Shanti Chandra Das, a cobbler who sits in front of the Baitul Mukarram Mosque, used to earn Tk500-600 a day. His income has dropped almost half recently and he is now forced to end his son's schooling and send the six-grader to work.
"I wanted to continue his education. But, rising commodity prices and the recent fuel price hike have made it difficult for me to make ends meet. So, I sent him to an automobile workshop for some extra income for the family" Shanti said.
The struggle is just the same, if not greater, for all the low earners amid the rising inflation and declining earning situation.
Mohammad Abul, a rickshaw-puller, who lives in the Rayerbazar slum area with his family of seven including his aged mother, said people do not ride rickshaw as much as before due to the pressure of rising commodity prices.
"As a result, our earning has decreased. At the same time, prices of all daily necessities have doubled," Abul said, adding that he is considering sending his wife and daughter, who is in class 9 but has stopped going to school, to work.
"I have been looking for work opportunities for them at garment factories but have not found any so far," he said.
With increasing prices of daily necessities, the queues in front of Open Market Sales points have become longer and the low earners have been forced to cut spending including reducing food intake.
A survey, conducted by Brac from 31 march to 5 April, 2021, found that the extreme poor segment of the society increased to 60%.
Another survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) from March to October 2020 found that people's earnings dropped 20% during the pandemic.
"People are struggling more than the BBS survey shows," Dhaka University Economics Department Professor Sayema Haque Bidisha told The Business Standard.
"In order to overcome this situation, the government should give more allocation to the social security sector. For the low earners, TCB sales should reach remote areas," she recommended.