UNAFFORDABLE COST OF LIVING

Editorial GREATER JAMMU

In the present day scenario cost of living has become unaffordable for majority of people thus leading to a seri- ous crisis. It would not be wrong to state that this signifi- cant has become a global phenomenon. This is evidenced by the UNDP report titled ‘Addressing the Cost of Living Crisis in developing countries: Poverty and vulnerability pro- jections and policy responses.’ In such a scenario there is a dire need for India to respond to the crisis by formulating a result oriented strategy especially in view of the fact that India has the second largest population in the world and most probably will soon climb to the top slot pushing China to second. In the context of cost of living crisis the whole world, especially the developing nations need to take a les- son from the unprecedented economic turmoil leading to worst of the miseries to the people in Sri Lanka in terms of food, fuel, and financial crisis. In fact it must be an eye open- er for the countries around the world. It needs to be accept- ed with humility that India too has been facing this crisis though not as intense as in the other developing nations across the globe. There are multiple factors both domestic and international due to which common man in India can feel the pinch of cost of living today. It would not be out of context to mention here that according to the Food Security Report-2022 the cost of a healthy diet in India is around three dollars per day, and the number of people unable to afford it is 71 percent, i.e., about a thousand million people.
It needs to be underlined that this is far more than global status which reflects that 42 per cent of the world’s popula- tion cannot afford a healthy diet. It is a fact that two years of Covid-19 pandemic further exacerbated the situation by pushing another 230 million people into poverty. Moreover, the sky rocketing prices of essential commodities has been resulting in continuous addition of people to the poverty list.
This is the state of affairs in which the very basic necessity for survival i.e. food has become unaffordable for millions, not to talk of multiple other essentials that have become totally out of reach items for the common people in India.
Therefore in the existing scenario, though India has made ample efforts to address the price rise and inflation issues which is evidenced by the fact that its retail inflation rate measured by CPI, rose from 6.71 percent in July 2022 to 7 percent in August 2022. It is pertinent to mention here that the IMF has projected an inflation rate of 6 percent for devel- oped countries, and 9 percent for developing countries in 2022. After a meticulous analysis of facts and figures one can’t help but saying that a comprehensive social protection programme has become inevitable to save the people in dis- tress due to the unaffordable cost of living which would auto- matically prevent its social consequences like social unrest.
This could be best achieved with a holistic approach towards ensuring affordable prices for people as con- sumers. Moreover the Govt needs to walk an extra mile by rolling out a ‘National Price Control Policy’ for all goods and services so that the common man especially the poor can afford to buy at least the basic necessities of life.