As essential commodities go way beyond the reach of the average consumer, people in different professions, and students in particular, seem to be looking at ways to supplement their family income. For some, it is simply an extension of their regular job while for others, the alternative means a new, second job itself.

Though consumers across classes feel the pinch, it is hardest for those in lower income groups. S. Jaya is a first year student of B.Sc Computer Science. “Any contribution that will reduce the family's financial burden, however small, is valuable now,” she says. Following the spiralling rates of commodities in the last few months, she was keen on finding a part-time job and started working at the administrative division of a restaurant.

Her salary of Rs.2,500 for a month made a lot of difference to her family income that largely came from her mother's work as domestic help.

Farjas Deen, a final year student of Zoology, also feels it is important to contribute to his family income. After his college hours, he works at Professional Couriers to make about Rs.2,000 per month.

“We see how the prices are increasing everyday, and I feel guilty asking my parents for money to buy books or for other expenses. I give this money to them every month,” he says.

The trend of students seeking part-time jobs is not all that new, but the number of students doing so is on the rise, according to Ahmed Khan, manager of the Adyar branch of Professional Couriers. “What is more interesting is that retired persons and senior citizens are increasingly approaching us, asking if we have jobs for them. This is probably because of the rising prices and the pressure faced by families,” he adds.

Professionals, too, are considering multiple channels of income. Shakti (name changed), a primary school teacher in a private CBSE school, says her colleagues take up small businesses such as selling saris, bridal make up during weekends and of course, tuitions. “A colleague of mine buys saris from a weaver known to her, and then sells it among friends and colleagues. The small margin of profit is also a significant addition to their family income,” says Shakti.

Though most schools ask their teachers to refrain from taking private tuitions, the practice is rampant. “Private schools do not pay teachers as well as government schools. I find more and more teachers offering private tuitions now. How else do we manage when everything costs so much?” asks a higher secondary teacher of a matriculation school.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012

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