Nirmala Sitharaman’s tweet has given citizens hope that their ideas will be incorporated into the final budget document. (Pradeep Gaur/Mint)
Nirmala Sitharaman’s tweet has given citizens hope that their ideas will be incorporated into the final budget document. (Pradeep Gaur/Mint)

What Indians want from their finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman

  • The FM’s call for ideas drew a myriad of responses—from higher taxes on jewellery to sops for dishwashers
  • Timed as it was exactly a month before the budget is to be presented on 5 July, Sitharaman’s tweet has given people hope that their ideas will be incorporated

NEW DELHI : Higher taxes on jewellery purchases, regulation for cryptocurrency, lower interest rates for educational loan, legalizing gambling, plans for rehabilitation of beggars, defence spending, subsidies for dishwashers—there’s little off the table when citizens think about the budget.

On 6 June, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was flooded with responses when she asked social media users for ideas about what the upcoming #Budget2019 should contain. Some of the suggestions border on zany, others are extraordinarily earnest, but overall, the responses are a reading of how people—at least those with internet access—view the budget and what their pressing concerns are.

“This is a serious effort to get a sense of what people want from the budget," said a finance ministry official, who asked not to be named.

Timed as it was exactly a month before the budget is to be presented on 5 July, Sitharaman’s tweet has given people hope that their ideas will be incorporated into the final document. One response on Twitter was: “A minister who is willing to listen… Novel. Welcome idea…"

More than 2,000 suggestions poured in from Twitter users within a day, asking her for everything from broad-based tax breaks and disinvestment in public sector undertakings to universal basic income. The ideas have come in through Twitter comments on Sitharaman’s original post, MyGov and other platforms.

Whether she incorporates the suggestions into her final document or not, by tapping into the raw wisdom of the crowd, the new minister has given every person a sense of involvement in what is usually considered a rather hard-to-understand exercise.

“The response has been great. The finance minister is also meeting experts from various sectors to get new ideas. Which of them is included in the budget will only be known when the budget is presented," said the finance minstry official cited earlier.

There is a note of caution, of course: “The ideas that involve extra spending will also need to be considered from the view of the resources available to the government," the official added.

Mint brings you a curated list of the tweets.

ON TAXATION

Prateek Bhardwaj‏ @iam_realprateek:

Dear @nsitharaman Ji, Kindly reconstitute the Income Tax Slab as follows -

For Individuals (less than 60 years)

Up to 5L - Exempt

5L-7.5L - 5%

7.5L-10L - 10%

10L-25L- 15%

25L-1Cr- 20%

Above 1Cr - 30% + Surcharge @ 5% on High Income Individuals

Kumar abhishek @Krabhishek17081:

Madam FM please change tax slab of exemption from 2.5 to at least 7.5 lakh as purchasing power of us middle class consumers has dipped a lot.#Budget2019 Thank you.

Ashutosh Mohan‏ @amohan56:

#Budget2019 mam... the limit for eligibility for presumptive tax for professionals should be increased from 50 lakhs to 1cr. It will save us and the tax authorities a lot of unnecessary paperwork... and surely increase compliance

IamPrashant @prashant6252:

@nsitharaman Hon mam, we need to make sure more & more ppl file IT returns, Right now TDS is done only for salaried ppl. Education & home loans (1st home) should be brought down to help middle class! Infrastructure like Road, healthcare, public transport should be up to the mark #Budget2019

Rajkumar @Rajumrani:

@nsitharaman Respected Madam provide additional tax relief for those who take care of their dependent senior citizen parents. #Budget2019

ChowkidarBharatiya‏ @tarun_bhuyan:

Any thing for IT Payer’s security, when they go jobless? While we earn TDS is cut before salary is paid but none bothers when they go jobless. @narendramodi

Rahul Gupta @rahul2003ind:

Please do something for homebuyers. Builders are taking 12% GST but refusing to give benefit of Input Tax Credit.

Raghu Aiyar @RaghuAiyar:

TDS on professional fees @10% is cruel: add payment of GST on accrual @18%, the total of 28 is often more than profitability.Untenable! Reduce all TDS rates to max 3% Larger issue: ALL tax should be only on cash basis, going by 4 Canons of AdamSmith -> direct+indirect:Relief!

Dr Sharma @SharmaSarav:

How about Abolishing Income Tax & Introducing Expenditure Tax

shashwat55233‏ @shashwat55233:

Legalise gambling - tax it. Will create employment, boost for tourism and govt revenue. Make it strict for Indians to get in like a Singapore if that’s the concern

ON ECONOMIC POLICY

Snowy @snowy862011:

To increase job opportunities and talent in Govt. Service, abolish entry age & retirement age. Introduce fixed length of Total service for e.g 30/ 32 years cap #Budget2019

vidyoth @vidyoth2:

ayurvedic clusters shall be promoted #budget2019

Srinivasan Selvaraj @S_Srinivasan:

#Budget2019 @nsitharaman Madam, Please stop providing subsidised Rice, Wheat, Sugar in PDS. Instead pls introduce Direct Benefit Transfer to the beneficiary accounts. Cost saved, Corruption avoided, prevents loss of grains while transporting and in warehouses.

Pooja Pambhar:

This year more focus should be given on bridging the education and employability based learning... And should promote communication infrastructure in rural areas

Jayakrishna Velampati:

Can all fuelling stations be mandated to have electric charging facilities also in phased manner.

Suresh B:

The most important task for reviving growth is reviving the capital investment cycle. Otherwise, in two years we will be staring at a massive problem. To encourage new investments in factories, plants and machinery, government needs to bring back Investment Allowance, allowed in the year of investment, apart from depreciation (allowed from the year if use). India had moved away from this, but for 3-4 years, this is a must. Please study the old scheme and improve on it.

Bhavyashree:

Importance should be given to job opportunity for all fields. because percentage of unemployed graduates are increasing... and there should be regulation to college fees

Chirag Gandhi:

Government should stop doing business and dispose off all holdings in PSUs. Completely privatise them. The proceeds which would be received should be used to pay off government debt.

Santanu Datta:

Direct money transfer to the poor people by digital ration card link with Aadhaar card. According to NSS survey digital ration card is given to priority household to economically weak family, on the basis of that direct cash benefit can be given to poor families.

This will reduce the gap between rich and poor. This will ultimately help Indian economy. Introduce universal income scheme for poor people. This will be a historic step to Indian economy.

Gorsi Mohit

Education is becoming very expensive in the private schools which is unaffordable for the middle class family and they can’t send their children in government school because of lack of good environment and quality. Either government should subsidise the education in private school so that it can be accessible to the middle class or government should constitute a committee to monitor the exorbitant fees charged by private schools.

ON the RURAL SECTOR

Dr Swapnil Mantri:

Invest in more storage and refrigeration facilities in a country where one third of the farm produce spoils for the lack of them. Increase mandis-markets authorised to sell farm produce – from 7,600 to 42,000 nationwide, so that there is one within a radius of 5 km.

Nirmal Kumar Ganguly @NirmalGanguly:

@nsitharaman Another huge problem with India is logistics and there is no policy solely focused on farm to dinning table or to support MSME sector with logistics.

China is way ahead of India in logistics. Farm logistic is as simple-farmer-mandis-retail-consumer, need to have more mandis

Venkateswaran G. @TheIndianist:

Can this indirect fertilizer subsidy be given to Farmers directly as cash? Let Farmers decide what type of fertilizer they need for their farms. #Budget2019

OUTLIERS

Indian Globetrotting‏ @Globetrotting_:

#Budget2019 To save water Can we give subsidy to buy Dishwasher? A dishwasher uses only 5l of water for cleaning at a time. A maid may use 50l instead of this. Though costly, in future it will save water.

Manish Vasu @MANISHVASU2:

Please make a consortium of top 250 Indian companies under single umbrella, which can acquire foreign firms and can make impact over the foreign ventures and Chinese firms.#Budget2019

Abhishek Soni @7045abhishek:

For India’s new budget all the products should be sale with 0.5 to 1% army text. It should be very helpful for Army man.

Vinay Kumar @Vinaymcu307:

#Budget2019 we all homebuyers waiting for our dream home since 10 years. Hope our new FM help HB and provide 1000 crore as stress fund to start Amrapali projects. It ll back after completion of projects.pls consider #AmrapaliFlatBuyers #CheatedHomeBuyers

Paras Lehana @paras_lehana:

Please arrive at a modern regulatory policy for crypto-currency. India has already progressing in Blockchain tech - we don’t want to miss out the most successful project on it, right?

Let’s stay ahead with the technology. Crypto is what internet was in 90s.

Hitesh @HiteshRathi0803:

Beggars in India is big team.. government can divert them for Swachch Bharat abhiyaan by paying for there work. so we can reach our goal fast .. no beggars will remain... all get some work ...#Budget2019

Vijayan Nambiar @VijayanNambiar1:

We have car loans at lesser rate than education loans. Education loans interest rate needs to be brought down to rate of inflation.

Shiv @Shivfreespirit:

We need a Good Number of Regulated Bitcoin Exchanges in India. #Budget2019

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