Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, August 7
The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a blow to the economy and its repercussions are also being felt on household budgets of the people. Most families in the city have witnessed a fall in income but their regular expenses have increased, disrupting household budgets.
Residents revealed that during the lockdown, their expenditure on grocery, cooking gas and power increased while the flow of regular income of many families got disrupted. However, the lockdown didn’t affect high income groups and the service class in the same manner. Shopkeepers and those engaged in small trades have been using their savings to meet the expenses but those from economically-weaker section are taking small loans or borrowing money to support their families. But owing to the low income, a large number of small traders didn’t get their trade licences renewed. Some residents deferred payments of property tax and water sewerage bills.
People involved in sectors such as hospitality, transportation, education sector and international trade, have been severely affected. Workers of the hotel industry, taxi drivers, guides, travel agents, courier firms, schoolteachers and contractual workers are facing temporary or permanent job loss. A large number of daily-wagers have taken to selling vegetables to earn a livelihood. Even vendors, especially fast food sellers, are struggling to stay afloat.
According to information, over one lakh people were directly associated with the hotel industry in the city. Many of them lost their job or suffered a salary cut. It is still not certain as to when tourism would pick up the pace in the city. Salary cuts and job loss have led affected household budgets of low income groups. With suspension of religious programmes and ceremonies, priests and clergy are unable to meet their expenses. Similarly, private schools imposed heavy cuts on salaries of teachers.
The economic recession is here to stay for long. With the rise in unemployment, the living standards of the low income groups would deteriorate . The number of job seekers would increase and jobs reduce in the future. Dr Maan Singh, Economist
We have failed to keep our savings intact during the pandemic. The school management has imposed heavy salary cuts. Only 30 per cent salary is being paid. On the other hand, the expenses have increased. Harjit Kaur, a Schoolteacher
The household budget has increased as all family members stay at home. Income has remained unchanged. Expenses on education of children have also increased. We have to pay for internet for their studies. Pooja, a House wife
The household budget of drivers has been severely affected. We have been jobless for the past four months. Following the Covid-19 restrictions, inter-state travel has also declined to naught. Tourists are not visiting the city. Gurpreet Singh, Driver
I spent less on travel and dining out during the April to July period but expenditure on grocery rose. Panic-buying was one of the factors. The power bills have increased as ACs remain switched on at all times. Jagmeet Singh, Govt employee
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