Staff Reporter

Rising prices of commodities worry citizens

  • Relief from escalating prices of essential commodities sought
  • `Middle class taxpayers are overly burdened with taxes already imposed'

    NEW DELHI: Fearing an increase in the prices of essential commodities after the upcoming Union Budget, 45 per cent of Delhiites covered by a pre-Budget survey want Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to lower the prices of all essential products.

    Over-burdened

    In the pre-Budget survey conducted in the Capital by market research firm Shyam Vyas MARC between February 17 and 24, an overwhelming 75 per cent of the respondents said the middle class taxpayers were "overly burdened with taxes already imposed".

    Though 40 per cent of the respondents sounded happy with the current economic situation, 68 per cent were apprehensive that the Union Budget-2007 might hit their personal and family budget.

    While reduction in prices of essential commodities was on the wish list of 63 per cent, reduction in Income Tax rates was sought by 32 per cent.

    Sixty per cent of the respondents even blamed the high tax burden for forcing the "middle class honest taxpayer to become dishonest". Lowering of the tax burden was on the wish list of 35 per cent of the respondents and 8 per cent specifically wished for increased levels of exemption limit.

    Protest threat

    Seeking relief from escalating prices of essential commodities, 92 per cent said citizens "need to protest any further price increase of necessities like pulses, onions and potatoes".

    A significant 88 per cent want taxpayers to be treated well in return for having paid taxes, while 64 per cent want to be provided facilities, 52 per cent want to be treated with dignity. Forty-four per cent expect the tax burden to decrease, while 36 per cent fear that it might increase.

    Respondents also wished for benefits for senior citizens, more jobs, economic growth and increased allocations for education and infrastructure.

    While 80 per cent want creation of infrastructure to be given more attention, 72 per cent want more jobs, 64 per cent want better law and order, 68 per cent want controlling prices and 52 want speedy justice.

    A whopping 98 per cent are also dissatisfied with the recent Rs.2 slash in petrol prices, 56 per cent said the cut in fuel prices was not enough. Spelling bad news for the ruling Congress party, 68 per cent of the respondents have decided not to vote for it in the next elections, while 38 per cent have expressed little faith in the Opposition as well.

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