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Budget: Here's what the common man wants

Last updated on: February 9, 2011 13:07 IST

Budget: Here's what the common man wants

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Indrani Roy Mitra & Manu A B in Kolkata and Mumbai

The Union Budget is the annual financial statement of India presented every year on the last working day of February. The Budget is laid before both the Houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha).

This statement of accounts is valid for one financial year. The financial year starts on April 1 every year and ends on March 31.

The statement includes the estimated receipts and expenditure of the government of India for the financial year. With the Budget, being the most important financial event of the country, it is natural that common people have huge expectations from it.

What do people of India want this year's Budget to be?  What are their needs?

From people who do not know who Pranab Mukherjee is or what the Budget means to industry veterans, we spoke to a cross section of the people from various walks of life to know their views about the Budget. Read on...

Click NEXT to know the view of the aam aadmi and industry on Budget...


Image: Pranab Mukherjee.
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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'The poor in our country are expected to die'

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Kanak Kanti Pariya
Headmaster

Ours is a strange country. Here there is no guarantee or security for the lives of the poor. Every year, the finance minister, whosoever it may be, presents the Budget amid much fanfare.

But does it improve the condition of the people living below the poverty line? It does not. The rich gets richer and the poor poorer. The overall condition of India remains unchanged.

I do hope that the finance minister would shower on us more Income Tax benefits in the Budget. As a teacher, I would urge Honourable Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to have more schools, colleges, research centres across India.

The seeds of development lie in education. A country of uneducated people has no future. And I am sure no one knows it better than Mr Mukherjee.

Also, since the United Progressive Alliance is often projected as the most benevolent of the most pro-poor government, I appeal to the finance minister to take the following steps:

  • Launch more banks for the poor;
  • Take steps to improve the state of the refugees;
  • Grant more loans at easy rates for farmers;
  • Take measures so that farmers with more than one bigha of land is taxed;
  • Focus on the villages more than on the cities.

Click NEXT to read further. . .


Image: Kanak Kanti Pariya.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'I have not heard about Budget'

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Anil Kumar Morya
Painter

Anil Kumar is one among thousands of labourers working in the booming construction sector in Mumbai.  He says he has neither heard of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee nor the Budget.

I have been working in Mumbai for the last 12 years. The last 5 years have been really tough. Prices have never been so high. My wage has not risen accordingly so I cannot afford to look after my family.

The government only keeps talking about improving the situation. We only see deterioration in the state of affairs. The suffering of the poor has increased now.

Every time we cast votes with high hopes but in reality nothing happens. Politicians only make big promises. We cannot save anything as prices are so high. The future looks grim. It is disappointing that even after working so hard, we cannot fulfill our basic needs.

Click NEXT to read on. . . 


Image: Anil Kumar.

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'Control inflation, Mr Finance Minister'

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Subhasish Sarkar
Cabin technician, private airlines

First, I would appeal to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to take up the issue of inflation on a war footing.
Prices of essential commodities have gone through the roof.

How can the middle class make the both ends meet when the liquefied petroleum gas is as expensive as Rs 375 a cylinder?

And now the rumour mill has it that it will cost Rs 400 after the Budget.

I simply don't understand what's wrong with the United Progresssive Alliance government?

Why can't it control the prices? Things are going from bad to worse and the government is just sitting pretty. It's a sad state.

I work for a private airline where the salary is not as lucrative as that in foreign airlines. Therefore, I am finding it extremely difficult to run the house with the money I get.

I urge the Finance Minister to make salaries of private airlines' staff competitive, if not at par with those of their counterparts in foreign airlines.

This will have a double impact.

It will aid people like us to lead better lives and will also help private airlines retain skilled people.

Click NEXT to read further. . .


Image: Subhasish Sarkar
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'I have no expectations from the finance minister'

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Sankar Karmakar
Auto rickshaw driver

Who am I to voice my opinions about the Budget? I don't feel the urge to do or say anything these days. This is especially true of things concerning India. As a kid, my parents taught me to lead life the honest way.

'A rupee earned through an honest work is priceless', my father told me. And I believed him.

But then he belonged to another generation. His values have gone redundant irrelevant now. What can you achieve with honesty these days? Nothing!

Cheating and forgery have become the ways of life now and people like us, who are caught between parental 'lectures' on ethics and issues of subsistence just can't make out what to do and when.

I have heard that in foreign countries, the government takes the poor and the marginalised under its wings and doles out assistance. Here it's just the opposite. In India, the poor are given least importance and are just allowed to die of starvation. 

As for myself, I have no hesitation in admitting that my financial state has worsened over the past five years and I have been forced to cut down on many comforts of life.

Perhaps, the lawmakers are doing it on purpose. The poor have no place in their scheme of things. Hence they conveniently forget that we, the poor, need to eat to survive!

I don't want to make any appeal to the finace minister for this year's Budget. For, I am sure he would turn a deaf ear to it.

Click NEXT to read further. . .


Image: Sankar Karmakar.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'Promote inclusive growth and boost infrastructure'

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PVR Murthy
Group Finance Director, Yash Birla Group

The government should focus on promoting inclusive growth and infrastructure development, through better management, utilisation and chanelisation of resources, which will undoubtedly create an enabling environment for steady economic growth in the medium to long term.

Corporate tax rate has remained constant for a long while and small reductions in corporate tax are welcome, which will reduce the difference between Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) and corporate tax.

The common man will definitely benefit from an increase in the existing slab rate from Rs 160, 000 to Rs 200,000 and maximum slab to Rs 12 lakh (Rs 1.2 million) and above.

Benefits on taxation can be provided to senior citizens as well.

The proposal to set up a Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission along with measures for strengthening existing banks would create a financial sector equipped to cater to the requirements of a fast growing economy.

Dividend tax should be withdrawn to give impetus to the share market. Broaden the service tax base further to bring more categories into tax net.

Additional tax deduction in investments must be given to individuals, which will generate funds.

Direct Tax Code to be introduced from April 2011 should be implemented as promised.

To get a robust growth in core industry, infrastructure spread must cover power, coal, ports, aviation and roads. Additional tax concession for investment in these areas must be increased, which will generate funds for development.

Excise duty on oil to be reduced to restrict inflation.

Click NEXT to read on. . . 


Image: PVR Murthy

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'Invest in education to make India a super power'

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Ashok Mittal
Chancellor, Lovely Professional University

India still has a very low growth enrollment ratio (GR) in the higher education. Presently it stands at only 12 per cent while in China it is almost double.

Ten years ago, the growth enrollment ratio was 7 per cent in China and 8 per cent in India. But China has invested heavily in higher education and the result is evident to the world.

From a highly sophisticated super computer to a simple pen, 90 per cent of the products are manufactured in China.

China spends almost 1.5 per cent of its GDP on higher education with the aim of propelling its best institutions. China has more than doubled the number of its higher education institutions in the last decade from 1,022 to 2,263.

Although India has committed to spend 5 per cent of GDP on education, only 0.37 per cent is spent on higher education domestically. It is the need of hour for India to invest in higher education, which will be the deciding factor for India to become a super power.

Click NEXT to read on. . . 


Image: Ashok Mittal.

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'Govt should focus on development, control inflation'

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Rishi Aggarwal
Managing Director, JCBL

I expect the government not to compromise with the development in the process of controlling inflation as further appreciation in lending rates will impact the growth of industry as well as inclusive growth of the economy.

As far as mobility solution industry is concerned ,we expect the formulation and implementation of a more stringent policy for bus manufacturing and other means of public transport, which is crucial not only for the safety of passengers but also for the environment at large.

Also there should be deduction of taxes on import of bus components, which will help Indian bus manufacturing industry to be more competitive with respect to international players.

Click NEXT to read on. . . 


Image: Rishi Aggarwal.

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'Healthcare must get infrastructure status'

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Ameera Shah
Executive Director and CEO, Metropolis Healthcare

I hope for Budget will include health services as part of healthcare policy and hopefully healthcare will be given infrastructure status.

I expect more benefits for private sector to foray into smaller towns and cities and more investment opportunities in creating healthcare facilities like diagnostic centres which are crucial before any treatment.

Click NEXT to read on. . . 


Image: Ameera Shah.

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Budget: What do the common people, industry want?

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Amit Ladsaria
Director, Turtle Ltd

I am expecting major tax reforms in the areas of International Financial Reporting Standards, Direct Tax Code, Goods and Service Tax.

I would like to see the implementation of Amnesty Scheme as announced earlier.

Personally, I feel no major initiatives will be undertaken due to the Vidhan Sabha elections in many states during the same time. But the finance minister must consider steps to tame inflation.

Click NEXT to read on. . .


Image: Amit Ladsaria.

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'Can we have more exemptions, Mr Mukherjee?'

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Aniruddha Goswami
Businessman

This year's Budget, perhaps, is going to be the toughest for Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. With inflation gnawing at the entrails of the nation, he would have to take some quick and drastic steps to bring down the prices.

As a commoner, I feel something is severely wrong with the United Progressive Alliance's economic policies. Else, why are the prices of essential commodities refusing to come down?

Why can't the veterans like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee come up with effective anti-inflationary measures?

Even a few years back, I had enough capital for smooth running of my business. Not anymore. Thanks to the UPA regime, I am now left with very little money to invest in the business.

Therefore, I sincerely appeal to the Finance Minister to grant us, the businessmen, more exemptions in the Budget.

Traders and businessmen are the backbones of any economy and he should not neglect them.


Image: Aniruddha Goswami.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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