A tale of a middle-class family’s rising household expenses coupled with reduced wages – Rising prices | The Economic Times
According to a report by TOI’s Ashutosh Shukla, Ramesh Gupta is a marketing executive with an automobile company. During the lockdown, his salary was reduced by 30 percent, which has not been restored yet. But, in the meanwhile, his household expenses, particularly money spent on buying essential goods — grocery, fruits & vegetables and, of course, LPG — has gone up in the same ratio or even more.
Gupta and his family of 7 have been struggling to cut his household expenses, but with little success as the Covid pandemic has only added to the household budget in the form of more vegetables, more fruits, more protein-rich grocery and of course, sanitiser, which one year after the pandemic broke out, is still selling for Rs 600 a litre and masks — a reasonably good mask is priced at Rs 40 to Rs 50 per mask.
“Where do you cut the expenses? Children and the elderly have to be taken special care of in the times of pandemic. I have a touring job, so I, too, have to be cautious. School fee of over Rs 75,000 is one of the biggest burdens,” said Ramesh. His wife Sarika has a more minute understanding of how the household expenses have gone up over the past few months, particularly after the lockdown was lifted in phases. “Prices of edible oil are going through the roof. Pulses are selling for more than Rs 100 a kg. Even a tea pack is priced at Rs 100 more than what it used to be till October. The price of wheat flour and rice are also high. I don’t know if it’s going to go up further, but the budget of my kitchen is going out of my hands. In fact, the price control mechanism has broken down in the country following the lockdown,” she said.
Higher than pre-lockdown
General secretary of Bhopal Kirana Vyapari Mahasangh, Anupam Agrawal, said, “Prices of grocery items, which started going up after the lockdown, never came down. Everything from edible oil to pulses to spices, rice, wheat flour, tea or any other thing is selling 20 to 35 percent higher than the pre-lockdown period.”
Festivals and weddings
He further said that the prices are only expected to go up further as the festival season is round the corner and then, there will be the marriage season. “Shivratri, Holi, Ramzan, Eid and then marriage season. Prices are only expected to go up in future,” he said.