Govt Claims Of Economic Growth Do Not Reflect In My Kitchen
Amandeep Kaur, a Chandigarh-based teacher, says there is a reason why farmers and job-seekers have been protesting every now and then across the country
I do not know of any sarkari data on the country’s economy or RBI projections for the future. I can only speak about the day-to-day realities that I face in running my household. My daily data revolves around the prices of gas cylinder, cooking oil, rice and milk etc., all of which are at an unprecedented high level. Never before in my life have I found managing the kitchen such a challenging task. All the essential commodities have gone out of reach of the common man. And I do not foresee any relief in future either.
Survival for a poor or low-income family is tougher. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Farm income has fallen. It is not a coincidence that the farmers and young job-seekers are continuously protesting against the policies of the government, in various states. They have been experiencing difficulties due to rising prices first hand.
I am not a political person and do not have any solid figures to support my opinion. But I speak what I see and learn every day. And I see the public is suffering. I have not heard anyone in my social circle who has had a salary increment or made better profits of late. When the Covid struck in 2020, people lost lives, jobs and businesses. Many of those who remained employed suffered salary cuts. I have not heard of those salary cuts being revoked. I only hear people talking about ever-rising mehangai.
We know most of the goods and groceries are transported to local retail markets. Now, take a look at the rising graph of petrol prices over last two years. This has a direct impact on every day’s use items. It does not require a finance minister’s mumbo jumbo to realise the pinch of rising inflation.
I consider myself fortunate that at least I have a job. I often read full-page advertisements in newspapers about the promises and claims of the government, but I do not find them happening on the ground, or in our lives. A person who earns ₹15-20,000 in a month, and lives with his family in a rented house, can he provide proper nutrition or education to his children today?
If I accept the claim of the government and RBI that economic growth is on the right track and things have become stable, then its effect should be visible in the lives of ordinary citizens. Nothing like this seems to be happening. Claims are different from the ground reality.
I come from a family of farmers. I remember before coming to power in Delhi, the Modi government had talked about doubling the income of the farmers by 2022. We are now in 2023. Show me one farmer whose income has doubled. Does the government have any idea how the prices of fertilizers and other farming requirements have increased?
I can only sum up my experiences and conclude that it is a challenge to run the kitchen. And my firm belief is that the same is true for most other middle-income households across the country.
As told to Nityanand Gayen
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