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Which star cast an eye

Vidya balan

ACTRESS

• Do you watch the budget? If yes, why? If not, what/who could make you watch it?

No, I donít watch the budget, but I guess I like to know the basic thrust or the toplines

• Does it affect your life?

Of course it does. It determines the direction of the countryís economy in the coming year. So it affects my life first as a citizen, then as a woman and as a professional

• Do you think you should be taxed more so that the poor can be helped?

I always have and always will fulfil my obligations as a tax paying citizen but I donít think taxation is the only solution to our economic ills. There are other economic measures that are required to resuscitate the economy of our country

• Are there any causes close to your heart that you want addressed?

Education is a cause close to my heart, especially primary education.

While the budget proposes more IITs and IIMs and promises AIIMS for every state in the country, it does not spell out any plans for the employment opportunities for the thousands of super-qualified youth who will graduate out of these institutions of higher learning. On the other side, there are no special plans proposed for enhancing the primary education network ó except for the proposal about the education of the girl child. This seems a little imbalanced as the focus on primary education is the need of the hour if the future of the coming generations needs to be secured. Like the finance minister promised total sanitation by 2019 ó another cause close to my heart. It would be great if such a deadline could be set for universal primary education as well.

In other things, it feels good to know about the raised excise on cigarettes and tobacco products and the allocations made for the various development programmes in the Northeast

• And that havenít been addressed?

I wanted to know what the budget would allocate for programmes related to womenís safety. In other spheres, I was expecting that the GST regime would be put in place.

The government has assured us in the budget that it will draw out the contours of GST by the year end ó I will look forward to it. But one is a bit concerned about the allotments on womenís safety issues. The sensitisation programmes and the pilot schemes to test womenís safety on public transport are okay, but what about investments in equally urgent matters like high-quality and sound legal support to rape survivors, or providing long-term medical care and counselling to survivors and their families as an institutional measure? One would also want to know how the Rs 1,000-crore allocation in the Nirbhaya Fund made by the past government has been used so far.

Suman Ghosh

filmmaker and economist

• Do you watch the budget? If yes, why? If not, what/who could make you watch it?

Yes, I do follow the budget since it dictates the economic path of the country in the short run

• Does it affect your life?

It affects the lives of millions of our countrymen and hence it does affect my life

• Do you think you should be taxed more so that the poor can be helped?

Yes. But apart from just increasing taxes there are a lot of economic instruments that should be astutely used and implemented in order to ensure the well-being of the masses

• Are there any causes close to your heart that you want addressed?

Inflation should be addressed immediately but it is a difficult and challenging thing to control. It is inter-related with a lot of other economic variables like the fiscal deficit, exchange rate and the monetary policy of the US. A lot of it is outside the control of policymakers and hence the challenge

• And that havenít been addressed?

I donít see any dramatic change in allocation for health, education or sanitation. In proportional terms, India spends too little in these areas by international standards.

Rupam Islam

singer

• Do you watch the budget? If yes, why? If not, what/who could make you watch it?

No, I donít watch it. I am interested in music, literature, culture and sports. Finance is something I do not understand. There is a business side to arts as well but I donít even understand that. I do not look at remuneration as my bread-earner but as an element of honour, as in an honorarium. Only when I will see that the taxpayersí money is being properly utilised for health and education, will I see the budget. Right now I am not at all happy at the way the taxpayerís money is being utilised

• Does it affect your life?

I am sure it does, but I can stay happy because my mental state belongs to a different realm ó the realm of art and creation, which is always aesthetically rich. My financial condition used to be very poor but now I have been able to reach stability after years of struggle.

But mentally, I was and still am the king

• Do you think you should be taxed more so that the poor can be helped?

Yes, I am willing to pay more taxes only if the money that is wasted in all the extravagant religious activities is stopped and that money is first donated to the poor. Imagine how much money is wasted at religious festivals, stop that first. If the government is able to establish a real secular state and cut out the religious festival excesses, I am ready to donate all my money

• Are there any causes close to your heart that you want addressed?

Health, education and banning religious extravaganza

• And that havenít been addressed?

No comments.

Nagma

Actress

• Do you watch the budget? If yes, why? If not, what/who could make you watch it?

I wasnít watching the Union budget till maybe two years ago when I became more active in politics. I became more conscious of the issues affecting the country, and I watch the budget to get a sense in which direction an issue is moving. Where are we going

• Does it affect your life?

Yes. The budget affects every common manís life. I am concerned about whatís happening with the nation, whatís doable, and whatís a dream sequence, like you have in films

• Do you think you should be taxed more so that the poor can be helped?

Yes, if thatís the only way to unburden the poor

• Are there any causes close to your heart that you want addressed?

I want the budget to address the problems of the poor. Programmes like MNREGA and Food Security Act should not be scrapped if the NDA government has any other solution to address the concerns of the poor. I want the budget to address the issue of unemployment and allocate more funds for womenís security

• And that havenít been addressed?

Except for creating a few IIMs, they have mostly continued with the schemes conceived by the UPA.

I did not see any great road map on reducing inflation that is troubling the poor.

KOEL MALLICK

ACTRESS

• Do you watch the budget? If yes, why? If not, what/who could make you watch it?

I do watch the budgets whenever I can, in between work

• Does it affect your life?

I donít think it affects my life but it definitely impacts my life. It helps me to know how people are benefited

• Do you think you should be taxed more so that the poor can be helped?

Fortunately, I fall under the bracket of highest taxpayers

• Are there any causes close to your heart that you want addressed?

All the issues that were on my mind like education, health and hygiene have been addressed. I had wanted a hike in cigarette and gutkha prices, which has been addressed too

• And that havenít been addressed?

Iím satisfied with the budget.

Raima Sen

actress

• Do you watch the budget? If yes, why? If not, what/who could make you watch it?

I do, but not every year. If thereís one person who could make me watch it then that would be dad (Bharat Dev Varma). But I do keep track of the budget either by reading newspapers or by participating in discussions with friends

• Does it affect your life?

Of course it does. It helps me plan my finances and my investments well. Itís a huge thing and it affects every Indianís life

• Do you think you should be taxed more so that the poor can be helped?

I am very particular about paying my taxes. I donít think I should be taxed more. But I think the budget should be designed in a way to benefit the poor. I mean there should be certain schemes by which the poor can make money

• Are there any causes close to your heart that you want addressed?

Petrol and food grain prices should definitely come down. But what I really appreciate is the tax exemption limit for senior citizens changing from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. Thatís praiseworthy

• And that havenít been addressed?

Not really. The fact that diamond prices have eased a bit is good news. I hope gold prices too will ease a bit.

TIGMANSHU DHULIA

Actor and filmmaker

• Do you watch the budget? If yes, why? If not, what/who could make you watch it?

Yes, I do watch the budget. I do take interest because apart from the budget affecting our daily lives, it keeps me guessing what the government is up to

• Does it affect your life?

An increase in prices might not affect me... but it does affect us indirectly. People who work under us are affected and that prompts us to increase salaries

• Do you think you should be taxed more so that the poor can be helped?

We are already under multiple taxation ó income tax and service tax ó which is killing. There are schemes for the poorer sections but the implementation of these schemes is in dubious hands

• Are there any causes close to your heart that you want addressed?

The quality of higher education has been a concern, especially, the mushrooming of private medical and engineering institutes. So I was happy to see the finance minister announce the setting up of four new AIIMS in the country

• And that havenít been addressed?

I would like the government to look into entertainment tax or if they are so keen in bleeding us then they should take serious steps towards curbing piracy ó there has been nothing about them in the budget.

As told to: Samyabrata Ray Goswami, Kushali Nag, Satish Nandgaonkar, Mohua Das and Arindam Chatterjee

 
 
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