The Morning Sip

From Kashmir to Kanyakumari or from Gujrat to Arunachal Pradesh, India, a land with a population of more than a billion has a very diverse culture and heritage where everything differs from region to region. Right from climate to clothes to cuisines, the list is humongous. Even a life would be insufficient to describe our country. But, irrespective of the differences that we have, the one particular thing which connects everyone of us is chai (tea). Believe it or not Indians cannot imagine to have a day without tea. “Bhaiya Ek Chai” is a typical north-Indian way of asking for a cup tea at a tea stall. Likewise, whenever a guest visits someone’s home, he will never be allowed to leave without having a cup of tea. The conversations, the laughs, the memories, almost everything can be associated with a tea. Chai is not only a beverage it’s an emotion. And to keep this emotion intact the chaiwallas ( tea sellers) have never left any stoned unturned. Across India there are many chaiwallas who operate from shed or a thela (cart), these are mainly found in roadside streets who form part of an informal sector. According to 2018-19 Economic Survey, almost 93 % of the total workforce in India is informal. There are nearly 10 million street vendors in India, out of which tea sellers form a substantial proportion. The year 2020 has not been kind to us as our economy has hit rock-bottom ( due to covid-19), which was already going through a slowdown. The informal sector was the hardest hit as many people were forced to remain jobless and among them tea sellers also had to bear the brunt.

Faizan Quereshi, who owns a tea stall in kolar said ” The business is picking up, but still people are scared to come”. When asked about the losses, he replied ” losses were huge, I was forced to shut the stall, leaving me with no income”. Quereshi even took a loan and started selling vegetables, to make ends meet. Another tea seller Ashok Sahu, who owns Sahu Tea Stall said, ” We didn’t face losses during these times because we used to operate from an interior region during lockdown where everyone used to come except the police”. The people who come to these stalls are usually daily-wage labourers. Vikas Meena, who owns Mahakal Tea Stall says” Govt has to provide direct financial aid instead of loans to the poor people like us”. ” I had to survive on loans after everything came to a standstill,” said Meena, when asked about lockdown measures. The Central government in its Aatma Nirbhar Package promised to provide loans up to RS 10000 to 50 lakh street vendors, but here situation seems grim because many vendors are not registered under municipality. Many of them don’t even have a bank account. Abhishek Maran, who owns Mama Tea Stall said ” What will happen with 10000 RS, it won’t even last 10 days”. Likewise, there are millions of street vendors in India, who are facing some or the other problems. Many don’t even want to take loans fearing debt. Many people depend on moneylenders (who are easily accessible) instead of banks as there isn’t any form of paperwork or collateral required in it. Though informal sector employs more than 90% of our total workforce, its activities are not included in the calculation of GDP. The government doesn’t have any statistical data related to working of informal sector due to which implementation of schemes are becoming a hassle.

India’s GDP contracted to 24 % in the first quarter of 2020-21, which has posed a serious threat to our economy amid coronavirus pandemic. Strict measures have to be taken by the government to bring stability to the economy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s