Salaried persons, middle class don’t have much to cheer about in Union Budget

Trying times call for better relief measures, but Budget gives them the miss

The Union Budget for 2022-23 has been presented. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was at her usual self, making all proposals sound like they were the best that India could ever lay hands on. Supporters of the ruling alliance are all excited about the proposals that the minister doled out.

Though there have been many a proposal that look toward pushing the nation’s economic scenario up on to comfortable terrain, the question remains whether the common man on the street has anything to feel relieved.

The salaried class, and the middle class may not be very happy about Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget proposals. For, measures that would enhance consumption or provide the much needed relief to the people in these trying times seem to have been given the miss.

Looking at the current state of affairs in the country, the common man has been bearing the brunt of so many factors, starting from the blow slapped on them by the raging pandemic. Adding to these are the job losses, pay reductions and the inflationary situation currently prevalent in the country.  The salaried class, in fact, could see the budget proposals as having ignored them completely.

Tax relief hard to come by in Budget 2022-23

With Nirmala Sithraman’s budget proposals proving to be a disappointment in terms of direct tax measures, it needs to be seen how the common man would find some relief as they read the fine print.

Taxpayers had genuinely hoped that Nirmala Sitharama would usher in some tax relief by changing the tax slabs or offering higher deduction under Section 80C, 80D, or Section 24. But then the Finance Minister had other plans.

However, relief came in the form of an announcement aimed at taxpayers who make a mistake in filing income-tax. The announcement of a new updated return will come of help to taxpayers who have committed omissions or mistakes in estimating their income-tax payment.

A fresh opportunity would be doled out to them to correct such errors by paying additional tax. This updated return can be filed within two years from the end of the relevant assessment year. Also, state government employees can be glad that as it allows higher deduction on employer’s contribution.

A bit of a relief, though

In a bid to ensure equal treatment to both central and state government employees, Sitharaman has also proposed to increase the tax deduction limit from 10 per cent to 14 per cent on employer’s contribution to the NPS accounts of state government employees also. This is seen as a means to increasing social security benefits of state government employees and bring them at par with central government employees.

Among other proposals that may be of help to investors in cryptos, the Finance Minister’s clarification that cryptos will be taxed, has taken away fear of a ban on such digital assets.

Overall, there have been proposals that hold aloft the concept of Atmanirbhar Bharat and all such phrases that are parroted by the ruling party at the Centre. But the super-rich continues to get away with sops galore even as there has been a manifold increase in joblessness and poverty. The tax slabs for them haven’t been touched. That, in effect, makes it a budget that doesn’t have much for the poor, salaried and middle class citizens to cheer about.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The New Indian Express, MSN India, PanAsiaBiz. Sanjeev can be reached at [email protected]
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