Sunita Parab, a Mumbai-based homemaker and entrepreneur, is struggling like many to make ends meet.
But Parab's story is a little different. She lives in one of the several chawls that dot the financial capital's Lower Parel. She has an eight-year-old daughter who attends an English Medium School, for which Parab shells out Rs 50,000 annually. Although she can hardly afford the school fees, Sunita wants her daughter to get the best education, so that she does not have to struggle like her mother.
On the other hand, her father-in-law has physical disability, while her husband is a driver by profession, who earns a meager salary. Hence, Parab set out along with her mother-in-law to set up a small stall to sell snacks. The idea being, lower prices + higher sales = higher profits.
She started selling each portion of poha (puffed rice) and upma (semolina) for Rs 10. And here's where her irony begins. Now, she has been forced to raise prices, given high food inflation and sells the same portion for Rs 15.
"The cost of a (commercial) cylinder has increased along with prices of pulses and vegetables. When this happened, our kitchen was majorly impacted. The government must at least reduce the prices of daily use items. From school fees to daily groceries, the price of everything is increasing," Parab said and added: "I'm hoping for some relief from the government in this budget."
Pinning her hopes on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who would better understand the travails of a homemaker, Parab stressed, "I hope she reduces prices of items we use daily."Like Parab, many housewives are hoping for a reduction in prices of household commodities from Sitharaman's maiden Budget, which will be presented on July 5.
All eyes and ears will be set on the Finance Minister, who will announce the Union Budget for the Narendra Modi 2.0 government and the current financial year.
There are many that share a life similar to that of Parab, and Moneycontrol spoke to other such homemakers to find out their demands from Sitharaman.
Many of them voted for the BJP in the general elections held in April-May, and now feel its time for the government to deliver on their promises, meet their expectations and address the rise in inflation.
Primary concerns revolve around rise in fuel prices that directly impact the price of vegetables and fruits. Over the past two years, there has been approximately 10 to 15 percent rise in prices of vegetables and fruits. Market vendors told Moneycontrol that fuel has now become a major component that drives prices of vegetables and fruits.
As every home is primarily run on a budget by the woman of the house, the impact of the Union Budget is directly proportional to the expenses of these women.
Another Mumbai-based homemaker, Asha Kadam said, "The Budget should be made keeping in mind the needs of homemakers. Prices of household items must be reduced.”
While Nirmala Bokadia added, "Prices of daily use items should be reduced so that homemakers can ensure they save some money for a rainy day."
Seema Ghosh, who works as a cook at five households, was forced to take up the job three years ago after her husband died of electrocution, leaving behind two daughters aged three and seven.
Ghosh said, “School fees have become too expensive. My kids study at an English medium school. They shouldn’t suffer the way I have. We are staying in a dilapidated home. I want to buy a house for us, so that my children live a happy life.”Urging the FM to bring down the cost of education she said, "If fees go on increasing I will not be able to give them education in an English medium school, and will be forced to send them to a local school."
Another homemaker, Neeta Sharma, who lives in Matunga complained about the high fees of schools and requested the FM to curb it, especially of English medium schools.
"We expect that the upcoming budget should be good and must reduce the burden on homemakers. As of now, we have to think a lot before purchasing anything and the prices are very high. We hope that the government will provide much-needed relief in this budget."Women in India are far more assertive of their rights and are hopeful that the finance minister considers expectations of women before finalising the 2019-20 Union Budget.