Middle-class Indians hard hit by rupee's fall: Survey

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) As the Indian rupee slumps to new lows, the country's middle class has been forced to cut back on eating out, buying branded products or new cars, studying abroad etc. as their monthly expenditure has risen by 20 percent, a study by Assocham revealed Thursday.

The Indian rupee slumped to another record low of 59.93 against the dollar Thursday, after the US Federal Reserve signalled an end to its monetary stimulus that would help in further strengthening of the greenback.

"Over 92 percent of the respondents said that their monthly bills have jumped by 15-20 percent in the last one month - the middle class and the lower class are the worst hit," said the survey.

According to Assocham, going to fancy restaurants has been hit the hardest with around 78 percent of middle class Indians avoiding eating out.

In addition, 65 percent have stopped buying foreign branded goods, while 49 percent are spending less on home appliances and 32 percent have put plans to buy a new car on hold.

However, people are in no mood to pay heed to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's request not to buy gold for the sake of the health of the Indian economy.

"Despite the effort by the government to control gold imports, the Indian middle income group is bound by societal traditions and continues to buy gold even at higher prices which have increased the prices of gold due to rupee weakening," said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

The survey further said that Indian students aspiring to study abroad will also be affected as expenditure on food, living expenses and stay has risen sharply.

Assocham said the survey was conducted in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai etc.

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