Friday, December 30, 2011

>INDIA'S ECONOMY: Doing business in Dharavi

We visited Mumbai’s Dharavi Slum on Boxing Day, gaining a peek into this city within a city. We were moved by the scenes of daily life that we encountered but were most surprised by the sophistication of Dharavi’s economy. As a single data point in India’s informal economy, the recycling, textiles and leather businesses that we saw were vibrant enterprises and had developed sophisticated links with the wider economy.

One of Mumbai’s largest slums
 Dharavi encompasses a 1.7km2 area and is home to an estimated one million residents
 Its residents face a daily challenge from their impoverished conditions

Sophisticated businesses
 Dharavi supports a strong economy, producing ~US$600 million of goods each year
 We visited local recycling, textiles and leather businesses and were surprised by their sophistication

Sophisticated consumers
 Even in the midst of poverty, we still saw evidence of growing consumerism
 We were struck by the number of smartphones in use, satellite TV dishes on the rooftops and motorcycles on the streets

Seeing is believing
 We recognise that Dharavi is just one slum of many and may not be representative
 Still, Dharavi provides a fascinating insight into India’s informal economy and refutes the idea that the informal economy must be stagnant and backward
 We recommend investors contact Reality Tours & Travel to see Dharavi with their own eyes (contact details provided inside)

To read the full report: India's Economy