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How price rise has eaten into aam aadmi's monthly budget

Last updated on: August 06, 2013 18:06 IST

Image: A vendor sells vegetables at a market in Mumbai.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Things are not going well for the Indian economy.

Markets are being volatile and rupee is sinking.

And inflation is heading north.

Common people are gasping under the pressure of price rise.

According to analysts, cost of living in metros has more than doubled in the last one year.

We went about asking common people how their monthly budgets have been affected in recent times.

In this slide show, Indians from various walks of life pour their hearts out.

. . .

Do you think price rise has really affected the rhythm of your daily life?

With prices of onions touching Rs 90/kg, what do you think the government needs to do?

We look forward to hear from you!

Send in your suggestions and opinions to

Don't forget to put your name, address and email ids.

We will put up the best responses on our site soon!



Tags: 1

'Cutting down on luxuries is the only option'

Image: Vaishali Hegde.

Vaishali Hegde, Advocate

The first thing that I think about is the price of vegetables and other food items.

What I realise is that because of the escalated prices, I cannot afford to have the same vegetables that I have been having.

The next thing that has affected all of us is the floating interest rate on home loans.

It has increased a lot, while the salaries have remained the same.

The government, according to me, should take this into consideration and do something to stop this rise in rate of home loan interest rates.

Instead of doling out unwanted subsidies to further an electoral cause, the government should think of the common people.

There is nothing much that we can really do.

Expecting the government to do something on these fronts is futile.

There appears to be nothing on the cards at the moment.

To sacrifice our luxury or to cut back on expenses are the only options available to us.

Because of the ever-rising price of petrol, going on holidays are out of the question at this point.

Even before leaving for weekend getaways, I need to think ten times, thanks to the steep prices of diesel and petrol.

As told to Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

. . .

'Life has become miserable for us'

Image: Usha.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

Usha, Homemaker

I do not work outside but in my house, both my husband and son are working.

Even with two earning members in the house, it is extremely tough for a middle class family to have a decent life these days.

The budget with which I ran the house even a few years back, falls short now.

Rice costs Rs 50 per kilo.

Price of all the vegetables have shot up enormously.

Need I say anything about dal, oil, sugar, etc?

We have to pay double the price for every small essential item.

Naturally, my budget for a month has gone for a toss.

Just for the provisions, milk and vegetables alone, I have to spend Rs 10,000.

On top of these, we have to pay for the electricity bill, rent etc.

In Chennai, we have to even buy water at times.

In fact, on some occasions, I feel it is more expensive than petrol.

I have not seen price of any single household item going down; it has only gone up.

And in the last 2-3 years, it has gone up exponentially.

In the last couple of years, price of banana, which used to be the cheapest fruit once.  Has shot up to Rs 60 a kilo.

When we were young, our parents could manage the household with 6-7 children very well.

Today, even with one child, you struggle to make the both ends meet.

I don't know where all this will lead to!

Sometimes, I get scared at the way prices are shooting up.

I blame only the central government and its economic policies.

If life has become so miserable for us, the middle class, I don't know how the poor are surviving.

As told to Shobha Warrier in Chennai

. . .

'Price rise has hit my well being, lifestyle'

Image: Dr D Udaya Kumar.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

Dr D Udaya Kumar,  Assistant Professor in Department of Design, IIT Guwahati
(Designer of Indian Rupee Symbol)

Inflation’s effect

The rise in the price of commodities and real estate has badly affected me.

It is literally impossible to buy a house in Chennai or outskirts even with a loan.

When I was student I thought I would be able to buy a house when I get a job. Now, after three years of work and savings, I am still unable to afford a house.

The prices have skyrocketed and the house rent has also gone up.

To make matters worse, the loan too is not sufficient as it depends on my government pay scale.

Inflation and savings

My savings are just not enough to meet my needs.

Recently, I had gone to Chennai and all my savings just got over as inflation has made every product costlier.

In January 2013, when I was in Chennai, a coconut cost Rs 8, this time it was Rs 15 almost the double in four months.

In Guwahati, it is worse with a coconut costing Rs 35 and it even rises to Rs 50-70 per coconut during the off season. I am forced to buy it for making chutney.

Inflation hits lifestyle

Though I don't have vacation plans, I have postponed buying quite a few things like a house, laptop and a new phone.

Most costly items

Fruits and vegetables are too expensive, being health conscious, this has hampered my well being and lifestyle.  

Reasons for the price rise

I guess it is because of the increase in fuel cost. I can say this because in Guwahati most of the commodities are sourced from other states, which in turn affects the price.

Will prices fall?

I desperately wish but I doubt it will. I believe the price of a product will never come down because it involves various factors in its making. Once up, it is less likely to come down.

As told to Manu A B

. . .

'This government is not for the people'

Image: Dhiren Upadhyay.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

Dhiren Upadhyay, Fruitselller

My monthly income is Rs 7,500 on an average.

I was comfortably running my household and maintaining my family of three with this meagre amount even a few years back.

But for the last couple of years, things have gone out of control.

Prices of all essential commodities have escalated enormously.

Earlier, we could afford to have fish or egg at least twice a week. But not any more.

Now we can afford only two meals a day comprising rice, dal and a bhaji.

At times, we are left with no money to buy vegetables even.

Then we have to make do with rice and dal.

It’s a terrible condition.

The government at the Centre is blind and deaf.

They have no compassion for the poor people.

If the price situation does not improve at the earliest, thousands of Indians will starve to death soon.

Will the government take the responsibility for that?

As told to Indrani Roy in Kolkata

. . .


'It's a sad state of affairs'

Image: Gopal verma with his family.

Gopal Verma, businessman

We are in a bad shape, thanks to the ever-rising prices of essentials under the present government.

Sharp increase in power tarrif has upset not just us but all the Delhiites.

Enormous increase in electricity bills has dealt a major blow to our family budget.

Earlier my wife spent Rs 4000 on groceries but now we have to spend additional Rs 3,000 to buy the same stuff.

Likewise I have to spend additional Rs 2000 for my son Kartik's education.

Conveyance too has doubled.

We have to shell out Rs 3000 per month to travel by autorickshaw.

Moreover, my wife has to spend Rs 3000 to meet medical expenses of her aged mother.

This is twice the amount she used to spend earlier.

My day starts at th wee hours and ends past midnight.

I toil so hard yet I can't meed the needs of my family.

It's a sad state of affairs.

As told to Onkar Singh in New Delhi

. . .

'I am forced to cut down on luxury'

Image: R Vaidyanathan.

R Vaidyanathan, Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru

Let me begin by saying that the price rise is so much that if I were to have five apples in the house, I run the risk of an Income Tax raid.

The first thing that we need to do is the reduction of what we pursue to be luxury.

The consumption of fruits will be reduced and some vegetables we won’t buy.

However, the prices of all vegetables have increased.

With inflation hitting the roof, our disposable income is lesser; hence we need to cut down our expenses on consumables such as clothes.

As we cannot cut back on unavoidable charges on water, transport and electricity, we need to make a big compromise on luxury.  

Fast food these days is a cheaper option today.

We can either eat out at a smaller place or buy instant food.

However this is applicable only for a family of two.

For bigger families, problems are even bigger.

In the case of such families, inviting guests for lunch and dinner is something that will need to be avoided.

Marriages and other social events are likely to have a smaller guest list.

As told to Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

. . .

'No one seems to care about the common man'

Image: Mahalakshmi Sivasumbramanian.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

Mahalakshmi Sivasumbramanian, School-teacher

This past week, I have been in a huge dilemma contemplating on what expenses to cut in order to make a payment of Rs 6,500 for a training program for my elder daughter. 

Any unexpected expense like this totally ruins my meticulously prepared budget. 

These days it seems virtually impossible to balance your income with your expenses. 

When you are struggling to make ends meet, there is simply no question of saving for a rainy day. 

Every month is like a new challenge, juggling with house rent, maintenance, electricity, gas, milk, vegetables, provisions, water, education, transport, the list seems to just go on and on and on. 

Today it is not only the rent and electricity bills that take away the major chunk of your money, you have to shell out big amounts for even the basic commodities like milk, veggies and drinking water. 

Earlier, people survived on just Rs 10-15,000, today even with small nuclear families and incomes up to Rs 30,000, things are totally out of control. 

My day starts at 4:30 every morning, and I wind up past 11 every night. 

In the evenings, I am forced to give tuitions to supplement my income. 

Most of the days, I barely have time to eat.

Spending time with my children has become a luxury. 

In spite of all this, I still consider myself fortunate.

For my apartment’s plumber works on an empty stomach for many days of a month. 

For many like him, even one decent meal a day is like a dream. 

It is really pathetic and depressing; no one seems to care about the common man anymore. 

And with the situation deteriorating every day, I wonder if it is even possible for things to ever change.

As told to S Saraswathi in Chennai

. . .


'I have not seen such bad time in my entire life'

Image: Krishnaveni.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

Krishnaveni, Fruit seller

I came to Chennai from my village 45 years ago and life was so different then.

We came for a better life and today, it is the other way round.

People living in my village have a better life than mine as living in a city like Chennai has become extremely difficult.

From the time I came here, I have been selling bananas.

Earlier, there were rows of fruits and flower shops here.

I had a small shop too.

But then, the government removed all the shops from the main road.

It said what we had put up were unauthorised structures.

Though the government gave us shops in some other place, I didn't go there as I knew I would not get any buyers there.

From then on, I have been selling bananas on my cart here on the road.

As this is a residential colony, there is no dearth of customers.

Life was not so bad till 3-4 years ago.

Now, it has become so difficult to procure my stock of bananas.

Today, I paid Rs 40,000 to buy only a  small quantity of bananas.

When I quote the price, my regular customers get angry.

They say, I have doubled the price.

But it is not my fault.

The truth is, I have to pay double the price to the wholesale seller.

I take loan to buy my cartload of bananas.

You know how much profit I make everyday? Rs 100-200 only.

What can you buy with that much money?

I give the entire amount to my daughter-in-law to buy food.

We don't buy rice from the ration shop; it's really of poor quality.

We get only oil and paruppu (dal) from the ration shop for us.

The price of vegetables has more than doubled these days.

At home, we buy only the cheap vegetables.

We can’t afford non-vegetarian food now though my grandchildren would love to eat it.

I have not seen such a bad time in my entire life.

Last one year has been the worst.

When we cannot buy food to eat, I don't know how we poor people are going to survive.

I blame the politicians and the government for this.

What are they doing there?

Did we vote for them to make our lives miserable?

Next year, I am not going to vote for them, I am sure about it.

As told to Shobha Warrier in Chennai

'We are gasping under the pressure of price rise'

Image: Preeti and Milind More.

Preeti More, ex-private firm employee

We live in the Bhusari Colony of Pune, a predominantly middle class area.

I worked in a private firm till some time ago, my husband is working as a software professional in an IT firm.

With the price hikes occurring almost every few months at present, our monthly budget has gone for a toss!

My husband has to travel almost 25 kilometres to office and hence, has no other option but to fill in petrol, whatever the rates may be!

With prices of daily household items skyrocketing, arrival of guests at our place leads to severe financial crunch at times.

The frequency of our visits to movie theatres and restaurants too has decreased substantially.

Pune Municipal Corporation imposes double tax on petrol and there is a talk of increasing it further.

Therefore, vehicle owners are staring at another uncomfortable hike in fuel prices.

In Pune, which saw the traders going on strike opposing the implementation of LBT (Local Body Tax) for about a month in May, the prices of grocery items have shot up enormously.

As told to Devidas Deshpande in Pune

. . .


'We had to skip our annual summer trip this year'

Image: Dr Jayanta Kumar Sarma with family.

Dr Jayanta Kumar Sarma, researcher and educationist

Price hike is a serious phenomenon for the entire country.

It is not discernible if the government is giving any serious focus to control spiraling prices.

It is a situation bore out of total governance failure

As a result of this price hike, we are compelled to curtail many of our interests and needs.

The list is a long one.

My wife and I have tried our best to reduce monthly travel expenditure though both of us have to move around within and outside the city frequently
because of or assignments.

We have cut down has cut down our spends on books, journals, music albums, film albums in a month to cope with the rising prices of essentials and household goods.

This time, we decided to skip the annual summer trip as well.

We don't invite guests for dinner too often these days and we also think twice before
 holding rituals at home to cut down on the monthly expenses.

Moreover, people like us, who are freelancers in the area of research, do not have any
provision in government policy and programmes.

Even many of the social security schemes do not cater for us.

So, we have to rely on our own savings only at the time of need.

Sadly, in the last few years, we have not been able to save much. 

As told to K Anurag in Guwahati

. . .

'Govt must take steps to prevent scams'

Image: Avinash Bhat.

Avinash Bhat, software professional

The middle class at present is the worst hit with rampant rise in prices of fuel, cooking gas, vegetables, real estate etc.

I wonder how the poor are faring.

Governments may give them rice at Rs 1 per kilo, but then what about tomatoes which comes for Rs 100 a kilogram?

All the other vegetables are easily close to Rs 50 per kilogram.

The other vexing issue is lack of employment.

There are hardly any jobs available.

Situation is grim in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

The only available forums are the IT companies, but then how many it accommodate.

India's Union Budget is geared towards giving out doles in the names of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, food security etc.

The government should take steps to stop pilferage of money through scams.

It should take notice that the newer schemes are rampant with corruption where the actual beneficiaries never get the benefits.

It's time fro strong actions.

As told to Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

. . .

'Price rise has disrupted the peace of our lives'

Image: Mohua Bhowmik.

Mohua Bhowmik, private firm employee

Because of our jobs, my husband Nilanjan and I have to stay apart from each other in different cities.

When we first opted for this arrangement, we thought it will benefit us financially.

It did too at least till 2007-8.

But gradually as prices of essential commodities started escalalting, we were awestruck.

Now, things are really bad.

Even though both of us are earning, we cannot afford any luxury.

Life has become really tough.

Every time my husband calls up, after a brief exchange of pleasantries, we end up talking about our monthly budget.

Our son is studying in Class XII.

He will be joining college soon.

How will we afford his higher studies?

We are just worried stiff.

May be its time we gave up our twin establishments in two different cities and started living together.

But then one of use would need to quit the job.

How will we manage with a single bread earner?

It's a pathetic state that we are into.

Is the government listening?

As told to Indrani Roy in Kolkata

. . .



'We cannot afford to have regular non-veg food now'

Image: Umar Khan (2nd from left) with his family.

Umar Khan, clerk

We have been forced to change our lifestyle drastically for the last couple of years, thanks to rising prices.

We used to have non-veg food four days in a week.

Now it has been reduced to one day only.

Our family of six has learnt to make such small sacrifices.

We have decided to compromise on food and other things but not on education and health.

I earn a little over Rs 20, 000 a month.

I am the only earning member of the family and I have no other income or resources.

Now I have to pay more than double for household provisions. Prices have risen by leaps and bounds.

Rates of rice, flour, sugar and edible oil are giving me sleepless nights.

My wife, Baby, loves to have a comfortable life.

But now she has to curtail her wishes so that we can stick to our monthly budget.

We spend a lion's share of our income children's education as we want to gift them a secure future.

And above all this, we need to save some money for our daughters' marriage.

We plan to send my sons to either engineering or medical colleges.

I need to set aside some money for that as well.

It's good that I somehow built a small house in Patna and does not need to pay any rent now.

I am really scared to think what future has in store for us.

As told to M I Khan in Patna

. . .


Tags: Baby , Patna

'We need a miracle to keep the kitchen stoves burning'

Image: Mehraj-ud-Din Akhoon with his wife.
Photographs: Umar Ganie/

Mehraj-ud-Din Akhoon, a casual labour in floriculture

For me, survival is a struggle as there is a big mismatch between my income and the needs of my family.

At an income of Rs 3,700 per month, I really have no clue how to feed my family of four.

I need to cough up Rs 1000 for my children’s education.

Thus, we are reduced to running the show at Rs 2,700 per month.

I literally need a miracle to keep my kitchen stove burning every day. 

I need to buy 30 kg of rice per month and to spend at least Rs 20 daily to purchase the cheapest vegetables, mainly saag available locally.

Recently, I fell ill and I still owe Rs 1500 to the local medical shop.
Now, I will need to borrow from someone to repay the shop owner.

My family is very considerate. It knows how to keep mum and not to make a demand.

Recently, we made an appeal to the government to revise our wages.

On hearing this, a certain minister just shrugged.

Wish he were in my condition.

Would he have been able to shrug off the miseries that we are living in now?

As told to Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

. . .



'My savings are falling every month'

Image: Harish Vasudevan

Harish Vasudevan, Environmental Activist

Inflation has affected me very badly. The hike in fuel and food prices is hurting the most.

My savings are falling every month, as inflation keeps rising. Food and vegetable prices have increased by over 100 per cent in the last few years.

Like my friends, even I am forced to cut down shopping, travel plans and even think twice while hiring a cab these days.

A middle class family is forced to cut down on even basic things like providing good education to their children and even medical care.

The main reason for inflation is the uncontrolled market as a result of liberalisation policy. Farmers who make the produce hardly get anything as middle men make unfair profit. Until the government's liberalisation policy changes, there will not be any change in inflation.

As told to Manu A B in Thiruvananthapuram


'It's affecting my work too'

Image: Kapil Mahajan

Kapil Mahajan, Dentist

The price rise in the last six months has been the steepest in the past five-six years. Being a professional, I feel the impact of inflation at my work as well as at home.

At work

Most of the material I used is imported and due to weakening rupee and inflation, my input cost at work has gone up. And due to competition, I can’t hike the procedure costs in the same proportion.

On the contrary, some patients request for a discount and due good relations I have to consider these requests.

While the prices are going up considerably, the income is not.

Household expenses

Until last year, my monthly expenditure on groceries was about Rs 3,500. Now, it has shot up to Rs 5,000.

The monthly outgo has increased mainly due to the rise in vegetable prices. They are unbelievably high. If it continues, there will be no price difference between cooking at home and eating out at a restaurant.

With a small kid at home, every price hike pinches. For example, milk prices have gone up almost 10 per cent.


Another considerable outgo from income is money spent on petrol for travelling. And there have been five hikes in rates since June making it dearer by almost 8 - 10 per cent.


Savings can happen when there’s disposable income. The current period has so many uncertainties about future expenditure at work and at home that saving has taken a backseat.

A house is always a good investment but in Mumbai and adjoining suburbs, house prices have gone up 40 per cent to 70 per cent making property unaffordable.

As told to Tinesh Bhasin in Mumbai

. . .

'No time to play football now'

Image: Kadhar Mohideen.

Kadhar Mohideen, Computer centre-owner

Every Sunday, I used to play football with my friends.

Then I got married, the games stopped.

Now most of the times, I am worrying about interest mounting on my mortgaged jewels, customers not paying on time and escalating prices.

I am yet to come across a month when I can manage within my budget.

I have a computer centre in Kurumbur, Tuticorin.

One can browse, scan and print at my computer centre.

I also repair computers within a radius of 15 km.

There is no other computer mechanic in this area.

I am very much in demand but not rich.

I lost my father at a young age and my elder brother took over our father’s beedi agency. I started the computer centre with only Rs 50000.

Today, I earn about Rs 15,000 a month.

Three years back, I he married Afifa from far off Mumbai.

She is a commerce graduate.

We have a 2-year-old child.

Once the child goes to school, she runs the centre while concentrate on servicing computers.

I pay Rs 2000 as rent for my shop, Rs 4500 as salary to two employees.

The telephone line for broadband and power cost another Rs 2000 a month.

This leaves me with only Rs 6500 to meet my household expenses.

We have to pay a house rent of Rs 700 and a power bill worth Rs 200.

“I buy provisions once a month for around Rs 2000 rupees.

For meat, chicken and vegetable, I set aside Rs 1000 a month.

This is never enough.

The price of mutton is Rs 450 a kilo and prices of vegetables are up every day.

My bike needs petrol and price of that is always skyrocketting.

My medical budget is Rs 300 a month.

I take my wife and baby on my bike to the beach on Sunday evenings.

The petrol costs me Rs 100 and I spend another Rs 100 on snacks.

Once in two months we visit a relative in Tirunelveli 50 km away which adds Rs 500 to our monthly budget.

Once in 6 months, we visit my wife’s home in Mumbai.

It is Rs 12,000 a trip.

The Railway tickets are cheap, but everything is so costly in Mumbai.

Every month, we face a shortage of money and I have been forced to mortgage my jewels worth Rs 70,000 in the bank.

I will get them back when I get an order to service a batch of computers in a bank or a school.

Every year I get the jewellery back all back and then they go back to the bank again.

It’s a vicious cycle.

I will have to increase my income when my child goes to school.

More computer servicing is what I can do.

We cannot afford to have another child for next five years.

As told to A Ganesh Nadar in Tuticorin

Do you think price rise has really affected the rhythm of your daily life?

With prices of onions touching Rs 90/kg, what do you think the government needs to do?

We look forward to hear from you!

Send in your suggestions and opinions to

Don't forget to put your name, address and email id.

We will put up the best responses on our site soon!