The Great Indian Dream, Urbanization and Indian Consumption Story – 2

(Image used for illustrative purpose only)
It is said that movies are a reflection of a society. If it is true, then Bollywood has done a great job. Mother India, Sholay, Deewaar, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Bunty Aur Bubli, etc. have reflected the mood of the society at those times. The mood to work hard, break the shackles of poverty, ignorance, etc. The mood to fight social evils. One of the underlying themes in all these stories was that urban life is better than rural life. Not getting into the political correctness of the statement, all macro data confirms that India has urbanized herself very rapidly during last few decades! Wonder if real life has imitated reel life also.

Infact, one report says that there will be over 590 million (over 40%) living in urban India by 2030. That is, over 250 million people added in next 12 years from 340 million or over 31% of population currently. It is also said that the GDP contribution of Mumbai Metropolitan Region will be more that the GDP of countries like Malaysia in little over a decade! All macro numbers are astounding, and I can go on rattling the same. But that is not the idea here. The idea is to capture the human angle in this great story of human migration and its impact on nation’s economy.

Two cases come to mind. Both women. One, a maid who was married off to Mumbai to avoid death due to destitution at her village. In Mumbai, she stayed in slums, understood the relevance of educating her children and worked hard. Lady luck smiled, and her slums redeveloped, and she got an apartment in the bargain. Today, as a single lady (husband died about 5 years ago), she has both her children happily married and stays in a house worth nearly Rs. 50 lakhs. She still works as a maid but possesses almost every gadget of material convenience that her bosses have. The second case is equally intriguing. A poor girl educates herself to be a software engineer, gets a job in a global company and improves life of everyone back home. Helps parents in marrying off her siblings and also build a decent house. Both women have deep rooted attachment to their villages. Both are clear that they would go back to their village after retirement. There are millions of such stories around us. They have far-reaching impact on the economic growth of India. They have migration to urban India at the core of their success!

The issues of sustainable living, urban infrastructure, imbalances caused in social ecosystem, etc. are real and indeed keeping India’s planners busy. But money earned by these migrants wound be saved, invested or spent. Imagine the impact on sale of two wheelers, FMCG goods, fashion wear, broadband, brown goods, travel, insurance, etc. when the 250 million Indians join the urban mainstream in next 12 years. They will not only save, invest or spend on themselves, but also for their loved ones back ‘home’ in their villages impacting both urban and rural economies. These is no theme more attractive than Indian Consumption Story among investment advisors and stock markets today!