I recently got one of those “info” emails that friends of your friends sometimes forward (this person has sent me over 50 in the past week alone). Some of them are quite informative and interesting so I don’t mind them as much and besides, I’ve learned that trying to educate people about good and safe email etiquettes just results in negativity with most people.
This particular mail had an image, probably taken from an Urdu newspaper or magazine, that had a table showing the increase in prices of various commodities between the years 2000 and 2006. Here is what the table looked like:
|Commodity||Price in 2000||Price in 2006||Increase|
|Gold (10 grams)||Rs. 5,371.08||Rs. 12,500||232.7%|
|Petrol (per litre)||Rs. 32.50||Rs. 57.70||77.5%|
|Flour (20 kg)||Rs. 181.44||Rs. 262||44.4%|
|Sugar||Rs. 22.68||Rs. 32||41.1%|
|Hydrogenated Oil||Rs. 48.92||Rs. 74||51.3%|
|Lamb||Rs. 104.92||Rs. 260||147.8%|
|Beef||Rs. 52.38||Rs. 140||167.3%|
|Kerosene Oil||Rs. 16.50||Rs. 35.23||113.5%|
|Potatoes||Rs. 10.07||Rs. 18.20||80.7%|
|Onions||Rs. 10.39||Rs. 40.50||289.8%|
An average increase of 125% over 6 years is quite something, though contrary to what the article stated, salaries and the general quality of life have also increased quite significantly. At least in the private sector, I have seen them double just within the last 2-3 years. All the recent investment, especially in the telecom sector, has to trickle down to the common man eventually.
What is yet to be seen is the increase or decrease between the gap in the high and low income levels. I think a lot still needs to be done in terms of poverty alleviation. It seems that the trend of people moving from rural areas to cities has seen a sharp increase, simply because of better prospects there.
More has to be done, whether it is setting up factories or subsidized farming, to improve the lives of those who live too far from places like Islamabad to benefit from the recent boom. Maybe the spread of telco operations to all these areas will help in bringing them into the 21st Century.