The first year of the five-year Budgets has not done enough to curtail expenditure and boost the economy where required. Agriculture is one of the major focus areas in the Budget, but at the same time, subsidies to poor families (wheat at Rs3 and rice for Rs5 a kg) will mean a huge burden on the government. This is taking an easy way out instead of boosting infrastructure to support agriculture and creating a favourable market mechanism.
Niranjan Renati, 28 (New Delhi)
The Rs10,000 increase in tax limit for senior citizens is not sufficient. The benefit should be more than inflation. What we are getting now is only enough to cover inflation. In fact, it becomes a negative return when it comes to senior citizens. The tax benefit of section 80C should have been doubled. Nobody is talking about self-employed people such as musicians, etc., who receive money in cash. There is no methodology to bring them into the tax net.
Rama Krishna, 65 (Mumbai)
Retired oil sector executive
Pranab Babu’s date with destiny has come and gone. All in all, I give this Budget a 5 on 10. On the positive side, the abolition of FBT (fringe benefit tax) and removal of surcharges from direct taxation will help. Whether it would sustain 9% growth remains to be seen. On the negative side, the increase in fiscal deficit, conservative stance on disinvestment and minimal stimulus to primary education and health is going to hurt in the long run. I hope he won’t disappoint next year.
Abhijeet Virmani, 35 (New Delhi)
(The) agricultural credit target for the year, at Rs325,000 crore, should boost the Indian economy. Among the many proposals in the Budget, I liked the proposition of creating a Rs4,000 crore fund to lend (to) small and medium enterprises. However, I would have been ecstatic if some tax incentives were offered to people who generate power from alternate sources. Sadly, the finance minister has been silent on that front.
Uddipan Nath, 34 (Kolkata)
I don’t know if it is possible to achieve slum-free cities in five years. Moreover, people like me who don’t have ration cards may not be considered for low-income housing projects. The lower prices for rice and wheat will also not affect me since I cannot buy grocery from ration shops. As for gold prices, they have been high for a while. How much higher can they go? I have been planning to buy gold chains for some time now.
Kupamma Munusamy, 32 (Chennai)
From the common man’s point of view, the Budget had something to look forward to in terms of removal of surcharge on income tax and scrapping FBT. Most companies collect FBT from the employees directly or indirectly. Now Esops (employee stock ownership plans) will regain their attractiveness, some of which was lost. Overall, the message and focus around infrastructure development and divestment are positives, though I expected more
Kishore Poduri, 37 (Mumbai)
Head, human resources
I found the removal of the fringe benefit tax in this year’s Budget very interesting. I did not expect this at all. I am a relatively active investor and this will mean more money in my hands to spend. The removal of the surcharge from personal income tax, too, is good for me.
Dinesh Rajan, 29 (Bangalore)
Client engagement manager, Wipro Eco Energy
Contributed by Mint reporters