Hi! Here’s a satire piece on the astronomical Tur Dal prices in India, which appeared in Tweakonomics, my column in the Hindu Business Line today. You can read it at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/gross-dal-product/article7858501.ece or read it here directly! Comments/ views welcome, as usual! Enjoy!
Here’s the new tadka to the humble dal of economics: The government will now launch with immediate effect a new series called as the Gross Dal Product. There are a number of advantages to using this series over our regular and boring Gross Domestic Product. First, most people don’t understand what the regular GDP thingy stands for and cannot begin to imagine why Moody’s should be so sensitive to the damn thing. But the new Gross Dal Product is something close to everybody’s heart, or, at least, tummy.
The Gross Dal Product will measure how much dal was produced in the country and any reduction in the growth rate will now be able to make the most sweet-tempered homemakers Moody, to say the least. They may also make the “Standard” people, “Poor”. The Gross Dal Product will thus be able to popularise economics amongst all stakeholders in the society. The government will also be able to use the Gross Dal Product as a leading indicator for social unrest and political instability. The subsidy on the new LPG, i.e. Lentils, Pulses and Grams, will be introduced and counter-cyclically adjusted to the new GDP.
Then, there’s NDP
Together with the Gross Dal Product, we will also calculate the Net Dal Product, which is the produce that is left for the public after being hoarded by the traders and consumed by the rodents. The “Friends of Rodents” Society took objection on calling it the “Net” Dal Product, but wily economists convinced them that this has nothing to do with the nets used to capture the rats.
Dal will have to be bought through banking gateways so that all transactions on the new GDP remain traceable. Banks will issue ATM cards which will be the only way to buy Arhar, Tur and Moong dal online.
Aadhaar cards will be replaced by Oo-Dal cards and will track gastrometric prints of people together with their bio-metrics. The Oo-Dal cards will allow disadvantaged people to purchase dal by debiting their FDs and RDs: the Fixed Dal and Recurring Dal accounts. In Fixed Dal accounts, you can buy only one kind of dal throughout the year by debiting the bank account. In the Recurring Dal accounts, you will be allowed to access six different kinds of dals. It goes without saying that the interest rate on RDs will be lower since the consumer gets access to such amazing luxury.
The RBI has already issued guidelines to make SDRs, ie Special Dal Rights, the main asset backing for issuing new currency notes. Similarly, Dal Indexed Bonds have also been introduced.
Changes in the Gross Dal Product will automatically get reflected in the new CPI, the Chana Price Index. The Opposition has expressed dissent and has said that unless the Tur (Arhar) prices are factored in properly, the new CPI will keep cheating the public.
The government, however, is adamant that it has a reputation to keep and to allow CPI to reflect reality will be an insult to the indicator’s highly opaque history.
There is also a demand from the trade unions to launch a new DA, the Dal Allowance, which will be benchmarked to the new CPI, which will go up as soon as the new GDP goes down.
The Incredible India campaign is to be re-launched around Kashmir, featuring the Dal lake. Innocent tourists who’ve never seen the natural wonder lentils such as Arhar and Chana will be able to view the dals from a distance. What a scan”dal”!