The writer is a former government official and currently a corporate economic adviser based in Mumbai. Being a consumer right enthusiast, he is also associated with a venture called - The Smart Consumer – that seeks to highlight actual customer experiences with India’s popular service providers such as airlines, banks, finance and insurance companies, food services, real estate developers, taxis & travel agencies, and online and offline retailers among others. The writer also has keen interest in food & health issues, workplaces, changing job markets, quality of public services and ethical business practices by corporates in general. The views are always personal.
The practice of taking dowry has long been declared a criminal offence. Yet, it shows no signs of abating even in educated families, with the bride’s side continuing to bestow it in the form of cash, gold, luxury cars, apartments and so on to the groom’s eager family. Why is this? Is there any economics behind it? Is dowry like a scarcity rent? Does the relative bargaining position of women vis-à-vis men affect a woman's ability to find her preferred match?
In the race to out-compete rival cab companies, cheap fares and freebies are relied on to hook passengers, and generous monetary incentives to lure drivers. However, serving customers well -- repeatedly and consistently over a longer period -- is the key to survive in any business. Technology can help but it can't be a substitute for quality service.
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that India has been termed as the world's worst food safety violator by Food Sentry, a global food sourcing monitoring agency. The Maggie contamination row is just the tip of the iceberg, and packaged (junk) food items should not be our only concern.