Friday, 19 January 2018

Budget 2018: What’s on Common Man's Wishlist

With less than two weeks to go before the last regular Budget under the NarendraModi Government, it is expected that the Union Budget 2018-2019 will be populist in nature, trying to satisfy as many as possible. The middle class is waiting with bated breath and will be hoping that the Government fulfills the common man's wish list for February 1.

Let’s look at some of the budget expectations of the common man for this upcoming budget.

Tax slabs revision-With proposals calling for expanding the exemption limit from Rs 2.5 lakh per annum to Rs 3 lakh, many are hoping that Jaitley will deliver this on February 1. Industry bodies have also asked finance ministry to rationalise personal income tax slabs.

Increase in investment in tax-saving schemes- Currently, deduction of a maximum Rs 1.5 lakh is allowed to all individual taxpayers for investing in various tax saving schemes. The common man wants a hike in this limit which will allow individuals to save more and use their savings into capital markets.

Job creation- According to a report, projected figure for unemployment in India in 2018 is 18 million. It's a worrying figure for a government that had promised to create 1 crore jobs after coming to power. The people want to see the government delivering on PM NarendraModi's electoral promises by introducing the country's first National Employment Policy (NEP) in the Budget.

Focus on skill development- The area of skill development needs much attention and the people want Budget 2018 to allocate sizeable funds for skill development aimed at employment. After all, for a growing economy like India, skill development is a vital driver of employment.

Make housing more affordable-With the common man wanting the Government to give interest rates subsidy to first time homebuyers, it will be interesting to see whether budget 2018 would be able to make housing more affordable. Meanwhile, to incentivise home buyers, realtors' body NAREDCO has suggested an increase in the deduction limit of interest paid on home loan by home buyers-from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. The body also wants the Budget to lower the effective GST tax rate for housing under construction houses to 6 per cent.

Increasing minimum wages- With the labour ministry said to be in the process of revising the minimum wage, the traders' bodies are expecting a substantial rise in minimum wages for all the labourers across the sectors. The government is also likely to increase allocations for social security schemes. The activists have sought to increase it to the level of half of the monthly minimum wage notified by the government.

The budget 2018 will be critical for the Government as expectations of the common man are riding high. With various reforms already undertaken, the public now wants to see some positive results. 

Latin Manharlal Group

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