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No relief for the common man

The budget of the UPA government came a cropper for the common man and the very next day, oil companies announced a petrol price hike adding insult to injury.

Where is the relief for the common man? Inflation has not been showing a downward trend inspite of the so called big reformist speeches and measures by the government. The middle class continues to suffer.

The need of the hour is some tax relief by increasing the basic rate of exemption even though that would also have been consolatory. The government has till now not yet announced the DA which is due from January 2013. Who will address the woes of the middle class with no relief coming from any quarter?

The prices of essential commodities have been skyrocketing and the oil companies are free to increase the prices of petrol and diesel whenever they like.



The budget provisions are against the interests of the rising middle class. Duty on set top boxes has been hiked from 5 to10 per cent, inspite of television being a household necessity. The cost of digitalisation of TV shall be more as government has made it compulsory in many cities and slowly it shall be applicable across the country. The duty on mobile phones priced at more than Rs 2,000 has been raised to 6 per cent, another requirement which even the poor class possess now.

Service tax on all air conditioned restaurants will add to the burden of the women folk and never relieve them of the kitchen stress. The only provision in favour of the middle class is the tax deduction for a first time home loan holder.



The editorial ‘Spend and grow’ can be read as ‘grow and spend’. Industrial and agriculture growth is the key to economic growth. Infrastructure and foreign investments, plugging tax evasion/ leakages, enlarging tax base, austerity in government spending, measures deterrent to economic offences are some of the steps that can make the sun shine through the dark clouds.

What we now essentially need is to increase the agricultural yield by two-three times, as is the case in advanced countries like Israel, the US, Australia, etc. It will have a direct impact on wealth growth and denting poverty. Over the years, the number of APL families has increased. Mitigating miseries of the BPL multitudes is still a dire need and a social responsibility. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The rich should live simple, so that the poor can simply live”.

BM SINGH, Amritsar


No provision has been introduced to check black money, which is essentially used to win elections. While people were still calculating the cascading affect of the budget, petrol price was hiked by Rs 1.40 per litre. The actual increase in rate for consumers will be higher after including the state taxes. This is a betrayal of the nation as it came a day after the presentation of the budget in Parliament. Pete Seeger sang “it is time for people to decide which side they are on”?

SK KHOSLA, Chandigarh


The Finance Minister’s carefully crafted budget for 2013-14 seeks growth and balances populism and prudence. It is a balancing act between economics and politics in view of the next general election. He hopes for a fiscal deficit of 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2013-14 as against 5.2 per cent in the current year and also a continued commitment to control the revenue deficit at a time when economy has crashed from 9 per cent growth rate to an abysmal 5 per cent. Nevertheless, it is a far cry from his "dream budget" of 1997.

There are no fireworks, no change in income tax slabs, no benefits to middle class or senior citizens much to their disappointment. Majrooh Sultanpuri's couplet explains this predicament :Main to jab jaanun ke bhar de sagar har khaas-o-aam/ Yun to jo aayaa vohi peer-e-muughaan banta gaya.



The Finance Minister could have been more considerate to the ex-servicemen. The army veterans survive on pension which is taxed at source. As a result, what they get is not enough to lead a life of dignity. The JCOs, and other ranks (OR) normally work as security guards outside banks, offices, etc and do petty jobs for businessmen, which is quite demeaning for a soldier. So, the government must consider paying pension to its soldiers without taking away a chunk from it by way of income tax. It is not income, it is their basic sustenance.

Col RD SINGH (retd), Ambala  Cantt


Chidambaram’s budget was welcomed by the middle class, farmers and the poor. It is a budget made for the countrymen. The budget  has focused on women security, rural upliftment, education, health, defence, et al. Giving this type  of  a budget  in the present circumstances was a  difficult  task  but  the finance  minister did his job well.


No money for medical bills

The Punjab Government cries hoarse of being cash-strapped but there is no dearth of funds for unnecessary expenditure. Lakhs of rupees have been spent on renovation of bungalows and providing luxury cars to ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats. The government can also afford astronomical sums of money to pay singers and actors for performances but it is reluctant to pay the meagre amounts of medical reimbursements claimed by pensioners who are aged, ailing and are in the twilight of their life.

The medical bills of government pensioners have been gathering dust for the last several months. Their request to the Finance Minister has gone unheeded. How does the government expect the society to show respect to senior citizens when the government itself is neglecting them?

BR PREENA, Amritsar



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