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Union Budget
Is grouse of salaried middle class with Union Budget 2018 justified!
Apart from big discussion going on about the direction of the Union Budget 2018 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitly last week in the Lok Sabha and also questions being raised on the efficiency of Narendra Modi government in giving the right direction to our economy, most vocal section of the population, the salaried people, particularly government employees are making hue and cry about the budget.

Salaried and pensioner middle class people expected Jaitley to provide more tax relief to them. When Jaitley didn’t touched upon that topic, all of them were shocked. They started stating that this government is least bothered about the welfare of its employees.

As a matter of fact, the government employees are the most pampered lot in the country. They get hefty salaries in comparison to venerable sections of the population and most professionals, despite their negligence and irresponsible behaviour. As they are most organised section, no government dares to question them.

Jaitley may not give them greater tax reliefs but in fact various measures have been taken which benefit them most. Lest us examine few such aspects.

Home loan interest rate at the end of 2013 was between 9.5 to 11.25 per cent. It has come down to under 8.5 per cent now (keeping SBI as reference). Even a difference of 2 per cent rate in a loan of Rs 30 lakh gives you savings of Rs 45,000 annually, as per SBI Home loan calculator. Is that not for the middle class?

Average Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 10.92 per cent in 2013, while it is 2.49 per cent right now. Just imagine, what would have been the prices of the goods of common usage if such a high CPI rate was still there?

Fiscal deficit was 4.1 per cent in 2013, while it has been targeted to be 3.3 per cent for 2018 (through this budget only). If we don’t reign in the fiscal deficit, it will lead to manipulation of capital structures, interest rates, leading to decrease of net exports and in even higher taxes and higher inflation. So, dear friends, the budget is also aimed at keeping the inflation in check (such are the strange ways of economics).

However, the one thing which I can’t understand are the fuel prices. Petrol was priced at Rs 78.46 in Mumbai in 2013, while it is now Rs 80.94. Same is the case with Diesel as it was Rs 60.8 in 2013 and now it is Rs 68.25.

Let us now come to the moot point, that is, the tax rebate for salaried middle class. Big decisions like these can never be viewed in Silo. We also need to find out a pattern and if there is any rationale behind it. Most of us were expecting at least a tax slab raise to Rs 3 lakh per annum from Rs 2.5 Lakh per annum, which means a saving of Rs 2,500 per annum as it in any case fetches a tax of 5 per cent only to the government or Rs 208 per month. Is it such a big amount that our world will turn upside down? Remember, it is just saving of Rs 2,500 for us but for the government, it is an extra spend of Rs 2500 x 6.3 crore = Rs 15,750 crore. Is it a small amount? So, just for the sake of savings of Rs 208 per month, the government would have to bear the brunt of Rs 15,750 crore extra and remember, this would have been further added into fiscal deficit as explained above, which in any case would come_ back to haunt you in the form of higher taxes and inflation.

Now, comes the most important point. Go through it and then decide your voting preference. From 2009 to 2014, the tax rebate ceiling was increased from Rs 1.6 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per annum. From 2014 till date, the ceiling has been increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh. For senior citizens, it has been increased to Rs 3 lakh and for very senior citizens, it has been increased to Rs 5 lakh. Home loan deduction limit has been hiked to Rs 2 Lakh. Also, don’t forget that on Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh of income, you are now required to pay 5 per cent tax instead of the earlier 10 per cent and also, the standard deduction of Rs 40,000 has also come into the picture now.

Stent prices were reduced to Rs 35,000 from Rs 1.5 lakh and knee replacement cost dropped down to Rs 45,000 from Rs 1.5 lakh. Insurance of Rs 2 lakh at an annual premium of Rs 333 is also been given by this government. Are these not for the middle class?

This government is the one which has actually given the most to the salaried/pensioner middle class and we are planning to remove the same government and to bring one which in any case will keep taking taxes from us and will keep filling its pockets instead of using the taxpayers' money properly!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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