The people of Karnataka despite it being one of the most prosperous and contributing states in the country are worst affected by inflation in every sector.
The results of the assembly elections in Karnataka showed how ordinary people suffered due to the rising prices of staples, and veggies and the overall cost of living index.
The guarantee schemes of the Congress, which were rubbished by the BJP leadership as the politics of freebies, helped the grand old party to register a thumping victory in the elections. The Congress and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah made inflation a major issue in the elections which struck a chord with the people.
However, the IT sector is giving a boost to this scenario by helping the economy of Karnataka, according to experts.
Bhavesh Kothari, Founder and CEO of Property First, told IANS that, “The cost of living in Karnataka is 1.29 times more expensive as compared to the rest of India, thus putting the state in the 4th spot in the most expensive places to live. But at the same time, this higher CLI has a positive bearing and this is evident from the fact that the state is ranked as the best place to live in India.”
“Owing to the region’s overall vibrancy of business and economic activities, the standard of living in Bengaluru is also going through a major transformation. Being a global tech centre with a lot of opportunities, the city is attracting talent from other cities thus raising the cost of accommodation.”
Kothari said that over the last few years, the city and its various submarkets have not only seen an uptick in rentals but also a considerable rise in the per sq. ft rate, resulting in rising property prices.
Since the region offers good prospects and people have jobs, high salaries and disposable income, the focus has also shifted towards the upgradation of life.
As a result, the luxury property market in Bengaluru witnessed a steep growth and owing to the continued demand, the overall cost of living is on an upward trajectory. It is anticipated that inflation might ease, but the city’s future growth chart will strike the balance between rising costs and overall quality of life, he maintained.
However, unaffordability has affected the middle class, lower middle class and the poor sections to a great extent.
Post the Covid pandemic, most families are opting for health insurance. But, the cost of annual premiums has been hiked by Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,000. The price of tur dal which was Rs 70 to Rs 90 per kg has gone up to Rs 120 to Rs 140 per kg. In shopping complexes and malls, the price of tur dal is fixed at Rs 180 to Rs 200.
The guarantee schemes such as free electricity, free travel for women, and free rice which have already been implemented by the Congress government have given relief to the masses. Buoyed by this success, the Congress is all set to launch an allowance for unemployed youth for two years and a monthly allowance for women heads of families.
Officials in the power department said that most of the families including the upper middle class, have enrolled in the free power scheme to cut down on their monthly bills.
On the other hand, one of the major concerns of families in Karnataka is the rising prices of LPG gas cylinders.
The price shot up to Rs 940 in October 2022 and touched Rs 1,105 for a cylinder by March 2023. This had a cascading effect on the prices of food items in hotels, making it difficult for people to dine out.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwalla Yojna (PMUY) Scheme which is aimed at providing free LPG connections to economically disadvantaged women in the rural areas, the number of connections on March 31, 2017, was 15,840. These rose to 28.36 lakh by May 22, 2019 while 37.59 lakh free LPG connections were distributed in Karnataka till January 2023 as per the statistics of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
The Congress government led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had announced the Mukhyamanthri Anila Bhagya (MMABY) Scheme in the state budget 2018 to provide a free gas connection with twin burner stoves, two refills to 30 lakh beneficiaries who are excluded from the PMUY. However, the Central government objected that the Karnataka scheme for free LPG had no approval from it.