Items Of Middle Class Use Still Pinching Pockets: ASSOCHAM

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Inflation may have dropped significantly from last year, but middle class people still find high prices of goods and services consumed by them, growing beyond their comfort level with pulses, prepared meals, snacks, education, health and clothing staying expensive, an ASSOCHAM analysis has pointed out.

At the retail level, the inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has been very high close to 30% for pulses with some of them reaching Rs 200 a kg, while spices which go into preparation of the curries have witnessed price rise of 9.2%.

Items Of Middle Class Use Still Pinching Pockets: ASSOCHAM
Despite fuel prices coming down and moderate rise in wages, the cost of education and health services, the two critical areas of interest to the middle class has gone up, much higher than the headline number of CPI for September of 4.41%.

The CPI inflation for education was up close to 6 per cent and health 5.4 per cent for September, 2015. "With severe shortages of education and health facilities in the public sector, the middle class has to depend on the private sector schools, colleges and hospitals and their costs have become quite high.

"While the annual increase in prices of these services may not show huge rise, the base price of such facilities is so high that it is becoming increasingly difficult for a large number of people in the cities and small towns to afford them. Some of hospitals in Delhi charge as much as Rs 1 lakh a day ......," ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said.

Mr. Rawat said, the public expenditure on health and education should be raised significantly both at the Central and state government level. The recent outbreak of dengue and swine flu show how the state funding has been inadequate for improving the overall health services along with hygienic facilities.

Read more about: inflation, assocham
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