Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad
Rising inflation has dampened Diwali spirits of majority of middle and lower class families who will slash their festive budget by over 40%. People are struggling to cope up with their monthly expenses due to rising inflation, less job opportunities and shrinking real wages reveals an ASSOCHAM quick survey.
A survey on "High prices dampening the festive spirit” clearly showed over 72% respondents from middle and lower middle income families would be forced to slash their Diwali expenditure by 40% and on average spend nearly 25% of their monthly salary on Diwali for shopping, sweets, gifting, apparel etc. Ahmedabadi are on third position of the chart projecting curtailment of festive Budget thanks to eroding purchasing power, according to the survey.
The survey was conducted in a period of two months beginning August to September 2013 in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh, Dehradun etc. A little over 200 persons were selected from each city on an average. Delhi ranks first in curtailing their expenses during the festive seasons followed by Mumbai (2nd), Ahmedabad (3rd), Kolkata (4th) and Chennai (5th).
The skyrocketing prices of essential commodities is the main reason for this. Be it sweets, dry fruits, crackers, pulses, dairy products, fruits or vegetables, the prices have registered large increases this year compared to the Diwali last year. Even gold, the much sought after item during this festive season, stays in the range of Rs.30,000/- per 10 gm compared to Rs.22,000 last Diwali, said Mr. D S Rawat Secretary General ASSOCHAM releasing the Survey.
The survey reveals the high income group remains unaffected from rupee fall, double digit food inflation. However, a large number of lower and middle income groups indicate that they are finding ways to cut back spending now or indicating they will do so in the future, noted the survey.
Majority of respondents said that they plan to spend fewer amounts on this festive season as the prices on average of most of the gifts and traditional Indian sweets have gone up by 55%, while the value of saving has gone gown by almost 15%. Revisions in interest rates by banks have also sent their EMIs soaring further eroding their monetary power, adds the ASSOCHAM recent survey.
Most of the respondents plan to cut down on personal expenses or go bargain hunting to keep their festive budgets in control. Over 57% of the respondents will buy only on sale or discounts, 12% will buy fewer gifts and the rest 2% will buy a group gift. Only a small percentage feels that festivals are the time to splurge, even as discounts remain the biggest attraction for most buyers.
Over 76% of the respondent said that monthly grocery bills have jumped to about Rs 7,000/-, compared to Rs 4,000 in the last 12 months. The prices of vegetables and bakery products have also risen in the last few months. Obviously, this will affect the Diwali celebrations.
Milk, butter, sugar, dry- fruits, flour and labour charges – all go into making an irresistible sweet have turned dearer. On the other side, dry fruit & sweets are the most expensive item of Diwali, adds the survey. Similarly, the rates of ghee, sugar, edible oils, atta and spices have also registered increases of around 25 per cent to 35 per cent during the past one year.
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