Union budget 2013 was one of the most anticipated budgets in recent years because of the timing; the GDP growth has touched the nadir and we have general elections next year. It was logical to conclude that the budget would be either a highly disciplined or highly populist one.
In the end, it turned to be neither. First, it is hard to imagine the fiscal deficit coming down to 4.8 per cent next year without any substantial raise in revenue receipts. A surcharge on just 42,800 super-rich (really?) cannot achieve the purpose. Second, the budget has nothing that can provide an advantage to the UPA, let alone guarantee votes for it. In the end, the country is paying the price for bad governance in recent years.
The proposed surcharge on the “super-rich” taxpayers is an eyewash to counter the charge that the UPA government harasses only the middle class and salaried people, and is not interested in taxing the rich. Those falling in this category must be surely more in number. The Income Tax authorities should be more vigilant in detecting the evasion by the rich.
While the Finance Minister’s proposal to increase duty on high-end cars and motorcycles is welcome, his proposal to increase the duty on mobile phones priced at above Rs. 2,000 will not be liked by many, especially the youth. Most people use mobile phones which cost more than Rs.2,000 and smart phones have become the order of the day. The budget is a big disappointment to pensioners.
People had pinned their hopes on the budget. But Mr. Chidambaram has not addressed any major issue relating to the relief of the common man and the pathetic conditions of senior citizens. The budget will lead to a further increase in the prices of all essential commodities and services, including medical care. The inflationary trend will continue unabated. The budget may not be harsh but it is certainly not citizen friendly.
Mr. Chidambaram deserves to be complimented on presenting a forward looking budget in a difficult socio-political environment. His well thought-out proposals will go a long way in stimulating industrial growth, boosting exports, strengthening infrastructure, promoting competition and opening up additional opportunities for employment. The argument that the budget will boost inflation and recession is misplaced. On the contrary, the measures will contain inflation. A sizeable allocation for the social and agricultural sector gives the hope that the urban and rural poor can look forward to a better tomorrow.
K. Gopakumar Menon,
The budget will certainly affect the masses financially, favourably or not. This is one side of the financial implication. Apart from this, people are adversely affected by factors such as a parallel economy, corruption, black money and fake notes. We somehow think there is no way to eliminate them. Even Ministers are of the opinion that there is no magic wand to do away with corruption. Who, then, will do something to bring normality in the economic activities and fairness of outcome?
Keywords: Union budget 2013