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Budget 2010: What the aam aadmi wants

Last updated on: January 13, 2010 17:13 IST

Budget 2010: What the aam aadmi wants

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Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has advanced the presentation of the Budget by two days. Thanks to a national holiday and a weekend, this time it will be on February 26 instead of the customary February 28. Such proactive measures are indeed heartening. In the same vein the citizens of the country are also hoping that the FM pays heed to their wishlist during this Budget session.

Salaried class' requests

1. Taxable Income Slabs

The most consistent tax payers in India are the salaried class as their salaries are subject to TDS (tax deducted at source).

Last year's Budget gave only a marginal relief to the salaried class with just Rs 10,000 hike in the limit for taxable income. Since last year the salaried are pushing for a significant jump in the taxable salary and in the band for different tax rates.

They want the FM to raise the minimum taxable tax slab to Rs 250,000 (for men). The next slabs can be at Rs 10 lakh for 20 per cent tax rate and 30 per cent for income greater then Rs 25 lakh.

Since the Fringe Benefit is now taxable in the hands of the salaried person, not raising the slabs significantly will increase the tax burden of these people.


Photographs: Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
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2. Tax exempt investments

The limit for tax exempt investments under Section 80C is continuing at the archaic Rs 100,000.

This limit has to be increased to Rs 250,000. This will help those who have the potential to invest. This will also help the housing industry as currently people are not able to derive the full benefits for the principal portion of the housing loan repayment.


Photographs: Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
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Increase in Gratuity Limit

Currently under discussion in some committees, increase in the gratuity limit of Rs 350,000 has been a demand for a long time.

Hope this gets done in the current Budget. A limit of Rs 10 lakh is more in tune with the times. An automatic increase in the limit based on inflation / capital gains index can be built into the gratuity limit.


Photographs: Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
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Pensioners' request

The discrepancy between the age for the senior citizen between the I-T department (65 years) and other government departments (60 years) continues.

If official retirement age is 60, people become pensioners when they turn 60, but that they should continue to pay high taxes till they turn 65 is an anomaly, if not unjust.

Pensioners are now asking, "If the Railways can give concessions from the age of 60, why can't the Income Tax department tax us less from age 60?" Hope this Budget will address this issue.



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Students' request

Education loan for students has become a double edged sword for banks. Many students do not pay-up properly and the government periodically waives the loans given to students.

This has made banks to approach this segment with a lot of caution and reluctance.

Genuine students who are in need of money and those who have been paying their loan dues properly get victimised in this process.

Students' request from this Budget is to streamline this process. Benefits should go to those who have been paying regularly not those who have been playing unfair.



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Housewives' requests

Inflation related to food items has been rampant this year. This has dented the budgets of the finance managers at home badly. Also the salary freeze in most companies in India has limited the income too.

Thus most people are reluctant to purchase white goods. Hope the finance minister will give some relief in the form of reduced taxes for these sectors.

The last budget also saw the excise duty for automobiles being reduced from 8 per cent to 4 per cent for one year. Hope the concession will be made to continue for the next year also.


Photographs: Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
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Requests from the self-employed

They ardently hope that the FM will implement the GST (Goods & Service Tax) regime at least this year. A number of deadlines have been fixed and postponed till date. This is not helping anyone - the consumers, the manufacturers, the service providers, the state governments nor the central government.

The request to increase the self assessment limit (Rs 40 lakh) for Income Tax has been pending for many years now. Hope this will be granted in the budget this time.

Though the citizens of India as a whole may have a thousand more items to add to the list, the above wish list is one that covers requests that needs to be addressed urgently.

As the saying goes, "Needs can be met, not wants." These wishes have today become needs!


Photographs: Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
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