Rising Urban Middle Class – the Target

One important observation I have made from the speeches or the writings of both the right wing – saffron side [Modi Team] and the left wing- red and somewhat pinkish side [Cong,JDU+ Team] is that they have something in common to convey to the people of this country . They are united in saying that (a) There is an increase in the young population of this country and (b) the rising urban middle class.

An interesting data reported about middle class population of this country is worth noting. It says, in 1995, the middle class population was 2.7 Crores and now it is 16.70 Crores; expected to rise to 27 Crores in 2015. The middle class is defined as the person who earns anywhere between Rs.20,000 and Rs.1,00,000 income per month.

Another interesting fact is about the youth of this country. The youth population happens to constitute over 50% of Indians; highest in the world

Yet another fact is that the current urban population is 26% and in another decade or so it will rise to over 50%.

Whether the above information is correct or not, I have no idea. But going by what is happening around the country, I am reasonably convinced about the facts. My belief only gets stronger when I see how the urban middle class is the centre of focus in the recent past, for example, the middle class is the Target audience for media, Target customers for white goods and real estate, Target voters for political outfits and the last, but not the least, The Target of thieves, dacoits, anti-social elements. 

I am sure you agree with me that the comfort level of living goes hand in hand with the fear. The urban middle class, with the kind of income mentioned above, has money for all basic comforts. They are in a state of decent living, cooling their heels in the beaches of Caribbean seas, if not at Goa or Kochi. They have enough to spend on branded cloths, pizzas and good birthday shows! They hang around in 4 -5 star hotels and restaurants. Trust me, this very comfort of middle class brings enormous fear of living. They all have nuclear families with a child or two. They want their comforts to last till their last breath. This section of the society is not interested to fight on the street for any social cause or get into any controversies.

The Urban middle class is living literally in Cages. The fear of living coupled with criminal public incidents make this class to build Cages in Cages.

Look at an example, the houses are built and to protect them compound is constructed around it. Above the compound wall, fix glass pieces or wired mesh. Still the fear won’t go, so hire security guards. When security guards become hand-in glove with the thieves, resort to fixing CCTV cameras. When this is not sufficient, then fix video caller facility at the main door of the house. You may call it as hi-tech sophistication but the matter of fact is that it comes from an absolute fear, the fear of losing the comforts.

Sadly, the Neta’s and Babu’s  who are responsible for making the rules have not acted seriously by amending or changing the laws or rules which may suit the requirements and needs of middle class, except appeasing this section, occasionally. For that matter, even Courts have not taken it with greater cognizance.

The other day, there was a murder in a Car and the car was fitted with dark sun films on its windows. So, the Court said that no car is to be fitted with Sun films.

Quite recently, as you all know, there was an Attempt to Murder [ATM] at one of the ATM’s in Bangalore, and the response from the people at the helm of affairs – the babus and netha’swas not encouraging. They dealt with this case on a firefighting and quick fix, short sighted approach. More disturbing was the way our people responded from various quarters, some of them are –

  • Why we need so many ATMs in place? Why can’t we close some of them?
  • All ATMs should house a guard within 3 days and if not, they have to be closed with immediate effect.
  • Why should ATMs have shutters?
  • Why can’t you enable a system that disables the closure of the shutters?
  • Why can’t ATMs be kept in a more visible way, say, without any doors and windows
  • Why people go to ATM so early or so late in the day?

Do you agree that the above responsesarecoming from rationale thinking? Why we think like this? If you have a running nose, you advise to cut the nose?

When such incidents happen, the “rulers” of this country alone are not to blame.Even we the people at large also respond in haste. The disgusting part is that we simply immerse in our day to day work and enjoyment, leaving a very   short memory of public events. Thus, all thieves and anti-social elements have had a merry time in the last several decades.

Coming back to ATM incident, till now the culprit is not traced and my worry is that even if he is traced, what will happen? The moment he is jailed, (a) human rights commission orunhuman wrongs commission or some other outfit like this will fight for him (b) people from his community or religion will back him and get a bail for him. As the public memory fades, he gets a bail and walks away.

In short, the significance of urban middle class resurgence on the scale being speculated can’t be underestimated. Except the policy makers, other stakeholders have caught this point, for example, the corporates are focusing on manufacturing and selling products which interests the middle class, so are the thieves; they want their share in the modest earnings of middle class 

So, in the changed scenario of rising middle class, the aspirations, needs and requirements of this section of the society is to be addressed by the governments. In fact, this class of the society won’t demand anything extraordinary, they won’t ask for any subsidies or freebies. They just expect good infrastructure such as water, power and roads. Most importantly, they expect a safe and secure socio-public place to live.

Safety and security can’t be given by knee jerk reactions or by taking quick fix steps such as guarding ATMs, closing ATMs or removing the sun films, etc 

In my view, this country requires two major reforms on fast track basisand the reforms are

  • Quick Judgment – Justice delayed is justice denied, is an age old saying. It is true even now. We should have a special court to exclusively deal with murders, attempt to murders and extortions, drink and drive, etc. This court should be at one and final level and once the verdict is pronounced, there should not be any appeal provisions left. For example, in this instant case, if he is traced, he has to be tried in the court and pronounce the verdict before January 2014.
  • Severe Punishment – Once he is convicted, he has to be punished and in this case, nothing short of death sentence.

Until and unless we have the above two things in place, common man or the so called Middle Class of this country will continue to suffer and become the victims of anti social elements. Can the above Game changing Reforms be done? If you ask me or the millions of middle class people of this country, the answer will be ‘YES’. However, what matters is the voice of English Speaking Elite Intellectual Class [ESIC] who may say that in democracy this can’t be done or that can’t be implemented!

We the people, the rising middle class are living a very unsafe condition in cities; as the days go by the fear will only multiply. Let the law makers hear the inner voice of rising middle class

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About B E Kumar Prasad

B E Kumar Prasad
He is a Practicing Chartered Accountant in Bengaluru, India. He has 25+ years of experience in income tax, business setup, and NRI matters. He is also an Insolvency Professional and Registered Valuer (F&SA).Prasad welcomes your comments and questions. Please email him at simplifiedlaws20@gmail.com

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