Will ‘Acchey Din’ (Good Days) come with the Union Budget 2014-15? That’s a million dollar question. Whether you are a salaried worker, farmer, students, senior citizen, corporate leader, entrepreneur, investor, or a home maker, expectations from the new government are running very high.
What’s in store for the common man will be answered by the new Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on July 10, 2014. However, there are lots of expectations from him.
What does a common man want from the upcoming Union Budget 2014-15 :
1. Income Tax Exemption Limit
The Narendra Modi government should give a serious thought for raising the limits for tax exemption, which is currently Rs 2 lakh per annum. The middle class is surely finding it difficult to make the both ends meet, especially because of the soaring prices of essential items. Hence, there is an urgent need to raise tax limits to at least Rs 3 lakh per annum or if possible to Rs 4 lakh. This will help disposable income to increase, thereby expanding the market. The women participation in the workforce is also increasing slowly but steadily. As an incentive, tax exemption for them too needs to be raised to at least Rs 4-4.5 lakh.
One of the major poll planks of Narendra Modi was to contain inflation on becoming the Prime Minister. Now it is time for him to keep his words. If we look at the inflation rates, we will see that in May 2014, it reached 8.28 per cent, well above the safe inflation limit of 4 per cent to 4.5 per cent (as per RBI guidelines). Since 2012, inflation rate has hovered between 7.5 per cent (Jan 2012) and 11.6 per cent (Nov 2013), as per the data published by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, India. The government must work in tandem with the RBI, and use both the fiscal and the monetary policies judiciously to contain inflation, which is eating into the purchasing power of the common man.
3. Fuel and Cooking Gas Prices
Any upward movement of fuel prices directly increases inflation. Petrol price have jumped by more than Rs 20 per litre during August 2010- May 2014.
Any increase in the price of diesel increases the transportation cost of essential items. And, rise in the cooking gas prices adversely affects households. So, if these prices increase any further, that will lead to the further weakening of the economic status of the country’s burgeoning middle class. Therefore, a mechanism needs to be put in place where the government has adequate control on fuel prices and does not let them subject to the fluctuating prices of global crude oil prices.
A large population of India is young and mostly in schools and colleges. Therefore, there need to be adequate educational institutions so that every citizen can access proper education. Some activists demand that at least 6 per cent of India’s GDP should be allocated to education sector because that would ensure quality education for all. A World Bank report shows that in the last few years, public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP in India is hovering around 3 per cent.
Therefore, time has come to increase fund allocation for education and create more educational institutions in India, matching global standard so that the brain drain doesn’t take place. To make domestic higher education more affordable, the government must take adequate steps to decrease education loan rates across the board.
The spiralling property and real estate prices are creating impediments in the way of people to buy a house of their own. The Government can help the people by raising tax exemption limit on payment of interest per annum on housing loans from Rs 1.5 lakh to at least Rs 3 lakh. The tax exemptions that are available on principal loan amount are currently included in Section 80C. However, a special category for exempting taxes on housing loans can be created by the government.
These are the top five expectations of people from the upcoming Budget 2014-15.