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Market matters: Price index and home planner

If current market per kg price of onion is Rs 100, tomato Rs 280, garlic and ginger each around Rs 70 per quarter of a kg, coriander and mint Rs 10 apiece, it is a great challenge to meet cost of two meals a day for the hungry and hand-to-mouth poor amid customary alarms of price-hike by the chicken-hearted rich.

While the opulent, despite fashionable alarms of inflation, enjoy lavish cooking through an array of tongue-tilting vegetable, chicken, mutton, veil or beef delicacies, the “have nots” can look for creative ways in cheap buys for two taste buds testing meals a day.

A case study of Faizan Khan, a little boy, whose father is sick and labours on roads, whose mother is an underpaid domestic servant, wonders helplessly about quarter rent and meal woes of a large family. He reveals no sugar, no milk, no tea, no meals as mother invents little watery chutney out of few coriander and mint leaves and just half a roti dipping and sucking in it for each.

Faizan adds even a roti per person is not affordable due to atta price hike of well over Rs 270 per bag of 5 kg. Even dal chana is out of reach for the poor what to talk of “moong, masoor, mash” unless a tit bit of dal is added to watery chutney in making of creative gravy.

For middle-income family of five, there is better creativity in planning for a meal. Though dals (moong, masoor, chana, mash, arar range between Rs 100 and Rs 200 per kg, let any dal be Rs 50, using Rs 40 of onion, big spoonful of oil and salt mixing it with Rs 10 of coriander or mint chutney to make it bigger and tastier catering for five with Rs 50 worth of atta for 10 small rotis totalling a meal of Rs 150 for five.

There is room for diversity for a middle-income family with a different menu for a meal. With current egg cost of Rs 116 a dozen, let’s take four eggs for Rs 40 and add Rs 40 of tomato costing Rs 280 per kg with Rs 20 of onion, spoonful of oil and salt as needed to make it a large scrambled anda gutala dish with Rs 50 of atta for 10 small rotis totaling Rs 150 of a delicious meal for five.

The third option for a diversified meal for a middle income family is Rs 20 of onion, Rs 20 of potato, Rs 20 of tomato, Rs 30 of mixed little carrots, peas, beans, cucumber, Rs 10 of a teaspoonful of oil and salt as required and Rs 50 worth of atta for 10 small rotis totalling Rs 150 of a vegetable dish.

As imminent and amid fashionable alarms of roaring costs, sky is the limit in lavish dining for the upper strata, elite and the opulent. This is true be it gorgeous food delicacies and delights in Desi/Pakistani, Arabic, Turkish, Lebanese, Afghani, Mediterranean, Mexican, South Indian, Indonesian, European and or Chinese for that matter.

Irony of the matter for the common man’s household is when one hand feeds five to eight mouths or so. Mass awareness through education and media on each family member working suitably, if possible, and contributing a bit each to the family budget, if feasible, is pressing need to meet the challenge of the rocketing inflationary imbroglio.

Spiraling prices are out of control and beyond the means of the common man indeed. It depends on our financial gurus and statesmanship to address this helpless situation. However, public convincing and confidence-building measures need to be pondered in simple and easy, interesting and innovative ways and means in market matters.

(The writer is an educator, journalist and market analyst)

parvezjamil@hotmail.com

Parvez Jamil, "Market matters: Price index and home planner," Business Recorder. 2019-11-20.
Keywords: Economics , Social sciences , Middle-income family , Current market , Prices inflation , Roaring costs , Atta price , Price control , Meal , Food