Union Budget 2011: What's in store for janta?

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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Feb 28: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is not someone who would have butterflies in his stomach before presenting the Sixth Union Budget for the year 2011 in Parliament today. But its the Indian public that are having the pre-budget jitters with the inflation lion riding high and mighty and the black money scandal threatening to impact the economy in a negative way.

There are strong indications that the Finance Minister will ease the common man's woes by increasing the income tax exemption limit. While, the rising onion prices and fuel charges gave the aam-aadmi more reasons to cry, the upcoming budget is likely to see a hike in service tax and excise duty on manufactured products like cars, TV intended to curb the fiscal deficit.

With possible good news for the salaried class, the government seems to be considerate on the woes of the middle-class by proposing a tax exemption limit of up to Rs 2 lakh per year, which means that the wallet stays fatter than usual. The present limit is Rs 1.60 lakh for men, Rs 1.9 lakh for working women and Rs 2.4 lakh for senior citizens.

The one piece of news that the janta wants to hear will be tax cuts on fuels. The prices of petrol and diesel have shot up substantially over the past few months making commuting dearer. The food inflation was also a cause of worry for households both rural and urban and as pointed out by the Economic Survey, “food inflation has been in double digits for 76 weeks since June 5, 2009."

“The inflationary pressures on the domestic front are likely to be exacerbated by the higher levels of global commodity prices," the Finance Minister has been quoted as saying during the presentation of the Economic Survey for 2010-11 in Parliament on Friday.

The Black Money issue continues to hog the limelight and has become the talk-of-the-town and allegations of the governments inaction towards defaulters. The Finance Minister could suggest immunity schemes to offenders who pay up and reveal details on the black money stashed abroad.

Sources have revealed that Mukherjee is likely to increase service tax from 10% to 12%.

With all eyes on Pranab Mukherjee at the moment, certain sections of the media have called the to-be-tabled budget the 'Budget of Hope'. There are lots of pressing matters that Pranab needs to address to bring the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 9 per cent in the next fiscal from 8.6 per cent.

Let us all hope that the Finance Minister will be able to rise up to the aam-aadmi's hopes.

OneIndia News

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