With reference to “End of the road for ‘cheapest car’: Dealers stop placing orders for Tata Nano” (November 27), during the last 10 years, we have seen the exploitation of the common man and consumers as a class being converted into political propaganda ideas by politicians and business propositions by politicians and traders.
I look at India Against Corruption (IAC) and the emergence of Air Deccan and Tata Nano from this angle and feel convinced about the positive impact these had on the political scene and a radical change in manufacturers’ and consumers’ approach to costs and prices. All the three phenomena are bound to disappear, but the messages will linger on and influence politics and pricing patterns.
Till IAC used social media in a big way to expose corruption, we were taking corruption for granted and willing to live with it. Now, whatever may be the perception of those handling India’s governance pre-Kejriwal and pre-2014, “we the people” have woken up and raise voices against corrupt practices with a confidence that was unthinkable during the 20th century. Similarly, every ingredient in the price consumer pays is getting an online check.
Since the days Tata announced the proposal to sell a car at one lakh rupees, car buyers have started thinking about price as a factor in addition to “brand” names, look and “size”. Through the affordability concept, what G R Gopinath signalled was a competitive pricing of air travel factoring in reasonable costs and margins, reducing chances of cartelisation and monopoly in pricing. Beyond losses and gains to the individuals/corporates who participated in these experiments, the messages they sold to Indian citizens are invaluable.
M G Warrier Thiruvananthapuram
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