Thought for food: Coco(a) Bonds and Dosa Economics!

Dear Reader,

This article appeared in the Hindu Business Line in my column “Tweakonomics”. You may want to read it directly at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/thought-for-food/article8272473.ece.

Else, read it here…Enjoy!

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Economics just became a whole lot more edible this week. It all started rather unexpectedly, with a student asking the RBI governor why dosas have become more expensive despite the disinflation phenomenon in India. Pat came the answer.

It’s not the dosa, stupid. It’s the tawa! It’s the tawa that has retained its price and reluctance to change the tawa technology has cost us, dear. Pun intended. And it doesn’t quite end there, does it? The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the earth. And the hand that rules the ladle, rules the worth.

Simple! Labour prices have skyrocketed, so much so that they nullify the reductions we get from ingredients. Ahem, not that we are getting too many reductions from those ingredients there. Important to note that the dosa is primarily made from urad dal, after all.

The statement from the Guv created quite a furore. The RBI has issued a new guideline saying that all future governors should necessarily be good cooks and have to know all ingredients going into major food dishes. The Bhumata Ranragini Brigade is now actively considering marching into the inner sanctum of the RBI saying they always knew that women would make better governors.

The RBI has launched a new Big Dosa Index to counter the very popular Big Mac Index as the Indian contribution to quick-fix inflation gauges. The CSO, ruffled at being sidelined, cleverly pointed out that since dosas are only sold on retail, the BDI can only be seen to be a quick gauge of CPI movements and is hence, an incomplete index. The RBI reacted sharply by also announcing the creation of a Tawa-Index to understand wholesale price movements.

Startup India has announced a new VC funding line to whoever gets new technology for creating dosas. It’s expected that support to this line of credit will be declared in the upcoming Budget through the Tawa Hatao, Dosa Bachao Yojana.

Commercial banks now know what it takes to reduce their NPAs. Risk rating on the over-the-counter food service business units has gone down drastically since they are seen to be the only guys who can continue to charge high and make high profits, no matter what the inflation numbers. The new base rate or PLR will be termed the DLR, the Dosa Lending Rate.

On a more international front, Deutche Bank made headlines with its coco(a) bonds ratings taking a beating from S&P. “Their standard is very poor,” said an RBI spokesperson. “We always knew that this cocoa business is very risky. Had they listened properly to the Hon Governor, they would have issued Dosa bonds. That is the only way ahead.” The Chinese are also thinking of replacing Dim Sum Bonds, which have in letter and spirit become Dim Sum since the devaluation, with Dosa bonds.

In the meanwhile, the FM was fairly terrorised when he was asked to host the halwa ceremony. Despite the fact that no student interaction was allowed at all, he made sure that he knew the halwa recipe by heart before meeting the media. For good measure, he also learnt the prices of rawa, sugar and ghee, all by heart.

Rumour is that after getting to know the phenomenal prices of ghee and dry fruits, he wants to create a halwa cess to fund such colossal expense programmes. It is estimated that this single move will move the fiscal deficit from 3.9 per cent to the magic number 3.6 per cent. The RBI governor is happy. Dosas sure work!

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