If a fancy dinner at an air-conditioned restaurant is your idea of spending a quiet Friday evening, be prepared to dish out more.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s Union Budget on Thursday has proposed that service charge be extended to all AC hotels, irrespective of whether they serve alcohol or not, making eating out a costlier option.

“Hyderabad is known for its love of food and we go out for lunch or dinner every other day. This [the Budget proposal] is going to burn a hole in our already-burdened pockets,” rued S. Neha, a financial analyst. Service charge of 12 per cent was earlier imposed only on AC hotels that served alcohol, with the others being exempt from the levy. Mr. Chidambaram has, however, proposed to do away with this distinction.

Costlier smartphones

While party animals are in for a tough time, those looking to upgrade to smartphones will also have to shell out more.

“Smartphones have become a norm these days. At a time when the market is gradually stabilising with companies rolling out good models at cheaper rates, this increase in duty comes as a dampener,” G.K. Raju, an engineering student said.

“I will now have a tough time convincing my dad to get me a new phone,” he lamented.

Cheaper apparel

But while prices of some of items are set to rise, others like ready-made dresses and handlooms will become cheaper.

“It is a welcome move to remove the excise duty from branded apparel and give the much-needed boost to a sluggish market,” manager of a multi-store retail outlet said.

Despite discount offers, sales have been on the lower side this year and removal of excise duty comes at the right time, he added.