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Showing posts from February, 2014

India's Tryst with Change

If we comb through all the households in India, and dig out the 2s, 5s, 10s and 50s, we may be able to arrive at a potential rationale. But for the longest time for unknown reasons, there has been an apparent crisis of change in India. And no I don’t mean change in the RaGa ‘system’ sense :) I am referring to loose change (or ‘chhuta’).
In general, we Indians collectively have a (justified) level of distrust for transactions.  And one manifestation of this is in the barter of loose change. The scale has changed over time (from Rs 1s to Rs10 or Rs50s now), but the premise remains the same – ‘I don’t have change with me. You please provide the requisite change to complete the transaction’. Lack of change leads to friction in every transaction – leading to delays (modern retail), stress (toll booths), arguments (autos) and embarrassment (airlines). This can be distilled into this simple cycle:

Cycle of distrust: Nobody wants to let go of their change!
This behavious is something chronic and…