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Relief a mockery

In Budget 2014, the income tax exemption limit has been increased by Rs 50,000 only. Savings of Rs 5,150 annually is too meager in this era of inflation. It is a mockery of the middle class. We expected more benefits from this government.

IPS Anand, Mani Majra

Widen tax base

This refers to the editorial “Tax base may widen” (July 10). Widening of the tax base has not taken place since Independence. In India, only 1% population pays effective income tax, whereas in the USA, it is 46%. Of this 1% population, 83% comprises workers and employees. The self-employed and businessmen constitute only 17% of income tax payees. 15 crore LPG connections in India are with the richest only, and they are availing themselves of subsidy @ Rs 6,000 per year for 12 cylinders, amounting to Rs 1 lakh crore. Of them, 14 crore people are not paying any income tax. There is no scope of any tax concession reaching any poor person. Very high VAT rates have resulted in very high profits and 20% to 25% increase in consumables’ rates annually. VAT collection from other than government connected businesses constitutes less than 5% of the total collection in a year. High tax rebates on home loans have resulted in high cement prices, more bank interest rates, more than five lakh flats/houses lying vacant, non-availability of cement and sand for infrastructures at reasonable rates. But they have benefited banks, cement manufactures and builders at the cost of public works. Extension of excise benefit to car manufactures, instead of increasing road tax (by basing on road costs) and promoting railways, may not result in ‘achhe din’ for the masses.

Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula

Health allocation low

The budget allocation for the healthcare sector which got just Rs 35,163 crore as compared to last year’s Rs 33,278 crore is disappointing since the increase is insignificant.

While the opening of new medical college is welcome, it looks rather absurd since the existing colleges are in a deplorable state, churning out substandard graduates. Bathinda, a small town, has four cath labs whereas there is no such lab in any government medical college. What is the use of opening five AIIMS-like institutions when there is a deficiency of doctors in rural areas? Unless the health budget is increased to about 5% of the GDP and radical health sector reforms are initiated to strengthen public healthcare services, nothing is going to change for the common man.

Dr Vitull K. Gupta, Bathinda

Health spending

Free drugs and diagnostic services can achieve health for all, but no budgetary provision has been made for this. National Institutes of Ageing to be set up at AIIMS, Delhi, and Chennai. A national-level research and referral institute to be set up for higher dental studies. AIIMS-like institutes to come up in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Purvanchal and Andhra Pradesh. Twelve new government medical colleges planned. New drug testing laboratories to be made. Fifteen model rural health research centres to be established. National programme to halt the deteriorating malnutrition status. Total expenditure of Rs 500 cr (within the overal budget allocation for health and family welfare) is budgeted for these new institutions.

The demand to increase spending on health has been ignored.

Dr Neeraj Nagpal, Chandigarh

‘Achhe din’ denied

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's maiden Budget has been unable to provide tough anti-corruption steps to prevent the various allocations of funds from being drained into the pockets of corrupt babus, businessmen and politicians. Interestingly, due to shortage of funds, important areas like food storage facilities, forest cover, urban reforestation and women’s safety failed to get adequate amounts. But to please PM Modi's dream project, the allocation of Rs 200 crore for the construction of a Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue has been made. This is not digestible. When will the 'acche din' come for all?

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Can’t please all

The Budget gives relief to the salaried class and senior citizens. Measures to improve employment opportunities, set up new institutions and give relief to the agricultural sector and farmers and SMEs are appreciable. Heavy taxing of tobacco products and reduction on items like footwear and soaps are welcome. Of course, it is difficult to satisfy everybody.

SC DHALL, Zirakpur

Do they deserve subsidy?

A government employee gets only around 10 months of pay in hand after doing 12 months of work because, on an average, two months’ pay goes either in taxes or compulsory savings. In this light, why subsidy is given for industry/institution/business which progresses five-folds within five years?

Dr Daler Singh Multani, Mohali

Rail privatisation

The Railway Budget candidly acknowledges the dismal dearth of resources in the Railways and proposes bold moves to boost its economic health. Financing projects through the PPP mode and FDI is needed for the infusion of funds. It will also facilitate technology transfer. Lessons should be learned from the process of privatisation of the railways in the UK and Japan. A hike in fares may impact the lives of daily commuters as well as prices of essential commodities. The government must warily tread the tightrope in balancing its commercial and social obligations.


Benefits for all

Apropos the editorial “Focus on jobs and growth: Modi budget gives no immediate achche-din feeling” (July 11), the Budget gives benefits to all sections of society. The income-tax exemption limit has been raised from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. It is good, but the people were expecting a Rs 5 lakh limit. The budget is also industry-friendly.

It is good that the smokers will have to pay almost three times more for cigarettes as the excise duty on them has been raised from 11% to 72%. Providing more IITs and IIMs is commendable, but the budget is silent on providing quality education in schools and colleges.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com



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