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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

Last updated on: February 10, 2011 06:51 IST

What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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Come February and all eyes and ears are on the finance minister and his Budget for the coming year.

Almost every citizen of the country has his/her own set of expectations that they would like to see being fulfilled in the coming Budget.

William Congreve said, "Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life." Going by that, February is a very joyous month for Indians as there is quite a bit of 'uncertainty' as to what the Budget augurs for us as well a lot of 'expectations' for ourselves and the nation too!

Following is a list of expectations from the common man that he would like Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to implement:

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Image: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Photographs: Reuters
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Housewives

Without doubt the Indian housewife (including Finance Minister's wife Suvra Mukherjee!) wants the finance minister to do something and anything to ensure that the prices of basic food and vegetables (a.k.a onions, drumsticks, garlic, etc) do not go high as they have done in the last few months.

Onions have literally caused tears in most households and there is a great expectation that the finance minister would come up with some good ideas to curb the rising prices.

Many housewives would also be eagerly hoping that the price of domestic LPG remains untouched. There is constant pressure on the finance minister to reduce the burden of subsidy on LPG and he could look at increasing prices of domestic LPG cylinders.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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Tax-paying janta

With the inflation at a high, the tax payers would like to see a progress to the proposals of the new taxes code which envisage raising the first slab (10 per cent) to Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) instead of the current Rs 1.6-5 lakh (Rs 160,000-500,000) slab.

This would be beneficial to a big chunk of the working populace as most people in the middle-middle class and upper middle class have an income in excess of Rs 5 lakh per annum.

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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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Farmers

The much touted National Rural Guarantee Scheme has played havoc with farmers' lives.

Easy jobs with a guaranteed salary from the NREGS have made big numbers of farm labour to migrate away from the hard work and low pay of agriculture work.

This has resulted in a very acute shortage of workers and is seen as a major cause for the rise in prices of farm products.

Even a good monsoon has not brought any cheer to the farmer as he does not have labourers to harvest his crop!

The farming community is expecting the finance minister to scrap this populist scheme or ensure that migration of farm labourers is plugged.

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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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Automobile owners

An unending and over ambitious expectation from all owners of automobiles is the hope that prices of petrol and diesel will come down.

Each Budget has only brought disappointment and with the current state of crude prices it seems far-fetched to expect any relief.

But it does not cost to expect and so we shall!

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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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Infrastructure

The last Budget had promised a greener land with over 40 pre cent of total outlay on infrastructure.

But, sadly nothing much has happened apart from all the so called development at Delhi (that was for the commonwealth games anyway!).

The aam aadmi expects the finance minister to keep the same focus by allocating more funds to infrastructure development along with a framework to ensure that his good intentions are implemented at the ground level.

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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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Opposition's expectation: Trip to Switzerland!

The idea of millions of Indian currency stashed away in vaults in Switzerland is a very old one.

But recent developments, including Wikileaks, have put the spotlight back on this burning issue and the finance minister is expected to put forth measures to bring back black money which has been illegally kept away in foreign havens back to where it belongs: India.

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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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Education loans

The student community expects that the finance minister will declare a loan waiver for educational loans.

On that note most common Indians expect the finance minister to bring about a sea change in the Education system (indirectly of course) as school fees and college fees have started rocketing skywards for no rhyme or reason.

The common perception is that easy availability of educational loans has tempted colleges to demand higher fees as they are sure that the parents will anyway find a way to pay!

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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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Financial stability

The recent spate of mis-dealings by employees of banks and financial services has created quite a fear in the minds of the common man about the safety of his investments and finances while dealing with the zillions of companies which have flooded the financial services domain.

It is expected that the finance minister will come up with a long term strategy to ensure that there is stability and a stronger sense of safety prevailing in the financial services and capital markets domain.

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What housewives, farmers, students want in Budget

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This article has tried to cover a few of the broad areas of expectations from the Budget. There are, of course, quite a lot more expectations that each group or set of individuals will have which have not been covered here.

It is now 'all eyes on the FM' till he rises in Parliament to present his Budget 2011 to know if expectations have been met.

Till then let us enjoy the uncertainty!



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