“Today as I stand before you, I can say with some confidence, we have weathered this crisis well” proclaimed the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, before Lok Sabha, presenting the budget of year 2010.
A lot of changes have been introduced in the current budget scheme. The most important being the widening of the tax slabs. No tax would be charged for up to Rs. 1.6 lakh, a tax at the rate of 10% would be levied on the income slab between 1.6 lakh and 5 lakh, the slab between 5 and 8 lakh would be charged tax at the rate of 20% and beyond 8 lakh, i.e. the higher income groups would attract the tax at the rate of 30%. This would benefit almost 60% of all the tax payers. This has given the poor man a lot of relief from paying the taxes. But mind you my friend, budget has always been like the diabolical scorpion that comes around and bytes its very friend in the hand.
Though the poor man has been exempted from paying the taxes, but his miseries don’t just end here. Central Excise Tariff of Re 1 per litre has been implied on all petro products. Also a 5 % customs duty on all crude petroleum products has been levied. 7.5% on diesel and petrol and 10 % on other refined products has slapped the consumer in face. In the garb of rollback, such a hike is completely outrageous. Is it so hard for our dear finance minister to understand that diesel is widely used in the food industry, and by increasing the price of diesel, the food prices would also go sky rocketing? This would land a hard blow to the poor man’s stomach who toils day and night just to conjure a two meal diet his whole life. Rather such a superb scheme on the part of Mr. Mukherjee is like challenging the poor to a duel stating “I have exempted you from taxes my poor friend, but I still challenge you to earn a meal for yourself”. The plight of poor man seems abysmal as before.
Also, a clause in the budget scheme shows a custom duty on certain products, leading to a price rise on cars, ACs, televisions, etc by 2 to 22%. In the current day scenario, such commodities have become a necessity to every common man’s life. Such a hike in all commodities would only increase the backload of taxes on the common man, bent double by the overburden of taxes. I agree to the fact that the budget presented this year is better than the previous ones on account of more importance being given to infrastructure and a greener environment, but it is not entirely without flaws, innocent or cunningly placed, which only our finance minister knows.
As Mr. Mukherjee himself chimed in Lok Sabha and put forth in the words of Kautilya “Thus a wise collector general shall conduct the work of revenue collection…” And so does Mr. Mukherjee as he strikes again.
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