Something for everybody
This refers to the column “A well-balanced Budget” (FE, March 2). Though the NDA government’s first full-year Budget carries no big bang economic reforms but bold steps have been taken that are boosters for the country’s economy and growth. The finance minister has laid low the allegation that the government was pro-corporate, anti-farmer, anti-labour, anti-poor, and anti-aam aadmi, by announcing a number of measures and social security schemes for the agriculture sector, labourers, underprivileged, and the aam aadmi. Contrary to the apprehensions, the highest-ever budget allocation has been provided to the UPA’s flagship programme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). It needs to be mentioned that the two major shortcomings of the scheme have been the corruption in its implementation and the expenditure of thousands of crore of rupees without any permanent asset creation; these need to be plugged. While the critical reaction of the opposition parties was on expected lines, the media, the economic experts, and the industry have largely welcomed it. However, the largest and most honest section of taxpayers, the salaried middle class, is genuinely aggrieved that there has been no hike in the tax exemption limit and in the limit of savings exempted under section 80-C. Finance minister Arun Jaitely should announce reasonable hikes in these limits during the Budget discussion.
Fines fine, not prisons
Apropos of the Union Budget FY 16, a series of superior measures—in the form of prosecution, punishments, penalties and fines—have been announced for those who fail to file the income tax returns in good time. Keeping in mind the present shortage of prisons, which are already bursting at seams, this announcement would entail a separate ministry for construction and upkeep of additional prisons across the nation, indirectly generating an opportunity for companies/industries engaged in construction and upkeep of prisons.
TS Karthik, Chennai
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