Common man welcomes budget, terms it pro-middle class

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (UNI) With a large number of sops announced for the poor and underprivileged section of society, the Union Budget 2008-09, presented today by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, won effusive praise from the commoners who hailed the budget as pro-poor and pro-middle class.

The measures for increasing limit for tax exemption for the salaried class and with its strong thrust on spending on social sections like health and education, the Budget was welcomed by the middle class who described it as a welcome change in contrast to the earlier Union Budget unveiled by Mr Chidambaram.

For the common man raising the limit of tax exemption to Rs 1.5 lakh, from Rs 1.10 lakh at present, that is a saving of tax to the tune of nearly Rs 5000 in his tax payable.

''The raising in tax exemption would mean I will be able to spend some extra amount, which earlier went into tax saving investment for improving my standard of living,'' Rohit Sharma, a Chartered accountant said.

Smriti Sinha, a working women said now with an increase in the exemption limit for women from Rs 1.4 lakh to Rs 1.8 lakh per year, she would not have to pay her hard earned money on tax, instead she can spend it on her family.

Adds Nandita Sinha, a professor at the Delhi University, ''The budget has been a sharp contrast to earlier budgets by Mr Chidambaram in that it give the middle class much to cheer about.'' At the same time, others felt that the budget did nothing to curb the rise in essential commodities. Also, it is feared that the burden of Rs 60,000 crore waiver of farmer loans could be passed on to the common man in form of taxes.

''There is nothing in the budget to check prices of essential commodities. So, while on one hand, one has to pay less in terms of tax, the unabated rise in commodity prices would mean the extra amount saved would be spend to meet the price spiral,'' Chandan Sharma, an economist said.

A large number of people, however, expressed indifference on the budget proposals.

''Every year, one witnesses so much media frenzy over the Budget.

But what matters is how it ultimately affects the common man in the long run. Thus, the real impact of the budget proposals would only be clear in the coming days,'' Shweta Sharma, a housewife said.

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