Earlier in Forum







Q: What kind of a Budget would you like the Union Finance Minister to present?
This is the fourth instalment of readers’ response

Broaden the tax structure

If wishes were horses, we’d all ride. The wishlist of the various sections of society and their expectations from the Budget make for an interesting reading. Each one wants a bigger piece of the pie, clamours for more without bothering that the larger share of one comes at the cost of another. The Finance Minister has the unenviable task of reconciling the conflicting demands of different sections of society.

We want the sun and the moon-higher exemption limits, more deductions, tax rebates, etc.—but when it comes to paying the taxes, we would like to pay at lower tax rates. But the moot question is-how does the Finance Minister meet the aspirations of the people without generating resources through the taxes?

I would like the Finance Minister to simplify and nationalise the tax regime. For better compliance and to simplify the tax structure, he should do away with the plethora of tax deductions and exemptions. He should broaden the tax structure by introducing moderate tax rates. The stress should be on checking the large-scale tax evasion and the generation of black money. He should address the inequality in distribution of tax border between the salaried and non-salaried classes.

— R. KASHYAP, Chandigarh

Increase minimum wages

The government should present the Budget once in five years, instead of every year, keeping in view opinions of all the people of the country, not just the Schedule Castes and the poor etc. The Union Finance Minister should dedicate this Budget to the workers of all hues, who crave for fair prices of essential goods. Experienced workers in the private sector are paid equal to the salary of a new peon in the government sector. In Himachal Pradesh, minimum wages are Rs 1,950 per month, while a peon in government service takes home Rs 6,000 (approximately) every month. In private factories, a worker gets only 1,950 per month and no other facility. The government should fix the minimum wages to make room for dignified living. I’m a worker; and I know the ground reality.

YOGRAJ GUPTA, Shoghi (Shimla)

Keep inflation under control

The Budget should be made in such a way that leads to the proper utilisation of funds. The top-most priority should be given to the primary sector, under which farmers and fisherman should be compensated for the losses suffered by them due to natural calamities. In the public sector, the income tax rebate for government employees should be increased, as the majority of the Indian population consists of the middle class. In order to improve the economy of our country, the private sector being self-sufficient and controller of the markets should be made to pay higher income tax.

The crux of the Budget lies in controlling the inflation rates. While allocating funds for education, railways and defence, the previous Budget along with the actual expenditure should be kept in mind and any change should be done accordingly. The government should provide some relief to the old people by increasing pension, concessions, etc.


Provide relief to old people

Some special concessions should be given to senior citizens in the Budget because they have done a lot of service to society. Now it is the duty of society/government to return the dues. The interest rate for fixed term deposits should be raised to 12 per cent because it is the only source of income for a majority of senior citizens. Payable monthly, the interest amount should be tax-free.

It should be mandatory for all state governments to issue instructions to their transport departments allowing senior citizens to travel by charging 5 per cent of the actual cost. The Finance Minister should act tough with the tax evaders to unearth black money. He should also provide some relief to the common man by reducing the prices of LPG and petrol.

— Er J. K. JAIN, Hisar

Ensure bread, cloth and shelter

The Finance Minister should first ensure the availability of basic requirements like bread, cloth and shelter to each and every citizen. Though India has made tremendous progress in the field of science and technology, it is pitiable to see old and young, men, women, even children, who have been forced to eke out a living by begging for food. It is ironical that hundreds of tonnes of wheat are rotting in godowns in a country where many people cannot afford one square meal! Sometimes when a young man is denied alms and told to do some work for earning, he replies: “Is there any job for me?” One can’t help but shut the door with heavy heart. I wish if the Finance Minister could help them through this Budget!

— USHA TANEJA, Fatehabad

It should be SSI-friendly

The Budget should be growth oriented and small-scale industry (SSI) friendly. The manufacturing sector in SSI should be encouraged to generate employment. Protection to major steel producers should be withdrawn. Custom duty on nickel should be brought down to zero. The service tax on the production of goods under business auxiliary should be withdrawn. The central excise eligibility limits should be raised to Rs 2 crore and Rs 5 crore, respectively. In order to compete at the international level, adequate and timely credit should be given to SSI at par with the housing sector. The audit limit should be raised to Rs 2 crore. Rates of income tax for individuals should be revised as follows: Above Rs 1 lakh but not exceeding Rs 2 lakh-10 per cent; above Rs 2 lakh but not exceeding Rs 5 lakh-20 per cent and above 5 lakh-25 per cent. Income tax assesses with PAN cards should be exempted from TDS/TCS. The proposed Value Added Tax (VAT) in the present form is not trade-friendly. Even the US has not adopted VAT as yet.


Make taxation system simple

People anxiously wait for their “dream Budget” with lot of expectations. Since the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are renowned economists who enjoy the support of Left parties, the people expect more pro-poor Budget. Special attention should be paid to the salaried class, backward classes, senior citizens, health, education, development, employment, rural infrastructure, NRI investment, capital market, etc. In addition, we should have more schemes like the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme to unearth black money. There is an utmost need to overhaul the taxation system so that prevailing corrupt practices come to an end. In spite of coalition politics, the Finance Minister should try to bring down the concessions extended to various sectors such as petroleum, electricity, civil, aviation and telecom.

— Dr S. K AGGARWAL, Amritsar

Give top priority to agriculture

Agriculture and employment generation should be given top priority in the Budget. The Finance Minister should subsidise seeds, fertilisers, electricity, pesticides and agro-tools. He should grant duty exemptions on machinery and equipment. Irrigation projects should be given more importance. The Budget should also promote the use of natural gas as source of energy. The Finance Minister should consider these suggestions to boost the rural economy.

— SANJAY KATWAL, Banjal (Mandi)

Strictly monitor implementation of schemes

The Union Finance Minister should keep in mind the interests of the common man, salaried class, small businessman, youth, senior citizens and pensioners before finalising the Budget. Unemployment should be checked. Big farmers should be brought under the income tax net. The agricultural land holding limit should be revised. Those who own houses above 10 marlas in big cities and one-kanal houses in small cities should also be brought under the income tax net. The interest rate on small savings should be enhanced. The interest rate on loan to unemployed youth to set up small industries in cities should not be more than 6 per cent, while in the rural area the loan should be interest free at least for 5 years. No tax should be levied on items like kerosene oil, gas, diesel and petrol, etc. The taxation system should be simplified. Various schemes launched for the common men need to be effectively implemented and properly monitored. Stringent laws should be introduced to check corruption.


Raise income tax exemption limit

The Finance Minister should revamp the taxation system. There should be a clear difference between the rich and poor taxpayers. How can we expect the poor to have the same tax structure as the rich? The Finance Minister should also take into consideration the difference between the service sector and the corporate sector before presenting the Budget. The income tax exemption limit should be raised to Rs 1 lakh for people belonging to the low-income group. This would automatically increase the purchasing power of the salaried class. The government should also ensure proper circulation of money to keep a check on inflation.

— Prof P.K. GUPTA, Bathinda

Take bold steps to unearth black money

People are eagerly waiting for the Harvard-educated Union Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram’s Budget for the year 2005-06. The first and foremost threat that India is facing today is the menace of black money, which is running a parallel economy in the country. It is proving a termite for the public, particularly the downtrodden class of society. The Finance Minister should take bold steps to unearth black money.

Secondly, the salaried class is suffering greatly due to a heavy dose of taxes. It is the only class that pays income tax honestly to the government. The Finance Minister should widen the tax base and lower the income tax rates, instead of doing the vice versa.

— SUSHIL KUMAR JAIN, Lehra Mohabat

Sports needs special attention

A Budget is like a good housekeeping. A good housewife plans her budget for the future by keeping each family member’s requirements in mind. The Finance Minister does the same thing. He should, too, cater to the needs of all people by narrowing down the gap between haves and have-nots. Subsidies extended to various sectors should be done away with. No compromises should be made on defence. Job-oriented education should get a boost. We have been poor performers at world-level sports. The Sports Ministry should be given more funds

— RAJMOHAN BHASIN, Yamunanagar


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