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Living standards in Odisha has dwindled in the last five years
In Odisha, ever since the 2009 elections, households have seen a fall in their living standards. According to an independent study, (2009-2014) the BJD Government has not translated the so called growth into household incomes. According to the data of NSSO, households at the bottom of the income scale are severely affected and the middle-income group suffer because their wages do not increase in proportion to their survival expenditure.
Noted Socio-Political activist Suparno Satpathy says, β€œThe Finance Minister of Odisha did not put any thought to the lowering of living standards while allocating budgets. While the Odisha Government has been focusing on giving out doles to the poorest of the poor with superficial support. This dole has not at all touched upon the lower middle-income families who are being sapped under the poverty line due to lack of proportionate increase in income.”

Study by the (Srimatee Nadinee Satpathy Memorial Trust) SNSMT team, reveals that stagnant wages, rising shop prices and lack of measures taken by the Government to curb hoarders have hit the real incomes of low income workers across the state. Claims like low wage workers are worse off since 2010, is substantiated by this study.

The said study reads that full-time workers in steady employment had enjoyed rising wages after taking inflation into account till year 2005, but the same was in decline ever since year 2010. Ever since year 2009, Odisha has been witnessing stagnation or even a decline in job creation and thus, there has been no wage growth.

Though the Govt. of Odisha tried infusing a higher minimum wage rate, it is not being practiced in real world. Most of the jobs, which have been created in Odisha of late are contractual in nature thus the steady upwardly move in wages is not witnessed.

Contrary to the real facts on the ground, the Govt. of Odisha is desperately trying to propagate that people facing a cost-of-living crisis have never had it so good. Many call it a cruel joke by the Govt. of Odisha.

The study over living standards in Odisha has focused on the highest and lowest pay scales. However factors such as education, medical care, transportation, food prices etc too must be dragged into the study because these are real indicators of living standards.

Considering 2014 is an election year, it is likely that the living standards would begin to marginally rise later this year, but a strong recovery over the next few years is unlikely. According to the analysts at SNSMT if it is not given a specific boost, the real earnings are not expected to return to their 2005–9 levels until 2018–19.

Even if discretionary cuts to benefits and tax credits are imposed by the Govt. of Odisha (which is highly restricted and guided to the health of the money market in Odisha), it will still put a downward pressure on real incomes, particularly for low-income households. Given this, it seems very unlikely that the living standards will recover to their pre-crisis levels; all this can be attributed to the lack of fore vision in policy formulation by the Government of Odisha.

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