CCD owner-founder VG Siddhartha
CCD owner-founder VG Siddhartha

The Café Coffee Day (CCD) baron VG Siddhartha took his own life as he could not pay off the debt of Rs 11000 crore. Founded and established on 11 July 1996, CCD celebrated its 23rd birthday this year. VG Siddhartha attempted to elevate the experience of coffee by sipping on one that costs more than Rs 200 for a cup, while sitting leisurely on couches with loved ones, the air filled with the smell of roasted coffee and cake.

He definitely succeeded with a CCD seen at every other street corner. This warmed the market for Starbucks that entered India a decade later, and is doing great. but the middle class takes an escape into the familiar CCD.

A Hindustan Unilever enterprise Bru World Café had shut down all its coffee houses in September 2016, only after five years of operation because of heavy losses.

The World Bank declared that India has slipped to being the seventh largest economy in 2018. The GDP of India is 2.7 trillion dollars while that of the USA is 20.5 trillion dollars. A clear indication of why the latter holds the status of a developed nation. 

Not all who borrow from the bank intend to cheat. Nor can they be declared scamsters if they have not paid the income tax or EMIs on time. They might be strugglers who are trying to earn their daily bread, building a business while they are at it.

But money makes money and to build something up from scratch immense time and effort. Indian economic conditions are not favourable for any new businesses to germinate, sustain or flourish.

India is a land of small and big trades. Its traders carry the ancestral spine of economy. The multi-national companies (MNCs) brought in a crazy culture for jobs a couple of decades back.

The government is behind creating jobs, although it has brought not a tad of hope for the youth. Unemployment has pulled us down into the pit of a dark future.

On the other hand, small businesses are smothered. The Startup India initiative of the government, announced by the prime minister from the Red Fort on 15 August 2015, brought some hope for those who had great business ideas.

A little push from the government got them on to the global platform. Some of them, like Byju's and Flyrobe could hit it off. But the rest are struggling because of the other policies of the government.

A report by IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics, as News18 had reported last year, found that 90 per cent Indian startups fail within the first five years.

The main reasons cited by them was a lack of innovation and market demand. Taskbob and Stayzilla are shutting down due to lack of funding.

The same is the scene where the established traditional businesses are concerned. The most affected one is the diamond market. People used to invest in jewellery but now they have a fear of having to declare their property.

Also there is lack of liquidity of funds that had kept the diamond market going. Nobody wants the trouble of paying for their assets every year. The price of gold, which is considered to be an asset is soaring high, forcing people to sell their own.

The idea of investing in mutual funds is risky for a layman. The government needs to think of other options to curb corruption as this cashless economy has turned into a confused economy. 

One of the reasons for the great Indian depression is lack of parallel economy. Housewives saving small amounts from the money allocated for the household expenses was a custom handed down from the ancestors. Husbands took care of the regular expenditures and the wives helped them out when the need arose.

If there was any loss in the business, this alternate source would prove to be a boon and save the family. No doubt that demonetisation rolled out the hordes of illegal savings but it has broken the invisible halo of security in the families.

East India Company called us a golden bird. Our soil is rich in minerals. We are blessed with a gradient of weathers to grow a variety of crops. Rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, coffee or tea--we can be sustainable. Contribution of agriculture sector in Indian economy is much higher than world's average of 6.4 per cent.

But there is no policy put forward by the government for the guaranteed security of the farmers. They still walk miles to make their voices (un)heard and commit suicides every year.

The standard of living of the working class has had no improvement. It is evident in the recent budget that evaded the welfare of the middle class citizens. The companies look for profits and growth, but they do not make the job lucrative for the employees.

With the IT culture of getting paid for working overtime, the more the employees make, the more time they spend in their offices. They lack personal time, with even baby care outsourced to nannies. Nuclear families in turn create insecurity in old age.

The rosy picture that the government puts forth every five years does not include the bent back of the middle class. The budget 2019 proved yet again that the middle class will have to keep supporting the nation without a bout of relaxation.

The basic necessities of roti, kapda and makaan still playing beyond grasp, a comfortable vacation with the family is definitely unaffordable. The service sector works in such a tight tense manner that taking off from jobs for a 10-day trip or falling ill is a nightmare. Education of a single child in a good school requires more than one earning hand in the family.

Modi government boasts of fighting corruption and unemployment without understanding the needs of the Indian economical system. People have no alternatives to electing a government or finding a better job.

Pragya Jain is an educationist. Views are personal.

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