Ajeet Kumar/Reema Sharma
Budget 2013-14 can be termed as the budget of aspirations since this is the last budget that the ruling UPA-2 government is going to announce. The tough decisions have already been taken in the form of reform push, rail fare hike and fuel reforms (partial deregulation of diesel and raising the cap on LPG cylinders).
Meanwhile, all the aam aadmi
is concerned about is how his life is going to be impacted by the outcome of the budget like the income tax slab and announcement in the special category (farmer loans, gender based rebates and old age benefits).
Here is a sneak peek into the common man’s expectations from the union budget 2013-14.Tax Slab
The basic slab for income tax was raised to Rs 2 lakhs from the current Rs. 1.8 lakhs that led to a savings of Rs 2,000 for all taxpayers earning below Rs 5 lakh per annum.
The salaried class is expecting the basic tax slab to be increased from the existing two lakhs to three lakhs per annum. Faizan Siddiqui, a chartered accountant says, “This year the Direct Tax Code (DTC) should be implemented. Tax slab should be hiked to minimum three lakhs in a year. Inflation has made a big hole in our pockets. Sustaining oneself amidst such high inflation is a big challenge in metro cities.”
While the salaried class is demanding a tax slab beyond rupees two lakh, senior citizens are also expecting the existing limit be hiked. From the current two lakh fifty thousand limit, senior citizens want that the slab should be hiked to rupees four lakh per year. Retired SBI Manager Ashok Rawat says, “We are leading a retired life and are heavily dependent on our pensions. There is no other source of earning for us. I have married off two daughters. My housing loan takes a huge chunk of my pension. A mere two lakh fifty thousand bracket does no good to me and my family”.Allowances
Owing to the rise in fuel costs the conveyance allowance should also be hiked to minimum Rs 2,000 which is currently at Rs 800 per month. The transport allowance is granted to the employee to meet his conveyance expenditure.
Similarly, the educational allowance given to employer per month per child (upto two childern) should be hiked drastically. The allowance is currently a meagre Rs 100. This should be raised to minimum Rs 1000.Loans
The government could look at the rebate on interest on home loan which is currently capped at 1.5 Lakh. Those wanting to get rebate under housing loan demand that the amount should be raised to minimum 3 lakh. There is demand from a wider section that a separate provision should be made for the principal loan amount which currently is included in 80C (under which maximum limit is one lakh all inclusive).
Meanwhile, the students also have to bear the brunt of higher loan regime. Shashank Kumar Shah, a final year BBA student had this to say - “Today it is easy to buy a car than availing education in India. I have gone to at least seven banks and tallied all the loan rates. At such high rate of education loan, I can’t think of pursuing my career ahead. Government should think of students because we are the future of this country. The loan rates should be substantially reduced.”
A PHD scholar at Tata Institute of Social Science, Asha Singh feels, “I am a JRF qualified research scholar. The remuneration that I get is very meagre. It is not enough to sustain at such amount because my research demands a lot of travelling.Senior Citizens
Government could also look at hiking the tax limit for the pensioners who also fall in the same bracket of savings under 80C wherein the limit is one lakh rupees. “The limit should be hiked to minimum 3 lakh rupees for pensioners,” says Ashok Rawat. Many senior citizens (above 80 years), who fall under a tax bracket of rupees five lakh feel that the limit should be raised to rupees ten lakh.Health and Insurance
The medical insurance premium limit which is rupees fifteen thousand currently can be hiked to rupees thirty thousand.Income on Bank savings account
Last year, the government had announced that income on interest of bank savings account (in post office, co-operative bank, bank account) upto rupees ten thousand will not be taxable. Here, a thought can be given to increasing the interest limit on such saving accounts to minimum twenty five thousand.Fuel Parity
The cap on number of subsidised cylinders has not gone down well for those at the helm of managing the kitchen as well as the Opposition. Though the union government has hiked the cap of subsidised cylinders from 6 per household per year, homemakers feel that this is too less to run the household and would like it to be hiked to atleast 12 cylinders per household per year.
One hopes that Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s Budget 2013
will be more than mere promises and is able to give more headroom to the common man who is already reeling under spiralling price rise.
First Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013, 12:52