Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Andy Mukherjee

7-Cent Biscuits Are Too Pricey for Indian Workers

When consumers can’t afford snacks, something is wrong. Cheap credit can help solve the problem of suppressed wages.

A structural problem.

A structural problem.

Photographer: SCOTT EELLS/Bloomberg

When snack makers start to lament that Indians can’t afford to spend 5 rupees (7 cents) on biscuits, it’s time to stop arguing over how much of the nation’s slowdown is cyclical and what part is structural.

Considering its glaring income, wealth and consumption inequalities, India is a surprisingly calm society. However, when purchasing power dries up to the extent that rural laborers and urban blue-collar workers have to think twice about cheap munchies, then the situation is desperate. The culprit is deep-rooted wage suppression, a long-term issue that needs attention.