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'Anti-Poor, Pro-Capitalist': Reactions on 2022 Union Budget

Commenting on the budget proposals, Delhi's noted Chartered Accountant Ved Jain said has shattered the hopes of the middle class populace of the country

Tuesday February 1, 2022 9:41 PM, IANS

Reaction on budget

New Delhi: Union Budget 2022 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Tuesday is receiving more brickbats than applause with people calling it anti-poor and pro-capitalist budget having nothing for the middle class.

Commenting on the budget proposals, Delhi's noted Chartered Accountant Ved Jain said has shattered the hopes of the middle class populace of the country.

"I believe the middle class is really disappointed today. There is nothing in this budget for them," CA Jain said during an interaction with IANS.

He said that there were basically 4-5 demands -- "one was threshold exemption, another was standard deduction, medical reimbursement and work from home allowance etc. So people were expecting there would be some concession."

Not a Miracle Budget

Jain's comments came as the government did not announce any new changes in the tax slabs for the personal income tax category.

The people were craving it to be a 'miracle budget' that would help the common folk who are battered by the pandemic and rising inflation.


"I believe that rising inflation has also not been taken into consideration in this Budget," said Jain.

Taking positives out of the Budget, Jain pointed out that there are two ways to look into anything.

"Thankfully, no extra taxes were imposed as the government could have added another tax like Covid tax to tackle the rising expenditure, but, still no change in the personal income tax slab has dashed middle class people's hopes," he said.

New Tax Regime

In Budget 2021 also, income tax slabs remained untouched, however, the Finance Minister introduced a new tax regime. But according to financial experts, this regime offered no major benefits.

The consensus is that most taxpayers are continuing with the old regime and were unwilling to move to the new one as they cannot avail of any investment benefits under the new regime.

Pertinently, it was most likely expected by the people that there might be an increase in the standard deduction and the figure could be doubled to Rs 1 lakh from the present Rs 50,000.

But, the government again failed to fulfil the people's wishes on this front.

"The Covid pandemic has seriously affected the middle class and the lower middle class very badly. People have lost jobs. Nothing has been said for the migrant labourers," Jain underlined.

Disappointing for working women

Jain also said that this year's budget has let down the expectations of working women.

"There is no incentive or schemes for the women particularly," said Jain.

Apart from censorious reactions to the budget, a good news came for individuals with income above Rs 2 crore who will now get some relief in the form of capping of surcharge at 15 per cent on long term capital gains (on specified assets) from existing graduated rates

The ongoing pandemic, coupled with the rising inflation, has adversely affected the household expenses of the common man for an elongated period now.

However, with the higher capex and fiscal deficit target, the Finance Minister has limited specific relief to individual taxpayers. Moreover, several industry leaders have hailed the 'growth oriented' budget, saying it has set a tone for India's aspiration to be the fastest growing major economy this decade.

Obdurate and Callous

Slamming Sitharaman's budget, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the "capitalist" Union Budget 2022-23 is "obdurate" and "callous" as there is no cash assistance to the very poor who have been pushed into extreme poverty and suffered immensely during the last two years.

Addressing a post-budget press conference, he said:

"The government behaves and acts as though it is on the right path and has delivered on the issues that matter to the common people. This is false. This is also bull-headed obduracy. This also reflects the government's contemptuous disregard of the burdens and sufferings of the people."

"The Budget may be passed in Parliament but will be rejected by the people", the Congress leader said.

Amrit Kaal, Really?

He said that his party was astonished that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was "outlining a plan for the next 25 years, which she called the Amrit Kaal!"

"The government seems to believe that the present does not need any attention and the people living in the present can be asked to wait patiently until the Amrit Kaal dawns.

"This is nothing but mocking the people of India, especially the poor and the deprived," he said.

Chidambaram accused the Finance Minister of not having a word "for those who had lost their jobs, for those whose education stopped at some stage at the school level, not a word about reviving MSMEs that had shut down, not a word about distributing more food to combat malnutrition and hunger, not a word about cutting indirect taxes, especially GST, to contain inflation and bring down the prices of goods, and not a word about giving tax relief to the tax-paying middle class or the tax-bearing head of a household".

"By any standard, today's budget speech was the most capitalist speech ever read by a Finance Minister. The FM has mastered the jargon of capitalist economics," he said.

The former Finance Minister said that the macro-economic indicators are worrying, and on top of the list is that the fiscal deficit (FD) for 2021-22 has overshot the target of 6.8 per cent and is estimated at 6.9 per cent. For next year, it will be 6.4 per cent.

"That is an insufficient correction if the goal is to reach 4 per cent three years hence by 2025-26. The financing of the FD is also a matter of concern. 70 per cent of the FD in 2022-23 will be financed by market borrowing as against 55 per cent in the current year, crowding out private sector borrowing."


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