Budget dampens middle class families’ hopes, many rue no relief

New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) While people around the country sat glued to their TV sets to follow the annual budget, 51-year-year-old Delhi resident Manisha Shrivastava was morose, following the announcement of the extension of vehicle scrapping policy to 20 years, as she had recently disposed of her car after using it for 15 years as per existing norms.
In 2019, the government had proposed amendments to motor vehicle norms to allow scrapping of vehicles older than 15 years in a bid to spur adoption of electrical vehicles. The new scrapping policy now requires private vehicles to undergo fitness tests after 20 years for disposal.
“The saddest part is that we disposed our car last month. I am feeling bad for disposing it before time as it was in a perfect condition,” Shrivastava, residing in Delhi’s IP Extension area, said remorsefully while intently watching the Budget speech of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Shrivastava, who owns a business process outsourcing company and has a daughter, said that the budget only favored low-income groups and only marginally benefitted the middle class.
“I will now put all my major purchases on hold as we are still facing the brunt of the pandemic-hit economy,” she rued.
About the high insurance premiums and no relief on that front, she said: “If focus was put on health sector, the high premium must have also been looked at. We are paying hefty premiums. This affects a common man.”
Manisha Shrivastava is not the only one fretful over the annual budgetary announcement, while a Delhi-based salaried employee said that he expected it to be more middle-class friendly, whereas no major relief was provided.
“I had plans to buy a new vehicle but after this budget, I am not very keen to purchase it due to my financial status and less disposable income in hand. Luckily, I have enough savings for my children’s education,” said Amrish Kapoor, who works with a telecom service provider in Delhi in the Rs 15 lakh plus CTC slab.
In terms of direct taxes, the only relief is that people more than 75 years old with only pension income are now exempted from filing tax returns, he said, adding that his 79-year-old father is happy about it.
Kapoor is the sole-earner of his family. His wife, who is a homemaker, also gloomily looked at the television set in the drawing room of her two-bedroom apartment and rued over no relief for the common man.
Showing discontent over the announcements, Vinita Kapoor said: “Since my husband is the only earning member of the family, no relief on his income will not only affect my kitchen, but also the education of my children.”
Another homemaker talked about the effect of budget on her household. “The government should have made things cheaper at this tough times. Ration and home appliances are getting costlier day by day,” said Pushpa Sharma.
The 62-year-old women said that her husband wanted to buy gold and invest in the real estate but given the situation and no relief in the budgetary allowance, the plan will be put on hold till the economy gains momentum again and their finances ease up.

(Aakanksha Khajuria can be contacted at aakanksha.k@ians.in)

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