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Middle class not holding high hopes with upcoming budget

As the Modi government gears up to present its last budget before the General Elections, everyone’s eyes are trained on what this budget holds for them. With PM Narendra Modi already having indicated that this budget will not be a populist budget, the businessmen and ordinary citizens are hoping that this budget will offer them at least some relief from the blows they have been dealt by demonetsation and GST.

Talking to India Today, a government servant claimed that the middle class of India has only two demands, an increased rebate in Income Tax and cashless medical facility. He said that the Skill Development Mission started by the Modi government will make better-trained labour available to India industries soon and this budget could give the education sector some relief, in order to make education less expensive.

He said that this budget will probably lay the foundation of social security schemes for the middle class, which is the biggest tax-paying class in India. He hoped that the standard deduction in Income Tax will be raised to Rs 5 lakh in view of the high inflation in the country.

A bank employee claimed that the Bank NPAs are increasing every year and although the bank employees have been demanding strong action towards recovering these NPAs, so far the government has been non-committal on this. Giving out sops to farmers in the form of farm loan waiver and schemes like Jan Dhan accounts have only increased the load on banks, while their income has come down, increasing their losses.

CA Dipika Mittal was also of the opinion that the middle class should be given some relief by increasing the standard deduction limit in Income Tax. Apart from that, the government should also provide funding for the schemes that had been launched for the protection of women.

Also, the Income Tax standard deduction for pensioners should be higher than those who are still working as these pensioners have already spent their productive phase of life paying taxes and now it is time for them to reap the fruit of their labours. Clubbing the pensioners with ordinary citizens was not correct.

Agra City Congress General Secretary Mohd. Sharif Kale said that since the Modi government has come into power, the middle class, as well as the people belonging to the low-income group, are suffering badly. First demonetsation and then GST have destroyed businesses countrywide and the businessmen, salaried people as well as the labourers were in trouble. If the middle class and the poor are not given any relief, then the Modi government shall also feel the heat of the anger of these classes in the 2019 elections. The people will expel Modi government from power and bring back the Congress.

When India Today tried to contact the nine BJP MLAs and two BJP MPs of Agra regarding their thoughts about the impending budget, they refrained from making any direct comments on the budget, and only said that the budget will be for everyone in the country and nobody will be left out.

(Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/middle-class-not-holding-high-hopes-with-upcoming-budget-1155127-2018-01-26)

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