Is the pay packet in tune with the rise in prices of essential commodities? Is there really a rise in the living standards and comfort levels?
If one looks at the latest Union Budget there is not much to cheer about for the middle class. The huge waiver of farm loans might be a boost to the farmers but the agricultural retail sector has been rising steadily. A lot of private players like Reliance have come into the market. They are keen on and already into setting up farms from which to market their produce at competitive levels. Seasonal and monsoon pressures have put thousands of farmers out of business and some of them migrate to the city for employment.
With privatisation the motto every sector including health and insurance have become open to takeover. FDI flows into all these areas are under supervision but they will continue to come in. Farm lands have become fallow and are sold to real estate in the outskirts of every metropolis. If one takes a saunter in the local buses towards the outskirts within a 50 km range one can see rare evidence of farming going on. It is common to tier 1 and tier two cities.
In the present scenario there is an emerging upper middle class in every metropolis and its needs are articulated well. The economy is heavily reliant on foreign exchange revenue and this principle operates in the flow of foreign investments too. As such exportable products will be given the push and internal needs will be at a premium.
So any rise in living standards will be surely out of step with the rising prices. Consumerism has been given open field. That is the price one has to pay for globalisation, probably?