Mumbai is the financial capital of India, and the city with a high concentration of opportunities, continues to attract people from across the country. But at the same time, Mumbai is the costliest city in the country to live in, with expensive real estate, high fuel costs and rising food prices. As India’s biggest economic hub, Mumbai alone contributes 6.16 per cent to India’s total GDP, and this makes a strong case for increased focus on making life easier and more affordable for the average Mumbaikar.
Roti, kapda aur makaan still remain key concerns
The maximum city Mumbai lives between extremes, divided between CEOs and slums, everyday life is a series of calculations for residents. Fuel price hikes can affect the daily commute to work, the monthly rent decides how the kitchen budget is to be tweaked, while it’s already under pressure by eggs, milk and vegetable prices. Considering real estate rates, affordable housing in Mumbai or its satellite cities is accessible thanks to home loans, but pay hikes aren’t at par with rising interest rates.
Affordable housing as a shelter from inflation
A common Mumbaikar needs a spike in deduction limits for interest on home loans, so that at least tax benefits can take the edge off when EMIs become costly. Raising tax caps from Rs 2 lakh on borrowings for a house are also eagerly awaited by everyone who dreams of owning a 2BHK in the city.
With rent surging by almost 30 per cent in three years for Mumbai and its suburbs, Mumbaikars are spending a larger chunk of their monthly salaries on it. This eats into savings, monthly lifestyle expenses and hinders future plans, while severely limiting their capacity to consume.
Warding off the darkness of recession
Electricity bills went up in Mumbai by as much as 20 per cent last year, this year, they are again expected to go up from April. Due to rising energy costs, Mumbaikars are in the dark about planning expenses, in the city that never sleeps. More allocation to the power sector and making coal imports easier are the need of the hour to address this situation.
Make nutrition accessible
Egg prices have skyrocketed to Rs 90 a dozen, milk prices keep rising consistently, and these changes to essential food bills, affect all household expenses. The government’s focus on a strategy to control food inflation for budget 2023, can significantly ease the pressure on common Mumbaikars.
Eating out in the city can also become affordable for families and individuals, if steps such as input tax credit find a place in the union budget 2023.
But fuel prices affect everything from the cost of transporting food, to the daily ride to work and access to services for Mumbaikars who travel miles every day to get to work. GST on fuel prices does away with VAT and excise duty, and that’s how it can make petrol, diesel and LPG cheaper by up to Rs 25 a litre.
Health and education hold the key to the future
Every family in the megacity has to spend Rs 50,000 on an average in a year on medical expenses. Considering other expenses, extending Ayushman Bharat coverage to include the middle-class and senior citizens will be a gamechanger for Mumbaikars.
Last year, parents in Mumbai were hit by hefty school fee hikes, reaching as high as 100 per cent. A rise in tax deduction on tuition fees from the current Rs 200 a month, can help salaried Mumbaikars save more on educational expenses.
Beyond macroeconomic factors and India’s position as a bright spot on a dark global economic canvas, these everyday expenses are what the average common Mumbai looks forward to. Considering that the upcoming union budget is the last before the Lok Sabha polls in 2024, middle and lower income families in the city are expecting relief in costs and better savings, amid inflation and a global recession.
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