Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s first full-fledged Budget evoked mixed reactions among the Kochiites.
Many pointed out the Budget had not reflected the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s promise of ‘ache din’ (good days) for the common man.
N.K. Vijayan, retired faculty member of Ernakulam Maharaja’s College, said the Budget had disappointed the tax payers, especially the salaried class and pensioners.
“The gap between word and deed is getting wider with each Budget. Taxable income ceiling should at least have been raised by Rs. 1 lakh. Similarly, the limit for deductions allowed under section 80C should have been increased. The Finance Minister rode roughshod over the hopes of the common man,” he said.
Stating that the salaried class had expected an increase in the maximum limit of income not to be considered taxable, V. K. Premachandran, a bank employee, said a hike in increase in limit for deductions allowed under section 80C would have increased the amount of disposable income in the hands of individuals. “The Budget could have given more relief to the middle class,” he said.
Hansa Johny, homemaker, said the Budget would not bring any marked difference in the lives of people like her. “As a single woman, it is of no benefit to me. The decision to increase the service tax from 12.36 per cent to 14 per cent will affect my monthly Budget. The Budget may have brought cheers to the rich but not to the common man,” she said.
Terming the Budget as not ‘populist’, B. Ajithkumar, a manager with a private company here, said the Finance Minister seemed to have tried to come up with a development-oriented Budget. “Despite inflation under control, the prices of many essential items have not come down as expected. We have to wait and see how it will impact the lives of common man in the long-term,” he said.
Fannie Correya, a management student at the School of Management Studies at Cochin University of Science and Technology, suggested that the nearly Rs. 68,000 crore earmarked for the education sector should be utilised for stepping up infrastructure and basic facilities in educational institutions.