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Organized (Business) Crime in India

Posted by Neeraj Singh on January 22, 2011 at 7:05 AM

I am sure most of you would know the title very well but probably what you read now will not really be the literal sense of what your head is at. Keeping one devoid of his rightful earning is also a crime & if you do it in a structured & coherent way with knowledge of all known across industry, how can you not call it as a part of organized crime. Just that there are ways of doing it & the industries that we are talking of are quite closely knit hence less of "halla-gulla".


Lets take one by one:


1- I am a big Ravish Kumar's (NDTV) fan & never forget to see any of his 20 odd minutes documentaries on the un-sung India. What prompts me to see his domentaties are his simple audacity & ease with which he communicates the message. The one that I saw around 3-4 weeks back was on the organized exploitation (and I call it nothing less than organized crime by businessmen) of women within the Capital city of New Delhi. The industry is Retail. The work may look pretty petty but is of daily use either to men or women across India. Fixing up the Key chains, Indian women's "Shringar related items like Mala & Bindi", Broken glass related work & many other jobs. Of the overall population of Delhi, around 30 lac people live in the narrow lanes & Chawl like villages bordering Delhi. Typically women from these areas are the easy target for the Delhi businessmen. These businessmen make the women to work on a daily wage of 10 to 20 quids for almost 144 pieces that they make. Never knew that Mahatma Gandhi would become so dearer to the people in the modern India that people would be exploited so grossly. After working for atleast 10 hrs a day, these women earn around 1 or 2 rupees / hr. I am sure all those internet age people would give that much to their pets to eat or put it in the money jar of their kids. Can you really imagine the plight, I can't. I am sure many of us who would be reading this would also be very much a part of this chain itself but,


Kisi ne sahi kaha hai, philosophy jhadne main kisi ke baap ka kya jata hai. Paise kamane se matlab hai, chahe aise ya waise. Yeh wahi Dilli hai Jahan ek majboor aurat ne posh Connaught Place ke footpath par bachhe ko janam diya tha aur sare "Dil wallon" ki aankhon ke sammne is duniya ko alvida kah diya. Dil ka istemal nahin kar sakte to kam se kam dimaag ka istemal kiya hota, ek ambulance he mangwa di hoti.


2- Yeh zo doosri industry hai, isse main juda hua tha ek samay main. This is called as the hotel industry. Until I reached the second year of my 3 year diploma course, I never knew that this industry pays so less. Less to the extent that it doesn't even justify the investment that a student makes into learning thru this course. I was very excited that I would be going for a summer intern. Won't disclose the name of the hotel because it doesn't help the cause. You can possibly take it for any hotel around in India & believe me I am talking of BIG 5 Star categories. It was year 1999-2000. Hotel industry looks so awsome from outside but inside it are all those wilful things that happen. One amongst them is exploitation. I remember working for atleast (bare minimum) 12 hrs a day - All physical labour from start of the shift to the end of the shift. On occassions it would go upto 14-16 hrs. This typically happens during marriage season. By the end of the month I would get Rs 400 as stipend. This is what every Summer trainee used to get at that point in time. You can imagine that it is even lesser or equal to what the Delhi women are getting today.


In the name of summer training, hotels typically cash in on the almost free trainee manpower that they get thruout the year. Compulsion for the trainee is that if he doesn't do this, he will be failed in his course. Is this the cost that one has to pay to prove that he is efficient enough. I remember being told by the senior staff then, that you have to learn everything then only you can become a good manager. I am sorry to say but, I guess, you need to have the right aptitude to ask the right questions to become a good manager with the practical knowledge. I am not sure that to gain practical knowledge you literally have to slog. Not that the hotel industry doesn't understand it but they know all of the ways to wash your dreams if you dare to go against them. One negative report from the hotel training manager & your career will be ruined.


This Rs 400 business was then & probably it may have become RS 1000 now but then in relative terms it may still remain the same (onion prices are anyways soaring up) yet it is not justifiable for the amount of work that is done by the trainees. In the name of education, is it not a crime in itself. Believe me this is as un-organized as the first case that I have mentioned. Question is not about what you get by the end. I am fine that you don't give anything but then don't make them work like a labourer in the name of training.


3- Fashion world is third on my list. This is such an industry where everything looks hunky-dory. Nicely, seemingly scantily dressed women on the ramp on most of the occasions. This industry has always been marred by controversies. if I understand it correctly based on the versions that I have heard & believe me from the people who have worked into it, exploitation is in every nook & corner of this industry. If you are working in a company & have come up with a good product, it's the company that sells it in its name. Rightly so because company is a group name & is recognized by a full lot of people behind it & not just one person. What would you do if you are working for a person & he always takes the credit even for the smartest work that you do. You can't go on your own just because you don't have enough capital. Is that the price one has to pay even after possessing right skills. This is what Fashion industry is all about. Typically there is a team of fashion designers who work for another designer who has rich name & fame within the industry. While you get paid paltry as a normal employee but the famed designer for whom you work would make thousands & lacs on the designs that you create. It's all about tagging of name against a design rather the design itself. What else do you expect do you see as design in half bikini's & almost bare minimum clothes. I had always though that design could be created on clothes but what if the cloth size itself is like a design?


The women who walk the ramp. Comeon! they are just like the trainees as mentioned in second point above. From a designers perspective, he / she is giving you a chance to come & walk on the ramp. That itself is such a wondeful gift to you then why do you need the money. The designers literally indebt you by getting you the exposure. Moreover these models have to work thru agencies who act as middle men. Not sure why the hell in this world do we have them at the first place but ironically we have them. Middle men are not just in the Fashion industry rather they are also in the knowledge based industries. These practices are observed by those who call themselves as "Socially responsible" organizations.


In all of the three cases above, people work or are bound to work because they have to get into the market to find a place for themselves but do you look at the price that they have to pay to even get this exposure. First case is not even exposure. That is just a pure case of exploitation because of huge supply of un-skilled manpower in India. Exploiters are all filthy rich & form the Upper strata of the society. They are called businessmen who eventually run the governments. They are the ones who influence the policy decisions to suit their needs (Radia case was just one of them). Isn't it an Organized Crime?


Let know if you think differently or if you would like to add further to this growing Organized Crime.


Jai Ho

Uttishtha Bharat


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