‘There was no big bang announcement for us’
The Union Finance Budget has no special announcements for high-income families, whose hopes for a massive restructuring of the tax system found no mention in Arun Jaitley’s speech.
One such family that lives in adjoining Noida is the Kandharis, a six-member household, including three children and one earning member.
“We pay so much in taxes, which we don’t mind, but we feel cheated. Where is the infrastructure or the job prospects for the next generation? This budget has no big bang announcements for us,” said Ajay Kandhari, who runs a company supplying medical equipment from South Delhi’s Sarita Vihar.
Mr. Kandhari said widening the tax net and simplifying the procedure would be the only long-term solution. The tax relaxations announced by the Finance Minister won’t affect the Kandharis and other families like theirs. “The system is kept so complicated almost deliberately. It is a cash cow for politicians. Though I voted for them, the BJP is not all that clean,” he said.
His wife, Sumita, said: “Nothing has really gone down in the budget for us. We are hopeful the BJP Government does something, it is too early to tell now.”
The family currently does not have any outstanding debts, having paid off home and car loans. With their eldest daughter, Sneha, about to leave for the U.K. for post-graduate studies, they will soon have a student loan to pay off.
The education loan will not really affect their monthly budget on its own, but the regular remittances to their daughter will depend on the foreign exchange rates.
More than that, the job prospects for the Delhi University graduate have her parents concerned. “What do young people see when they leave colleges or return from studying abroad? The government needs to provide better opportunities, which the budget is silent on,” said Mr. Kandhari.
Being an Indian Institute of Technology graduate himself as well as a self-employed, he welcomed the government’s decision to revive special economic zones. “The challenge will be to implement all these schemes,” said Mr. Kandhari.