And it’s that time of the year again. While majority of us don’t work thinking “hey, I have to take India’s economy forward!”, our expectations never diminish - and this time, it’s the turn of India’s most illustrious Prime minister ever to ‘deliver’ – and ‘deliver’ the very best, with possibly a magic wand, if possible. The good news is that this government, unlike UPA-2, is here to do just that. So inspite of the ‘empty coffers’ left by Hon’ble Ex-FM Chidambaram, it seems that BJP is all set to make a good start and introduce a bold budget this year, making sure that funds are not allocated (read siphoned off) in the name of social measures, but instead diverted towards building ground infrastructure across sectors that will facilitate the social fabric agenda as well once the base is set. While the ‘aam aadmi’ might not feel on top of the world, come July 10, it is important for us to realize, as informed citizens, that if not for this budget, we can never be the so-called golden bird we often dream to be.
The challenge is pretty much the same, matching the rate of inflation with the growth in income level. The markets have been riding high for a long time, and it is expected that the focus would remain on reducing fiscal deficit, reviving investments, and thus boosting growth. The Analyst community at Dalal Street expects the new mandate-driven government to deliver a pragmatic Budget, which is inclusive and cleverly mixed up with doses of 'bitter medicine', that in turn lays down the foundation for growth. That said, there are a couple of expectations that will help the government get on good terms with the public-disguised-as-fans, and they spread across different sectors:
· Medical Expense Reimbursement: In the absence of a public healthcare system like the West, and with private healthcare becoming more expensive, it is important that the current exemption limit of Rs 15,000 per annum be increased to at least Rs 50,000 per annum.
· Coveyance Allowance: Travel distances have turned long, fuel costs have risen, so quite naturally the public expects the exemption limit on conveyance allowance to be increased from the present Rs. 800 per month to at least Rs. 1,600 per month.
· The 80C Deduction: It is vital to increase the deduction under Section 80C from the current limit of Rs. 1 lakh to