New Delhi: People from all walks of life hoped for tax relief measures, farm loan waivers and universal income scheme on Thursday, a day before unveiling of the interim Union Budget.
Anil Khaitan, Former President of PHD Chambers, said the income tax exemption limit for individuals should be raised to Rs 5 lakh. "For corporates, we have always said that exemptions and subsidies in tax rates should be removed. A flat levy rate of 20 per cent will increase tax compliance," he said.
"We need at least Rs 40 lakh crore budget to be able to focus on all sectors," said Khaitan adding that improving productivity of agriculture sector is very important. Marketing focus is necessary for farmers to get the income they deserve. This has to be meticulously implemented. Loan waiver is not a solution, he said. "Any country that waives off loans cannot do well, everything becomes a mess. Increasing productivity is necessary."
Sanjay Aggarwal, Vice President of PHD Chambers, appreciated the government's move last year to create the corporate tax slab of 25 per cent. Unnecessary taxation only leads to tax evasion. "Our only request is to not levy any surcharge. Tax rates for individuals should also not be more than 25 per cent." Aggarwal said universal basic income is a good concept.
Sunil Sinha, Principal Economist at India Ratings, said according to the 2011-12 agricultural census, the land owned by small and marginal farmers has to be multiplied as Rs 10,000 per acre. "This amount has to be provided as income benefit in this year's budget. In terms of GDP, this is 72 basis point." As this is an interim budget, he said the expectations are not much.
Shivkumar Kakkaji, National President of Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, said the Budget must announce waiver of loans to farmers. Labourers and farmers do not have the capacity to work after 60 years of age. Something should be done about income for people with no means of livelihood. "If the Centre does not fulfill our aspirations, the country will witness the same situation like in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (ousting of BJP)."
Dhansingh Atri, a farmer in Jaipur, also called for waiving loans for all farmers. "We should get sufficient income in return for our produce, which we are not getting presently. We believe the government will pay heed to our demands and also provide a stable source of income for farmers and labourers above the age of 60 years in the form of pension and other facilities. We will oppose the Centre if it doesn't fulfill our demands."
A jeweller from Mumbai said the import duty on gold should be reduced from 10 per cent to 5 or 6 per cent. The government had also made it mandatory to submit PAN card on purchase of gold worth Rs 2 lakh and above. "A lot of housewives who come to buy gold don't have it. Hence this bracket must be increased."
Nitin Gupta, a trader based in Kanpur, hoped the government will keep in mind the welfare of business community in the budget. "With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in place, we want the government to remove mandi shulk (cess)."
Ashok Gupta, a grocery shop owner, relief measures must be introduced for small traders. The quarterly tax returns to be filed should be converted to yearly returns."
Vaibhav Anand, a wholesale trader, said, the inflation is low and people have great expectations from the Modi government. "Our problems are continuously being solved, and we expect things will get even better in future. We are hopeful of growth in business."
Annu Kapur, a trader, said small businesses are facing problems. "We request the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to present a balanced budget which is beneficial to the poor."
Chandrakant, another trader for Mumbai who has been running a grocery shop for about 40 years, said the government is doing good work but business and retail community is not growing. "The malls and online businesses are getting more benefits. I appeal to the government to pay more attention towards retail traders."
Homemaker Chanchal Kapur also expressed hope and asked for reduction in prices of daily-use items. "The cost of cooking cylinder has increased. Pulses and vegetables are priced high. From school fees to daily grocery items, prices are increasing."
Daksha, a student from Mumbai, said the government must reduce the prices of commodities like rice and wheat. Besides, the tax slabs must be increased.
Sandhya Shah, a Mumbai-based homemaker, said prices of household items must come down. "Gold rates should also be reduced." Kripa, another homemaker, also voiced similar sentiments.
Prema Rathi, a housewife, said the upcoming budget should reduce the burden on homemakers. "As of now, we have to think a lot before purchasing anything as prices are very high."