Sir, mineral water or regular ?

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.

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One Comment

  1. good one shourya… all over the world people are fighting over the right to the natural resources (water, forest, land..). However corporation can sniff big money in the water wonder GE is investing heavily in water purification systems..

    per capita income is a little less i think. not sure why wikipedia is not very clear on the data..i did some search and found something..may be its more authentic as it came from CSO..

    “India’s per capita income, as per the revised estimates released by the Central Statistical Organisation on May 31, 2006, has been estimated at Rs 23,222 annually at current prices during the year 2004-05, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.”



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