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By Anjana Pasricha
Tens of thousands of migrants from India’s countryside poured into the city of Gurugram as gleaming chrome and glass office buildings, high-rise apartments and upmarket shopping malls transformed the sleepy farming village on New Delhi’s outskirts into a booming business district over the last 15 years.
Huge construction projects and busy factories made it easy to find steady work in the city whose rapid growth coincided with a decade-long economic boom that lifted 270 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016.
Among them was 27-year old Javed Khan, who arrived more than a decade ago. As he searched for work, his first stop was a city intersection where day laborers gather to wait for contractors to pick them up. “When I first came here, I earned a decent wage,” he said. “Work went very well.”
But these days, he grows despondent as the wait at the same intersection becomes longer and longer. Khan said work has been hard to come by in the last year. “One-thousand of us collect here daily. Only 30 or 40 get picked up. The rest of us slowly go home.”
The swelling numbers of those searching for work is not surprising. Not many new buildings are going up as economic growth plummets to its lowest rate in a decade — from 8% four years ago to a projected 5% in the fiscal year that ends in March.
The slowdown in the construction sector, the second biggest employment provider after agriculture, is the most visible sign of India’s sputtering economy. It is a huge blow for millions of people who depend on daily wage job in cities to support themselves and their families back in villages. Rural areas depend heavily on remittances from migrant construction laborers.
Adarsh Kumar, 21, arrived in Gurugram three years ago. He said for two years he earned enough to send money to his parents, but now he can barely pay for his own room and board. “You work for 10 days and you sit idle for 20 days managing on that money.”
Low-income workers are not the only ones who have been badly hit in India’s struggling construction sector.
At the height of the economic boom, tens of thousands of homebuyers invested in housing projects in Noida, another fast-growing neighborhood in New Delhi’s vicinity. Now, partially constructed buildings dot the skyline as a credit crunch cripples developers and stalls hundreds of projects.
It is a huge blow for middle-class families. Some have seen their savings erode while others are stuck paying mortgages for unfinished homes.
Alpana Majumdar invested nearly $50,000 in an apartment in Noida that was to be completed five years ago, and for which she is still waiting to take possession of. “We were thinking if we get that house, we can give it on rent and I can earn some money from there,” she said.
With less money in their pockets, an aspirational middle class is buying fewer goods like cars and refrigerators — a hard blow to a country whose economy is largely powered by the money spent by its burgeoning middle class.
Auto showrooms are facing their slowest demand in 20 years while small shops cope with dropping sales as daily wage workers struggle to eke out a living.
The other big employment provider, factories and exporting units located in Gurugram’s industrial hub, are not faring much better. Exports have declined for six months in a row.
Kumar was among those who drew a blank in his search for work in export factories. “There are no vacancies anywhere. Even companies are not hiring.”
Economist N.R. Bhanumurthy at New Delhi’s National Institute of Finance and Policy said the slowdown is now in a “full-blown phase.”
There is a decline in the demand from the external sector, from the household sector and from the private sector,” Bhanumurthy said. “Given this kind of slowdown across the sectors of the economy, that is why we are seeing a very sharp slowdown in the overall growth.”
The government has announced a series of measures to boost exports and manufacturing, as well as revive the housing sector, including a fund of nearly $1.5 billion to complete unfinished housing projects. It has cut taxes for the middle class in a bid to spur consumer spending.
While such steps may lead to a nascent recovery, economists do not expect a significant rebound.
They said it will be difficult for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet his goal of propelling India into a $5 trillion economy by 2025 or providing jobs for the millions entering a work force in a country where two-thirds of the population is under 35.
Both targets would require India to grow at more than 8% a year, and there are no signs of such a dramatic pickup on the horizon.
“When this $5 trillion target was fixed we were not sure it was based on any analysis,” said Bhanumurthy. “It maybe (was) a wishful kind of target.”
It has been a steep fall for India, which, until a year ago, was the world’s fastest growing major economy with a plunging poverty rate.
Those searching for work in Gurugram said times are the hardest in recent memory. “I have to pay $70 for a room, then I have to buy rations daily. If I don’t earn, how will I afford anything?” a woman named Reshma asked as she waited at the city intersection. Her eyes remained fixed on the road as she hoped that a builder who needed an extra pair of hands would stop. (VOA)
The city of Delhi has seen it all; from sultanate rule, to dynasties, and to colonial rule. From monarchy to democracy, Delhi has gone through its phases. But, in order to know and explore the nuances of Delhi, you must read these beautiful books.
1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple
This book was written while Dalrymple was still flirting with his love for the Medieval India. The author writes, "Moreover the city- so I soon discovered- possessed a bottomless seam of stories: tales receding far beyond history, deep into the cavernous chambers of myth and legend," and just like this, Dalrymple takes you in a tour to discover Discover Delhi.
2. Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller by Raza Rumi
This book explores how the author explores his identity as a South Asian Muslim and how his city of Lahore is a mirror image of Delhi. Rumi, in this book, tries to co-relate the past with the present by comparing its festivals, streets, and markets.
3. Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital by DavePrager
This book is quite interesting. The story of this book revolves around the lives of Dave and Jenny who have recently moved to Delhi when their firm began to go down. The city of Delhi in this book is shown through their eyes as they try to make their way in the city that holds together a very large population.
4. The Heart has its Reasons by Krishna Sobti, Translated by Reema Anand, Meenakshi Swami
The original title of this book is "Dil - o - Danish". This book tells the reader about the streets of Old Delhi and almost transport the reader back in the past. This book is basically set in the 1920's, and tells the tale of a man's extramarital affair, his children out of wedlock, black magic, and Chandni Chowk's rich culture of sweets and the perils of being a widow. Interestingly, many have compared the author of this book to Jane Austen.
5. Delhi: A Novel by Khushwant Singh
Who would talk about Delhi and not remember Khushwant Singh? This amazing book is just like a narrative of the author's fulfilled love affair with the city and with a eunuch. The narrator in this book is an aging man who is trying to discover the city. This book is truly a masterpiece, where it takes the readers on the history of Delhi glimpsing at what makes the city what it is– simply beautiful.
There are some of the Indian cities which are older than time. Therefore, we must know which cities are they, and what has been their history!
1. Varanasi (1200 BC–)
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of India, and has been a center of religious and cultural activity since the Bronze Age. In fact, this city might have been in existence from a very long time, since it finds mention in the Rig Veda. It is believed that the city of Varanasi was thriving for more than 1600 years before the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe. This city is one of the holiest places for Hindus and Jains, and even Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon here in 528 BC. In Hinduism, it is believed that dying in Varanasi brings salvation, which is the reason why the city is always brimming with pilgrims.
2. Ujjain (700/600 BC–)
Ujjain was once considered as one of the most prominent cities in the Middle India. In fact, the name of this city is repeatedly mentioned in the literature of that period, i.e. in the works of stalwarts like Kālidāsa. This city has seen the rise and fall of numerous empires, from the Mauryas to the Avantis, Nandas, and even the Guptas. This city, just like Varanasi, is also considered as one of the holiest cities in India, and hosts one of the officially recognized Kumbh melas, the Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh, in which people across the world take place.
3. Madurai (500 BC–)
Madurai been a major center of culture and trade for more than 2500 years. In fact, the name of this city has been mentioned in the writings of the great traveler, Megasthenes, and has been ruled by several empires from the Pandyas and the Cholas to the Karnata, and finally the British. Interestingly, ‘'Koodal,' was one of its ancient name which means 'a congregation of learned men'. There is no doubt that Madurai was an epicenter of scholars and religious teachers in the southern part of India.
4. Thanjavur (300 BC–)
Thanjavur was formerly known as Tanjore. This city is pretty famous for its Tanjore style of painting, which is a traditional style that is characterised by the use of gold foil, religious imagery, and simple compositions. This city is best known for being the home of the Great Living Chola Temples, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Till date, people across the world visit this place in order to experience its rich history and heritage.
By- Digital Hub
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Require a Wig
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Also read: Gemstones: Fashion Statements
In today's society, the wearing of a hair wig has become more common. A hair wig is an easy method to alter your appearance at any time you wish quickly. Women are more drawn to these wigs since they can change their hairstyle with ease. Wigs are usually worn by those who have shed their hair or those who wish to alter their hairstyle to be fashionable.
Human hair wigs on display at a store Image source: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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If you are purchasing a human hair wig, make sure you know the origin of the hair. If you're looking to invest a few hundreds of dollars on a wig, it's recommended to purchase one of European hair. However, if the wig's label reads "human hair wig" without stating the origin for the hair, it's most likely made of Asian hair.
Also read: Latest Monsoon Fashion Trends
Human hair wigs have many advantages:
Human hair wigs last longer than synthetic ones
Human hair is soft and natural to the touch.
Human hair wigs can be dyed and styled as your hair
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Human hair wigs need to be styled at least once per wash
Human hair wigs are costly
While you can find numerous styles of synthetic wigs, but there aren't all fibers produced in the same way; for example, wigs that are costume-related for Halloween are typically made of lower quality fibers, which are expensive and appear to be the hair wig. For Halloween parties, this is okay, but for everyday use, you'll need a wig that looks like it's been growing around your head. On the other hand, contemporary synthetic materials utilized in top-quality designer wigs look highly practical for those who want to look realistic.
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