The Aarogya Setu app has an interesting feature – it tells you how many other people have tested +ve in a rolling 28 day period around you at radii of 500 metres, 1 kilometre, 2 kilometres, 5 kilometres and 10 kilometres. What good this information does, beyond scaring those of us living in larger cities with high population densities, is not known. But here’s an interesting observation – if you live in a crowded coastal city, then the typical inland relationship between 500 metres and 10 kms radius gets hugely skewed downwards as compared to a non-coastal city.
See, typically, in a coastal city, after 2 or 5 kms, there is nobody living in the water, so there are no COVID+ve people there. The over 10kms radius number compared to the 500 metres radius and 1 km radius is hugely skewed when you compare, say, Delhi with Mumbai. And that’s one reason why Mumbai’s COVID+ve numbers are so much better than Delhi’s. But that’s not the point here.
The point here is to compare how Corporate NPAs and farmer subsidies are projected.
A light conversation with an ex-banker of some standing brought in an interesting factoid. He called it the Hypothesis of Twos.
- At an NPA of 20,000 crore or more, your complete family was safe for 2 generations, globally, regardless.
- At an NPA of 2,000 crores and up to 20,000 crores, your complete family was safe for the next generation, globally, as long as they kept quiet.
- At an NPA of 200 crores and up to 2,000 crores, you were safe if you parked your money properly somewhere abroad, but not with your own family.
- At an NPA of 20 to 200 crores, the bank manager’s family was safe and you would probably be in trouble if you did not die first
- At an NPA of 2 crores to 20 crores you would lose your house and the bankers would come after you like there was no tomorrow.
- At an NPA of below 2 crores to 20 lakhs you could retain your house but monthly EMIs to banker would be required
- At an NPA of below 20 lakhs you would be arrested and drummers would announce your name to the world.
- At an NPA of below 2 lakhs, you were advised to contact the ATM Guard and settle issues, or run away.
The magic numbers start for you after 200 crores worth of NPAs. Very few farmers can reach that unless they are like certain daughters in Mumbai and son-in-laws in Delhi.
The farmer sees this day in and day out, especially in agrarian States where the industrial revolution happens cheek by jowl, and wonders – how do I jump into this bandwagon? All he gets, instead, is mandi games. Per person, he probably never crosses the 2 crore NPA equivalent number, and if and when he does, he emigrates.
The working middle-class has it worse. They are surrounded by crimes that they have committed and therefore keep their mouth shut. Now they are also constantly pushed into debt to buy stuff they really don’t need. Pay the EMI on that car or repair the burnt-out clutch? The middle class, all 250-500 crores of them in India, will never manage an NPA or a farmer subsidy. In addition, they will live a life, terrorised by fear of laws having been broken that they did not even know about.
Here is a small list of why the urban middle-class is so terrified in India, more terrified in India than any middle-class anywhere else. Feel free to add please?
- Built an extra room or bathroom or store or servant’s quarter? Or planted something on the pavement outside?
- Kept a goat as a pet to eat later on, instead of a dog who you cannot eat? What about the dog’s licence?
- Watered potted plants? You breeder of mosquitoes, never mind the open sewer in front of your house full of stagnant liquids.
- Did not close out the LPG cooking gas connection in your late grandmother’s name because receipt can not be found and subsidy kept going somewhere?
- PUC for the car / scooter / bike is invalid, or diesel car is more than 10 years old, and parked on public street? Tyre tread depth also.
- Did not wear a mask, did not display Fastag, did not show deference to the Law when extorted? Public servant lecture follows.
- Title to land you bought to build a house sold by munceepaltee has failed some new environmental regulation? And partition done last generation has been reversed due to amendment in Act.
- Have a tree in front of your house whose branches you trimmed and now your neighbour has a video of that? This one is real hell.
- Did not marry the girl or boy you were romancing even though he/she made all the moves for a one-night-stand? And he/she also took the t-shirt or hand-towel you dried yourself with for DNA test.
So, big question here is this – why are we so upset about farm protesters being provided with Pizza Langar?
Veeresh Malik was a seafarer. And a lot more besides. A decade in facial biometrics, which took him into the world of finance, gaming, preventive defence and money laundering before the subliminal mind management technology blew his brains out. His romance with the media endures since 1994, duly responded by Outlook, among others.