A small rally of people moves through the Tikri protest site near New Delhi. With protests sites running for miles, smaller rallies emerge through the day and move around chanting slogans such as, “Kissan-Mazdoor Ekta Zindabad, (Long Live Farmer-Worker Unity’).” Photo ©Jaspreet Kalra

For the first time since coming into power, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is facing a stalemate.

Farmer groups have camped out on Delhi’s borders since late November and have been demanding withdrawal of three new agricultural reform laws passed by parliament in September last year.

While the Modi-led BJP government has repeatedly argued that these reforms will bring in private investment and help overhaul slow growth, agitating farmers assert that they will instead strip state protections and price guarantees which guard slim profit margins in the sector.

Led by farmers mainly hailing from the bread-basket states of Punjab…

Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. (Photo: Jaspreet Kalra)

On most Monday mornings at 9:45, twenty-five female business owners from Harlem, New York get together in a conference room at the Grameen America office on 125th Street for their weekly meeting.

Seated around pale white tables in a room with windows on one side and frosted glass walls on the other, all of the women have received small loans from Grameen America. A non-profit charity which provides loans starting at $2,000, the micro-lender aims to help low income female entrepreneurs who wish to start or expand a small business. …

Tina Raveneau has been driving a ride share cab for over two years. She rents a Hyundai Elantra
from Buggy TLC Rentals in Brooklyn for $450 a week. Photo ©Jaspreet Kalra

When Tina Raveneau started driving for Uber in July 2017, she thought she had it all figured out. As a single mother, she needed a job with flexible hours so she could devote time to her son. Uber was promising just that; the flexibility of working when she wanted and the advertised promise of $1700 a week in take-home pay. So Raveneau quit her job as a store manager and started driving. She planned to rent a car first and then save up, so she could eventually buy one for herself.

Two years down the line, Uber’s promises have proved…

A BP gas station’s restroom on 10th Avenue and 36th Street is frequented by e-hail drivers but most continue to use bottles or cups to urinate in. Photo ©Jaspreet Kalra

Noah Forman, an Uber driver, urinates into his used coffee cups. Why? Because stopping to use the restroom could mean losing an hour’s worth of fares.

Forman works 8-to-10-hour shifts, but he only stops to use the restroom once. In the night, he looks for a “safe” spot, usually near a fire hydrant or a dark alley, and relieves himself in a used coffee cup or a disposable bottle.

Most Uber and other e-hail drivers in the city resort to using coffee cups or disposable bottles to urinate. All 15 of the drivers interviewed for this story said that they…

Rideshare drivers protest against lock-outs by e-hail companies in front of the TLC office in Long Island City on October 10, 2019. Photo ©Jaspreet Kalra

In a sharp response to new city regulations meant to rein in e-hail companies, Uber has told drivers that it will start locking them out of their apps if they are in an area without enough “rider demand.”

Uber said this was in response to the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s minimum payment standard for drivers and the body’s push to limit the number of empty cabs on the road.

Angered by Uber’s announcement, drivers organized a protest on the morning of September 17. Over a thousand drivers formed a caravan and halted rush hour traffic on Brooklyn Bridge and FDR…

Winston Williams, 59, drives a dollar van on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York City. Photo ©Jaspreet Kalra

Driving down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn in his 2000 Ford E-450 shuttle bus one recent afternoon, Winston Williams spotted a woman near the Barclays Center waving him down. He pulled his shuttle bus up to the sidewalk, opened the door, and let her in. The woman took a seat, and Williams pulled back out into traffic.

Williams was born in Jamaica and came to New York when he was 12. He began driving a commuter van (or “dollar van”) on Flatbush, home to the under-performing B41 bus, in 1995. …

Jaspreet Singh Kalra

Business, Econ Journalist.

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