Next in our series, we will hear from Operations Manager Pravin Singh who, like Sumit, has worked with SMV from its early stages. Pravin will tell us about one of SMV’s special clients and explain how improving this life will affect others.
Meet Mo Jameel
Forty-five year-old Mo Jameel is a rickshaw puller; his day begins at seven in the morning when he sets off from his home peddling a cycle rickshaw to his workplace.
His workplace is a cycle rickshaw stand where he has been a regular for 15 years. With the tring tring of his rickshaw bell, he tries to attract the attention of potential customers and happily peddles them off to their destinations. After a gruelling day, which ends at about eight at night , he manages to earn about Rs. 250, or Rs. 300 if he is lucky, of which he pays 35 as the rent for the cycle rickshaw. At the end of month, he saves a meagre Rs. 4800 with which he looks after his eight-member family back home in the Ajamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh.
Pulling the cycle rickshaw is not his only job. So while Mo Jameel pulls a rickshaw for eight months a year, the rest of the time he spends working as an agricultural or construction labourer. He is just one of the multitudes of migrant workers who throng to the metros in search of work during the off agricultural season. Due to the lack of skills and identification, these migrant workers often end up joining the unorganized workforce doing petty jobs like pulling rickshaws, roadside vending, or working construction. This story focuses on the rickshaw business in India that thrives on people like Mo Jameel.
Now Mo Jameel is SMV customer and also very happy with family. Now he is living with family permanently in Varanasi.
The Cycle Rickshaw Industry
The rickshaw industry in India is highly unorganized. Though no exact market size of the industry is available, a conservative estimate puts the number of cycle rickshaws in India at 10 million, including both the passenger rickshaws and the peddle carts used to carry goods. Of this, the capacity utilization at any given point of time is estimated to be around 65-70 percent, which means seven million cycle rickshaws are operational at any given point of time in India.
Cycle rickshaws are a popular mode of transport not only in smaller towns and cities but also in large metropolitan cities like Chennai and Delhi. Cycle rickshaws as a mode of transport is especially common in ten states in India, such as Bihar, UP, MP, Delhi NCR, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Punjab, some parts of Maharashtra and so on. Most of the rickshaw pullers are migrant workers, of which nearly 70 percent are from Bihar, followed by 30 percent from UP, and the remaining 10 percent are from Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan, and other states. Though it was predicted that the increasing popularity of mall-culture and modernization of the transport system, such as the introduction of the Metro, would ring a death knell for this industry, the cycle rickshaw business has grown at a healthy rate of 10 percent. “There are several reasons why the rickshaws are gaining popularity as a mode of transport. Cycle rickshaws are eco-friendly and are used for ferrying passengers and goods for short distances. The increase in the number of malls and Metro has increased the mobility of people thus giving a boost to the sector,” explains Naveen Krishna Founder and Managing Director of SMV Wheels Pvt limited that aims to organize the highly fragmented cycle rickshaw industry.
Changing the industry, changing driver lifestyle
SMV brings dignity through ownership. Mo Jameel is a good customer; he always pays his instalments regularly—or even before they are due! His lifestyle has changed so much because of SMV. Now he drives the rickshaw full time and stays in Varanasi with his family instead of commuting/migrating. He has finished payments for his rickshaw, he has now purchased a trolley, and his son is now paying for a rickshaw with SMV. He and his family feel good about their jobs and the increased income they have.
By helping Mo Jameel and others like him, SMV is working to improve the cycle rickshaw industry in India. Although we are in one city right now, we will expand to other places, and help other rickshaw drivers. The easy repayments, access to legal licenses, and field collections make rickshaw ownership a convenient and helpful way to increase their income. Working with SMV helps unify rickshaw drivers. We can’t change rickshaw drivers, but we can change their lifestyle for the better.
I look forward to seeing more customers like Mo Jameel improve their lives by working with SMV.
Why I work in this industry for clients like Mo Jameel.
Pravin is the Operations Manager. He has five years’ experience working with rickshaw drivers as a project coordinator through the Centre for Rural Development (CRD) and Network of Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (NEED.) He received a Master of Business Administration from Punjab Technical University in Jalandhar and a both a Master of Arts in Population Education and Rural Development and a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Lucknow. Pravin likes to cook non-veg, visit his daughter Tuk Tuk in Ghazipur, and play cricket (and watch cricket...anything with cricket!)