The first question the waiter asks you at any table inside a Bangalore restaurant, “Sir mineral water or regular?” A tacit implication is thrown at you — are you going to risk your health for a paltry few bucks more ? A simple choice becomes an indicator of your preferences and beliefs. Your social stature.
The cost of a bottle of mineral water is not exactly cheap, its about Rs. 40 (approx $1) and add the 12.5% VAT, its about Rs 45. A simple back of the envelope calculation reveals:
India nominal per-capita income = $885 (source)
Per day income per-capita = $885/365 = $2.4
Per day income per-capita in Rs = $2.4 * 40.5 = Rs 97.2
So a damn bottle of potable water costs about 50% of my country’s per-capita daily income. Fifty fishing percent.
The other implication is even scarier. Does the restaurant mean to say that they do not offer safe drinking water on tap ? “Umm, if you do not take the mineral water bottle, we do not guarantee you a healthy tummy.”
Look at the other side. PepsiCo, under public pressure, had to reveal, to major embarrassment that their Aquafina brand comes from…… yep you got it right …. tap water.
You can also view the CAI report.