Hike in prices of milk, fuel add to financial burden of common man


Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, February 5

Hike in prices of essential commodities like milk, petrol and diesel has burnt a hole in the pocket of the common man. They complain that each commodity costs a quarter of the entire monthly family budget. Rise in the cost of both milk and fuel is bound to stretch the family budget.

Both Verka and Amul hiked the price of a litre of milk by Rs 3 and the government imposed 90 paise more VAT on petrol and diesel.

People from all walks of life are upset at the hike which has upset their budget. Farmers and industrialists found the hike resulting in a rise in their input cost.

Priya, a homemaker, said the proportion of fuel and milk cost were the same in the budget of a family now. The monthly fuel cost of a normal family with two vehicles is between Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000 and the bill of milk supplies for the same duration costs similarly.

Harmeet Singh, employed with a private company, said no longer is there any coherence between inflation on essential commodities and wages. Salaries have not been rising steadily for the past five years due to external intervention. For example, introduction of GST, demonetisation and the Covid-19 induced lockdown only contributed to a rise in inflation. The government’s priorities shifted. Instead of protecting the marginalised, they preferred to back corporate houses. This budget gave some respite to the salaried class from taxes.

Harjit Singh, a farmer from Fateh Rajputan village, said the input cost in farming was set to go up owing to high fuel prices. He said barring petrol and diesel, the entire trade activity was brought under the ambit of the GST by the Central government. Constant upward trend in prices has upset their calculations.

Industrialists are of the view that any rise in the cost of diesel would add to their input cost. Though they were not hiking the cost of any products, they stated that ultimately the burden would fall on consumers and would adversely impact their competitiveness in the market.