to the account on 10th of every month. I don’t have a problem. I give the money to a relative who sends it home for a commission. But my friends and relatives who are working in residential complexes in Chandanagar area have been asked to go back home for two months by their contractor,” he says.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 5:09:07 AM |

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