New Delhi: With Union Budget 2018-19 around the corner, desires, expectations and predictions have once again reached a peak. It will be the first post-GST budget and - more importantly - the last union budget before the 2019 general elections in the country. Clearly then, a lot is being anticipated from it by the common man. While deep ramifications - good and bad - are usually how every budget brings with it, Union Budget 2018-19 is being projected by many as being especially critical to decide the direction in which the economy steers.
Here are the main expectations of the common man from Union Budget 2018-19:
The common man, the citizens themselves, are the basic pillar of a country and its economy. Their concerns, their needs and their benefit plays a tremendous role in deciding whether a budget is well received or not. This time around, the individual once again has several expectations.
* Expanding individual taxpayers' base with possibly greater relief for people in the small-income bracket. It is generally expected that no tax on income up to Rs 3 lakh, 5 per cent on income between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, 10 per cent on income between Rs 10 lakh and Rs Rs 20 lakh, and 30 per cent on income over Rs 20 lakh per annum should be adequate.
* A single Income Tax Return form for all can go a long way in ensuring better compliance and bring in more under the tax bracket without making it seem cumbersome.
* A rise in deduction available under section 80C. Investments under section 80C help individuals cut their tax liability. It also promotes savings. A rise in the cap from the existing Rs 1.5 lakh could be a boon.
* A complete exemption on withdrawals under National Pension Scheme.The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has already sought a full exemption in order to make NPS it more appealing.
* A possible re-introduction of infrastructure bonds for individuals.
* A rise in exemption limit on medical expenses claimed by an employee from employer. It is currently at Rs 15,000 which is widely considered woefully inadequate.
* An increase in limit for deduction on home loan interest on properties owned and occupied by the same individual.
While these are some of the major expectations from Union Budget 2018-19, they are not the only ones. A challenge for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would be in how he manages to dish out relief to individuals at a time when revenue generation needs to be increased - primarily because of lower collection from GST returns. Will the common man come out smiling at the end of February 1? Time and budget will tell.