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  Life   More Features  06 Jul 2019  The budget and the city

The budget and the city

Published : Jul 6, 2019, 7:42 am IST
Updated : Jul 6, 2019, 7:42 am IST

We asked Delhi-hites what they thought of the Union Budget unveiled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam yesterday. Here’s what they had to say.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget for Modi 2.0 government. (Photo: ANI | Twitter)
 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget for Modi 2.0 government. (Photo: ANI | Twitter)

Yesterday marked a momentous occasion. For the first time since Indira Gandhi took on responsibilities of the finance ministry in 1970, a woman presented the Union Budget. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman communicated a variety of proposals and changes during the session, for which the entire country tuned in. After all, the budget impacts everyone.

Ordinary Delhi-ites took particular note of developments such as the inclusion of more shopkeepers for pension benefits, the enabling of 50,000 artisans to participate in the economic value chain, and the increase in the education budget. While many of the city's citizens had good things to say about these, others were more cynical.

Abin Joseph, a student presently studying in a South Delhi-based college, had a positive reaction to the education part of the budget, “The Study in India programme and a new educational policy, both seem to be around the idea of making India an education hub, which is awesome and speaks about the rise in the demographic dividend we can expect in the coming years.”

He did, however, offer a criticism, “The only downside to the whole situation is the 5% tax on imported books. This act might force some students to buy books by Indian authors but the acquisition of knowledge is limited in the process.”

The Union Budget allocates Rs. 93,847 crores to education, which is 8,837 crores higher than last year, and the schemes will also focus on key skill development for things such as artificial intelligence and big data. Both these technologies are highly valued in the global job market.

Subhajit Sikder, a research scholar, was upbeat regarding another policy where money will be spent to develop world-class higher education institutions, but adds, “I believe one should strengthen the quality and infrastructure of already established institutions. More grants should be awarded so that students can go abroad and participate in conferences, courses and workshops.”

And yet there are others who feel the government has completely overlooked them.
“Senior citizen have been ignored; there are neither tax benefits nor any kind of medical facilities. Hence, the budget is a total disappointment for me”, says Radha Kant Jha, a 65-year-old resident of Vasundhara Enclave.

Pankaj Kumar, a middle-aged employee working in Noida, echoed similar sentiments -- “Not a very exciting budget. While many announcements talk about reforms, which is good, the service class is consistently ignored. The cost of living is increasing with every budget. Price hike in petrol and diesel will put burden while travelling. The service class was expecting some relaxation, but corporate workers were considered over us.”

Karol Bagh-based taxation lawyer Pradeep Sharma weighed in on the deduction of interests on housing loans,  “Earlier deduction on this count was Rs. 2.00 lac only, now in the budget it is Rs. 3.50 lac. This will not only reduce the tax burden of the home buyer, but also positively benefit the middle-income group. It will also encourage them to purchase a house.”

A woman entrepreneur and founder of Square Fork Digital Marketing, Shreya Sabharwal, conveyed her expectations -- “I am also looking forward to witness more encouragement and support for us concerning accessibility to funds and this reinforcement will bring more confidence and positivity for women entrepreneurs to come up and flourish.”

Finally Bharti Jha, a homemaker, opined, "There wasn't much for a middle-class female in the Union Budget. Politicians don't care. Even farmers are benefitted. What about us? Kejriwal is better than this. He seems to be working for every section of the society."

Tags: nirmala sitharaman, union budget 2019