Attention, Mr Jaitley

Eswarkrishnan Chellam | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on February 21, 2016

Here are some expectations that people have from the Budget. Do factor them in while finalising the document


‘Higher education allowance’

A Chartered Accountant, H Krishna Prasad works for an MNC in Chennai. He hopes that the Finance Minister will find the means to put more money in the hands of the taxpayers this Budget.

H Krishna Prasad
Although the inflation numbers are trending lower, certain expenses like healthcare and education only increase. “With rising medical costs, the current medical allowance of ₹15,000 is too low. It would be good if it is increased to ₹50,000,” he says. He feels this will be a win-win situation for all, as doctors will also report such income, thereby boosting income tax collections.

With two school-going children, he also finds the existing educational allowance of ₹1,000 per month per child insufficient. “Most private schools are charging between four and seven times the allowance provided by the government, the Finance Minister must definitely raise this,” he says.

He feels steps need to be taken to discourage cash transactions to check creation of black money. “If schools can accept payment by cheque, draft or even electronic fund transfer, it helps in saving time and effort.” From an investment perspective he is happy with announcements made in the last Budget. “To encourage savers, the government can provide much higher yields than bank fixed deposits in small saving schemes of medium- to longterm durations,” he adds. He feels the current mechanism of filing online IT returns is too complicated and discourages taxpayers. “Most taxpayers are put off by the complexity involved in choosing the appropriate ITR form. The taxpayer should enter all his income and other details in an online template. Form selection will then become redundant and this will encourage e-filing of returns.” he concludes.


‘Easier funding for businesses’

After stints with the Indian Air Force, a financial services company and in the infrastructure sector, K Jayachandran was bitten by the entrepreneur bug 11 years ago.

K Jayachandran
He has a lot of expectations from this Budget and hopes for encouraging news for entrepreneurs.

Even with over 10 years of credit history he still finds it difficult to scale up his business.

“Banks must take a little risk in their lending by reviewing credit history and the business plan. They must not ask for collateral all the time,” he says.

On skilling India, he says, “The focus must not be on the number of people trained. It must be on what the job market needs in terms of skill-sets. In addition, support systems are needed to ensure that those who are trained are also gainfully employed. If the Finance Minister allows tax rebates on sponsoring education, it can help raise skill levels.”

“Self-funded vocational training and re-skilling via continuing education must also be considered for tax rebates and benefits,” he adds. He feels that ‘Digital India’ can do wonders in implementing e-compliance.

“Central and state agencies that deal with income tax, service tax, professional tax and others must go online. All notices and regulatory issues can be raised, tracked and resolved via the digital platform,” he observes.

“The government’s ‘Housing for All’ initiative is a good one. To stimulate demand, the Finance Minister can increase the tax benefit on home loan for payment of interest to ₹4 lakh,” he says. “During the early period of repayment of housing loan, the interest component is the highest. This increase can provide a fillip to the government’s stated goal of housing for all by 2022,” he adds.


‘Double the TDS limit on bank deposits’

Aruna Baheti
Aruna Baheti teaches Carnatic music in Hyderabad. She has completed an MBA in Marketing and assists her husband in business as well. She catches up on the Budget from newspapers and online media. “It is difficult to believe the inflation numbers. Prices of just about everything have increased,” she says. She finds entertainment and dining costlier. “There is at least a 10 to 15 per cent difference between the price on the menu and the bill, due to service tax,” she adds.

“Prices of basic food items, such as rice and pulses, have shot up over the year. Tur dal prices have gone up from ₹85 to ₹130. Vegetable prices have also increased,” she says, resignedly. Since she is part of a joint family, she does not find the LPG subsidy a concern.

“The government’s idea of partly subsidising LPG is good. If we are able to cook efficiently, we can manage,” she says.

She finds income tax rates to be high. With income from multiple sources, she has been e-filing her income tax returns for many years now. With two school-going children, she feels the pinch on educational expenses. “School fees and transport charges have become very expensive.” For over six years, she has been investing in fixed deposits and mutual funds. But she is more comfortable investing in FDs. She would like to see the Finance Minister doubling the TDS interest threshold from ₹10,000 to ₹20,000.


‘Better healthcare for all’

Seventy-plus K Dwarakanath, former Chairman, Ordnance Factories Board, is an active stock market investor. He feels that the fall in crude prices is a golden opportunity for the Finance Minister to step up on building infrastructure. “Spending to develop the infrastructure of the nation will raise the standard of living and can result in inclusive growth. Results will not be immediate, but are fundamental for India’s development,” he says. “Employment guarantee schemes can be phased out. Goal-based targeted spending is far better in creating rural assets, like water tanks,” he asserts.

K Dwarakanath
On health, he expects the government to do a lot more. He finds private healthcare getting prohibitively expensive. “When the UK and Canada provide universal healthcare to their citizens, why not India?” he questions. “Make in India is a good platform for building on our manufacturing strengths. Import substitution can be the first step in identifying products that need to be made in India,” he says.

“Existing infrastructure and skill sets must be put to effective use. It will result in lower costs and can quickly bring products to the market,” he adds.

On personal taxation, he does not favour much change. He feels high net worth individuals can be taxed more. On dividends, he thinks it will be wise if the Finance Minister imposed a cap of, say, ₹40 lakh, above which a tax of 30 per cent can be imposed.

He does not expect the Finance Minister to tinker with the holding period for computation of capital gains.

“Ease of doing business must be improved. Leakages must be plugged. There has not been much change at the lower levels of the government,” he observes.

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