‘Routine exercise’ called budget fails to raise many expectations

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) The annual budget is two days away, but a kind of ennui has set in for the man on the street. Will this year’s “big event” be any different from earlier ones? Will there be some relief in taxes, will it make amends for the increase in prices of essential commodities, or will it be another of the many exercises the government does as a matter of course?

“The tax slab should be increased. The government should do away with the numerous taxes that it imposes on consumers, including the surcharge and service tax and other various cess and taxes,” Tushar Bhutani, a Senior Manager at India Mart, told IANS.

“Why should we pay so many taxes when we are already paying a part of our hard-earned income (as income tax),” Bhutani said, prefacing his comments with disdain for the yearly ritual, which he said is not going to affect him in any manner.

“I have so many expectations with respect to petrol, diesel, items of daily needs, etc. They should all be sold at cheaper rates. But will my expecting anything from the government have any bearing on how it thinks? I hardly think so,” he said.

Another privately employed individual demanded a revision in prices of a host of daily necessities, but applied a caveat against his own wishes by saying that every person formulates his own micro-budget to counter the government budget.

In the end, hardships have to be faced by the people in one way or the other, he added.

“Moong dal prices have gone up by almost 100 per cent since last year. Price of milk is sky-rocketing and that of petrol increases every third month. On the other hand, we get a hike in our salary annually. Who is to explain this contradiction?

“The annual budget is very unlikely to affect me, speaking frankly, since we are too well adapted to the vagaries of government and markets,” Sohan Butolia, a mid-level employee at a Honda car showroom in Noida, told IANS.

Another salaried individual voiced his expectations.

“I want the budget to reduce the cost of higher learning in private institutes — the cost of complete education, as it’s a matter of one’s right. The prices of life-saving drugs and other crucial medicines should also come down, as that may spell the difference between life and death for some,” Sunder Shyam, employed with the food catering unit of a navy base here, told IANS.

He then shifted the focus to the real vulnerable class.

“I will not be much affected as I have savings. But many, the labourers and daily-wage earners, are bound to be hit badly if the prices of everyday items keep shooting up,” he added.

(Vishal Narayan can be reached at vishal.n@ians.in)

–IANS

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