‘There is one sector which is overlooked. And that is the middle and upper middle class.’
We asked you, dear readers, to tell us how you are preparing yourself for the dark economic days ahead.
Preeti Srivastava, a teacher, offers some advice:

This is an extremely harsh time for every one in the world.

I appreciate our government for taking corrective measures and doing everything possible to save our people and sustain our economy.

India is a very big country with 135 crore people and it takes lot of planning, timely and accurate execution with the limited resources and other constraints.

We are aware of the government offering different package to banks, farmers, labourers, MSMEs and to other sectors. But there is one sector which I feel is overlooked.

And that is the middle and upper middle class people.

Through this article, I would like to draw the government’s attention towards freelancers and small business owners.

These are people who can’t ask for any help from the government. They can’t stand in line to get ration or food packets or any benefits.

They also don’t know where to go and seek help for their problems.

During this lockdown, their businesses have been badly affected to the extent that many of them are experiencing psychological problems.

Our middle and upper middle class society can be divided into three categories:

1. Salaried professionals, which include those in government jobs and private jobs.

2. Small business: Those who run shops, own restaurants etc.

3. Freelancers

Needless to mention, a government employee is getting her/his salary on time hence, they are managing and surviving in the same way they used to before COVID-19.

Those in private jobs can also be categorised in two — those who are receiving salaries and those who aren’t.

Those who are getting paid may not be facing as many problems.

Meanwhile those who have had to take pay cuts, have lost their jobs, small business owners or freelancers who haven’t been paid or got a project to work on are at the receiving end.

They have the responsibility of feeding their families who are dependent on them.

Small business owners also have to worry about the people who work for them.

You can see a consecutive effect here.

The owner is not able to work and run her/his business in the lockdown and hence, there is no earning.

This also explains why s/he is not able to pay salaries to the people dependent on her/him.

This helplessness leads to acute stress and anxiety.

For independent professionals, it is like jumping out of the fire and landing on a frying pan.

Even if they survive in good health through COVID-19, they would have still have to deal with the financial crunch.

It would be unfair to pin all of this on the government.

In fact, as a responsible and true Indian citizen I want to suggest some measures and possibilities the government can do that can work in favour of everyone leading to a win-win situation for all.

  • We need to first identify and classify people based on those who have been filing income tax on a regular basis.
  • They can be further filtered on the basis of the amount of tax they pay every year, and the number of years they have been paying taxes.
    There may be people who are suffering from dreadful diseases and still paying their taxes diligently. This could be a valid point and needs consideration as well.
  • Furthermore, there may be some entrepreneurs or freelancers who are earning in foreign currency and thus benefiting the economy with incoming of foreign currency.

This little exercise will not only help identify real economy contributors, but also help us identify and encourage other people who have not been paying their taxes till now.

The people of India should understand that the government of any country will be able to provide financial package only if it receives fair taxes from all its citizens.

Countries like the US, Sweden, Germany etc are able to deposit direct amounts in the accounts of such business owners because they are diligent tax payers.

How are you financially preparing for the dark days ahead?

Please share your plans with us at getahead@rediff.co.in. Do share your name, age and profession with us. Please mention MY POST-COVID FINANCIAL PLAN in the subject line.

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