Middle class wears a frown: Waited, but nothing for us

(This story originally appeared in on Feb 02, 2021)New Delhi: Disappointment was writ large on the face of the common man on the street after the Union Budget was presented by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman with many saying that it had nothing much for the middle class.

Rakesh Sharma, a 61-year-old senior accounts manager with a private firm in the capital, said: “The Budget might be good for small shopkeepers, but it didn’t meet my expectations. I was hoping to get a subsidy on LPG and lower taxes on petrol. The agriculture cess might increase the prices of lentils and the end consumer will have to bear the brunt of it.”

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Though tax exemption has been given to senior citizens aged 75 and above earning pension and interest, Sharma said the age limit should have been decreased.

“The Budget is very good when it comes to reforms in infrastructure, agriculture and healthcare, but there is nothing much for the middle class. I had been waiting for the Union Budget for quite some time and hoping that there would be something for me and people like me. However, there is nothing that will benefit me directly,” said Meghna Singh, a banker.

Another banker, Pritika Mathur, had the same concerns as Singh and said there was nothing exceptional about this year’s Budget. “I sat through the entire Budget presentation hoping for some provision for us. However, just like the budgets of the past few years, even this one turned out to be a disappointment. A lot is being done for agriculture and infrastructure, but nothing that affects us directly,” the banker added.

Vikram Nagar, a Delhi-based businessman, said, “The vehicle scrapping policy is one of the highlights of the Union Budget. It will get old vehicles off the road and boost the automobile industry. But unlike other budgets, this one did not have groundbreaking policies.”

Tapan Dey (62), a retired executive, said his family’s expenses would only increase and no relief would come his way. “An agri cess of 10%-50% will be levied on kabuli chana, lentils and peas. Even Customs duty has been increased for automobile parts. This will certainly affect our Budget. The central government has not changed the tax slabs for the past three years. We were expecting some relief in this regard.”