When the NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was put in the driver’s seat little over 2 years ago, the aam aadmi was promised good days or ache din. But, although the government says that everything is on track to deliver on this promise, the ground reality appears far too distant.
More pain for the aam aadmi
The cost of living for the aam aadmi has been rising steadily in the past two years. Failure of monsoon for two consecutive years is cited as the major reason for the steep rise in the price of pulses. For a collection of opinions on what drove up the price of pulses, please see this. More pertinently, the statistical data reeled out by the government is often aggregated and does not reflect the price behavior for individual items. Thus, when pulses are classified under food, a stable or downward trend in the other items within the basket tends to overshadow the actual rise in price of some of the commodities, which could even be steep. Our expert statisticians will also know many other methods to come out with attractive numbers.
Cost of primary education going through the roof and no one seems bothered
Cutting down consumption is one way the aam aadmi battles between the wallet and palate. But, when it comes to educational expenses for the children, he has no means to cut corners. The Central, as well as state governments, were expected to address this problem and reign in the Shylocks in the ‘business’ of primary education. In fact, most of these institutions across the nation conduct themselves in a high- handed manner both with the parents as well as the children. All the glib talk is limited to the parent signing on the dotted lines and pulling out to pay the stipulated amount of fee – or should we say ransom? Remember, many schools don’t give you a receipt for the full amount collected.
Even fuel cost is not at par with international prices
When price control on fuel was removed and was to align with international prices, the possibility of a significant downward trend in oil prices was not factored in. But, with oil dropping nearly 65% and later fluctuating between 65% and 50% of the prices before the fall started, technically at least, the aam aadmi should have also enjoyed a 50% cut in his fuel spend. This article provides a detailed analysis of how fuel prices have been used to generate additional revenue for the government, via backdoor methods.
But everything may not be lost yet
Although the aam aadmi has very little to cheer, some actions at the grass root level are capable of bringing about perceptible change over a longer time. The Jan Dhan program, the Direct Benefit Transfer programs are among these changes. Another argument being advanced is that cleaning up the system of the past infirmities and bringing in a fresh air of confidence takes time. The recent wage hike via the 7th pay commission, increased old age pension, crop insurance, Atal Bhima Yojana are among programs that will deliver the acha din on deferred basis.
The rains have been bountiful this year, and let us hope the ache din are just round the corner!