Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune press service
Amritsar, August 7
The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the economy and its repercussions are also being felt on the household budgets of the population. Most families in the city have seen their incomes drop but their regular expenses have increased, disrupting household budgets.
Residents revealed that during the lockdown, their spending on groceries, cooking gas and electricity increased as the steady flow of income for many families was disrupted. However, the lockdown did not affect high income groups and class of service in the same way. Traders and people with small businesses use their savings to meet expenses, but those in the economically weaker section take out small loans or borrow money to support their families. But due to low income, a large number of small traders have not had their business licenses renewed. Some residents have deferred payment of property tax and sanitation bills.
People involved in sectors such as hospitality, transport, education and international trade have been severely affected. Hospitality workers, taxi drivers, guides, travel agents, courier companies, teachers and contractors face temporary or permanent job losses. A large number of daily punters have taken to selling vegetables for a living. Even vendors, especially fast food vendors, struggle to stay afloat.
According to reports, more than a lakh of people were directly associated with the city’s hotel industry. Many of them have lost their jobs or suffered a cut in wages. It is still unclear when tourism will pick up speed in the city. Wage cuts and job losses have affected household budgets of low-income groups. With the suspension of religious programs and ceremonies, priests and clergy are unable to meet their expenses. Likewise, private schools have imposed heavy cuts in teachers’ salaries.
The economic recession is here to stay for a long time. With rising unemployment, the standard of living of low-income groups would deteriorate. The number of job seekers would increase and jobs would decrease in the future. Dr Maan Singh, economist
We have failed to keep our economies intact during the pandemic. The school administration imposed heavy wage cuts. Only 30 percent of the salary is paid. On the other hand, spending has increased. Harjit Kaur, teacher
The household budget has increased as all family members stay at home. Income has remained unchanged. Spending on educating children has also increased. We have to pay the Internet for their studies. Pooja, a housewife
The household budget of drivers has been severely affected. We have been unemployed for four months. As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, interstate travel has also been wiped out. Tourists do not visit the city. Gurpreet Singh, driver
I spent less on travel and restaurant meals from April to July, but grocery expenses increased. Panic buying was one of the factors. Electricity bills have increased as air conditioners remain on at all times. Jagmeet Singh, government employee