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Union Budget 2013: Aam Aadmi seeks relief from high inflation and taxes
Last Updated : 13 Feb 2013 03:31:49 PM IST
P Chidambaram
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The curiosity related to Union Budget 2013-14 is on rise as all the preparatory formalities and per-budget consultations are almost finished.

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram is all set to table a politically correct Union Budget 2013-14 in the Parliament on February 28. This budget is being called as a politically correct because general elections and state assembly elections are round the corners and central government will definitely try to correct itself on political front as well as economic front.

Budget experts believe that Chidambaram may table a populist budget, keeping elections in mind. The Union Budget 2013-14 also becomes crucial for UPA-II as there are several scams reported in the last one year. And if frankly speaking, the Union Budget 2013-14 may be proved as last budget for UPA-II government at the Centre.

Meanwhile, government has already given indications of economic reforms by taking strict measures in last two months, including rail fare hike, deregulating fuel prices and capping subsidized LPG cylinders. 

Amidst all major economic reform steps, the real concern for common man is remained unanswered. The common people, especially middle class is worried about the final outcome of February 28 budget. The area of concerns include, impact of budget on middle class and lower middle class, income tax exemption limit, deductions, announcement under special categories like Framers’ debt, gender based exemptions and old age facilities etc.

What are the expectations of Aam Aadmi from Budget 2013-14

Income tax limit: In the last budget, the government provided some relief by raising the income tax exemption limit for individuals to Rs 2 lakh per annum from Rs 1.80 lakh. After this hike, the person who was earning upto Rs 5 lakhs would get tax saving of only Rs 2,000.

However, with the high inflation rate and price rise, the salaried class is expecting that Fiance Minister will raise the Rs 2 lakh Income tax limit to Rs 3 lakh in the union budget 2013-14.

Ashish Shah, Charted Accountant, feels that Chidambaram may implement the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) in this budget.

Shah says that the minimum hike in IT limit must be around Rs 3 lakh because high Inflation has severely hit common man’s pocket. The high inflation rate has posed biggest challenge of survival for people living in metro cities.

A Mumbai-based salaried employee Kirti Sharma believes that Women should get addition basic benefit and tax free income should be raised to Rs3.5 lak per.
On the other hand, senior citizens are also expecting raise in IT exemption limit to upto Rs 4 lakh from existing Rs 2.5 lakh per annum.

Cheap LPG cylinders: Housewives have more expectations from Chidambaram in this budget as they are finding it difficult to manage the kitchen due to capping of subsidized LPG cylinders.  However, government has raised the number of subsidised LPG cylinders to nine from six per year but it is still not enough for a family of six. Housewives are expecting for 12 subsidised cylinder per year.

Education loan: The highest interest rates on Education loan is real issue to be addressed in this budget. Students feel that the existing interest rate on education loan is much higher to afford. One student Akash Mehta says, “ It is easy to buy a car rather than applying for education loan, I have consulted as many as seven banks and surprised to know that interest rates are much higher than car loans.”
He further said that government should think about students as they are future of this country. Another PHD scholar at Tata Social Science Institute said that he is a JRF qualified student but the stipend provide under the UGC fellowship programme is too enough to survive.

“Being a PHD scholar I used to travel frequently and the stipend money is not enough to bear the travel expanses.”

Senior Citizens: Government should consider the hike the income tax limit slab for pensioners, which comes under second 80C saving schemes. Under 80C saving scheme, the existing limit of investment is Rs 1 lakh. Pensioners are suggesting that this limit should be raised to Rs 3 lakh.

Allowances: Due to increase in fuel prices, the vehicle allowances should be raised to Rs 2000 per month from Rs 800. The vehicle allowance is released to bear the expanses of conveyance. In this series, the education allowance given to an employee for two children should also be raised from Rs 100 to Rs 1000 per month.

Health Insurance:  The minimum limit of health insurance premium should also be raised from Rs 15, 000 to Rs 30,000.

Home Loan: Government should reconsider the hike in interest rate relaxation limit for home loan. At present, a consumer gets relief in income tax for Home Loan is Rs 1.5 lakh. This criteria should be raised to Rs 3 lakh.

Saving accounts:
In last budget, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee kept Rs 10, 000 free from income tax in saving accounts. People are demanding that this limit should be raised to Rs 25, 000.

In such circumstances, common man can expect that P Chidambaram’s Union Budget 2013 will have more to offer.


Source: IANS, Other Agencies, Staff Reporters
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