As noted editorially (p.10), the Union government’s underwhelming stimulus package to kickstart the economy battered by the Covid-19 induced national lockdown also offered a silver lining. While rolling out minute details of the package over five days (May 13-17), in an obiter dicta finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman also provided relief to thousands of citizens suffering pangs of conscience for being numbered among the top 1-2 percent of salary/income earners countrywide.
In one of these stimulus package rollouts on national television, she classified all individuals earning “only” Rs.18 lakh per year as lower middle class, indeed the “lowest rung” of the middle class. “For the lowest rung of the middle class earning Rs.6-18 lakh annual income, the government will extend the CLSS (credit linked subsidy scheme) for affordable loans till March 2021,” she said, unveiling the second tranche of the stimulus package. CLSS is a housing loans interest subvention programme of the Union government.
This classification came as great relief to your editor, who although falling squarely within the lowest rung often had to endure club class lifestyle jibes from the comrades community. Now having been shown my place well below the salt, I can go about my business untroubled by pangs of conscience.