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Thursday, November 30, 2023
HomeEditorialThe middle class has been badly affected by the price hike

The middle class has been badly affected by the price hike

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price hike, middle class, inflation, petrol prices, vada pav, poor people, middle class in cities, mumbai, cylinder, lpg gas, cng price hike, latest petrol price, diesel price
Image: AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

Mumbai has the provision of living for everyone. Poor people to prosperous elites all live here comfortably. But in the recent past due to price rises, everything has become costly. From public toilets usage rates to public transport. Earlier public toilets used to charge 5 rupees for one-time usage, now they charge ten rupees because maintenance cost has gone up.

Auto rides to private and public transport tickets have doubled their prices. High transaction costs are being fueled by rising petrol and diesel prices. Fuel prices have surged for the 14th time in the last 14 days, with petrol and diesel rates going up by Rs 10 per litre each in the past 16 days. The government doesn’t care about price rises, they only care about their political survival by stressing irrelevant subjects. They know they will get votes based on abhorrence. The government is running away from the dialogue on the price rise issue because they don’t have an answer to the current crisis and they don’t have a plan to tackle it.

Vada Pav, Bhajia Pav and Poha are stapled foods of Mumbaikar, most of the common man survives on street food. Due to the price rise, one Vada Pav which used to be ten rupees now the price is doubled. It is not reasonably priced to sell Vada Pav at the earlier rate anymore. The price of commercial cylinders has increased by around Rs 200 and vendors have to pay Rs 2,400 for each cylinder. Similarly, refined oil prices have also climbed from around Rs 1,400-Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,400. Chilli, potato. onion prices have gone up. So, street food also has become costly.

Pani Puri has gone up from 15 rupees per plate to 30 rupees per plate. Earlier 15 rupees we used to get six small Idlis now it’s gone up to 25 rupees.  The rate of oil and other groceries has gone up. The sugar and milk prices have gone so the cup of cutting tea is now 15 rupees.  Earlier each Vada Pav was for Rs 20 but now increased it to Rs 22. Similarly, samosa pav for Rs 23 as opposed to earlier Rs 20, and bhaji pav for Rs 22, up from Rs 20. The price of sunflower oil is up by 40 per cent while Palm Olein Oil and Soya Bean oil prices rose by around 30-40 per cent. Most people who sell fast food in the city use Palm Olein Oil, which used to be priced at Rs 60-65 per litre but now costs Rs 150-160.”

With another hike of Rs 2.5 per kg, the price of CNG (compressed natural gas) has cumulatively increased by Rs 9.10 per kg in the last six days. CNG now costs Rs 69.11 per kg in the national capital Delhi. Prices of several essential items are on rising and it is hurting the common man the most. Soaring prices of cars, cement, fuel, and housing are also adding to people’s woes.

On the other hand, the price of beans, which is a staple vegetable in the Indian kitchens, has touched Rs 120 per kg. Cauliflower, which was being sold for Rs 40 a kg a month ago, now costs double the rate, at Rs 80 per kg. The rates of the most cheap snacks available in the city—Vada Pav, Bhaji Pav and Samosa Pav—have increased by Rs 2 to Rs 5 in view of the hike in rates of edible oils and commercial cylinders due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Sellers said they cannot continue to sell at the earlier price anymore and added the prices of other ingredients.

If Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the health front, the rise and the resulting hike in prices of essential commodities in the face of salary cuts and job losses have dealt a double blow for the common man, especially those from the middle and lower-middle income groups and below poverty line (BPL) sections of society.

The price hike is compelling people to shrink diets and reduce the use of daily essentials at a time when robust nutrition should be the priority to boost immunity in the light of the current pandemic. A daily wager’s family earns up to Rs 10,000-12,000 a month and their monthly expenses would be Rs 3,000-4,000 even after getting a PDS ration. But now they have to spend about Rs 7,000 and many are struggling to eke out a living, with no savings. Last year, dal was Rs 90 per kg and now the price jumped to Rs 170-plus, based on quality. As fuel prices increased, other items have also become more expensive.

Those from underprivileged sections, who normally consume boiled rice, are opting for lower quality rice through the public distribution system. For most BPL families, survival has become a challenge due to the hike in prices of essential commodities. children’s education and medical expenses, basic needs everything has gone up. The middle class has been badly affected by the price hike. Farmers are not benefiting from the price hike and neither are customers. It looks like only the government and agents are benefiting from it.

A survey released by SNEHA, a non-profit working in the field of malnourishment across the slums of Mumbai, shows over 83 per cent of infants, aged six months to 23 months, in these areas are consuming unhealthy, low-cost food. The cross-sectional survey, released on World Health Day this year, was carried out in Mankhurd, Wadala and Dharavi slum areas with a sample size of 1,562. It reveals that the foods commonly consumed by infants include wafers, Vada Pav, fried foods, Chinese Bhel, Toast, Butter, Khari, instant noodles and sugary foods, which are available at affordable prices. More than half the toddlers—52 per cent in Wadala, 61 per cent in Dharavi and 69 per cent in Mankhurd—did not consume fruits and vegetables and now junk food is also not reasonable.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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