THERE have been several news reports lately in the media telling us about the plight of the common man since the unprecedented and multiple increases in petroleum and energy prices and the rapid fall in the value of the rupee against the American dollar.
There is absolutely no doubt that the poor people, already under stress, have started suffering more due to increase in basic food prices, threatening their already frugal family meals twice or sometimes even once a day.
Besides, the skyrocketing cost of every item in the essential monthly purchase basket of the lower middle class is also pushing it to a life of greater hardship and there is a genuine fear that this class will also be floating around or below the poverty line soon.
While the budget has not addressed the concerns of the above two classes, I suggest that the corporate sector should take the lead in easing the burden on their low-income employees, and partially address the issue of inequality in incomes and wealth by increasing the monthly salary of all those earning Rs100,000 or less by 15 per cent.
This is another subject widely discussed in the media without anyone taking any visible action.
The cost increase due to the above measure can easily be financed by decreasing the monthly salaries of all employees earning more than Rs1 million, Rs1.5 million, Rs2 million and Rs3 million per month by 5pc, 10pc, 15pc and 20pc, respectively.
While the above increase will only partially address the inflation-related issues of the low-income individuals, the proposed decreases will not impact the employees who happen to be in the high-income brackets except to the extent that their surplus monthly income adding to their wealth will reduce to some extent.
The non-executive members of the board of directors of large companies will have to take the initiative in this regard as the executive directors or the senior manage-ment concerned will not take any decision to cut their own salaries. It is surely against human instinct for them to do that.
Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022