PM Modi’s comments about the informal economy in a Zee News interview set off a huge debate around pakodas recently.“If someone opens a ‘pakoda’ shop in front of your office, does that not count at employment’ The person’s daily earning of Rs 200 will never come into any books or accounts. The truth is massive people are being employed,” PM Modi had said on job creation.This led to some rather unfortunate and classists comments about pakoda sellers and vendors in general and even went as far as to compare selling pakodas to begging.Also readIf selling ‘pakodas’ is job, by that logic, even begging is a job: Chidambaram slams PM Modi on job creationTaking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saying a ‘pakoda’ seller earning Rs 200 a day should also be considered employed, Chidambaram had earlier tweeted, “Even selling pakodas is a ‘job’, said PM. By that logic, even begging is a job. Let’s count poor or disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as ’employed’ people”. The comment drew castigation from the BJP, which characterised his jibe as an “insult to the poor”While the comment might have been made off-the-cuff it was ill-timed and uncalled for, given that even those working in the informal sector have basic rights and more than willing to put their foot forward when the nation needs them.Also readLike ‘One Nation, One Tax’, ‘One Nation, One Election’ is jumla: P ChidambaramAmong them is Mangesh Ahilwale, a vada pav seller who has come forward to help in times of needs.In 2015, Ahiwale donated Rs. 20,000 to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for farmers in drought-hit Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. He repeated the humanitarian gesture last year for a family of Elphinstone Stampede victims.He is doing it again on Wednesday and has promised to donateThis time he pledged to give his one-day earnings to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the welfare of soldiers.As part of his charitable decision, Ahiwale sold vada pav at more than 60 per cent cheaper rate on Tuesday, so that everyone could have it.So, instead of selling each of them at Rs 14, he sold it for Rs 5 only.‘This is just a small initiative so that people respect our soldiers. The amount is Rs. 5, because I want that even a poor man is able to buy a vada pav. The whole collection will be sent to Nirmala Sitharaman,’ Ahiwale told ANI here and promised to send it by Wednesday.He said he took this initiative after he realised that people were remembering soldiers only on January 26 and August 15.‘Every Indian respects the soldiers of the nation and I am also one of them. Except on January 26 and August 15, the remembrance for these soldiers is diminishing. This is just a small initiative so that people respect them every day,’ he added.(With inputs from agencies)

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As P Chidambaram compares selling pakodas to begging, Mumbai vada pav seller donates day’s earnings to Army