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Regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 July 2024

Budget 2019: Jharkhand homemaker lists disappointments

Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden budget does not spare a thought for the middle class and senior citizens of the country

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpdur Published 05.07.19, 10:03 PM
Rupa Chatterjee at her house in Bistupur, Jamshedpur, on Friday.

Rupa Chatterjee at her house in Bistupur, Jamshedpur, on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

For 51-year-old homemaker Rupa Chatterjee, the Union Budget has brought no cheer.

A resident of Contractor’s Area in Bistupur, Rupa is most upset that despite coming to power with a massive majority, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden budget does not spare a thought for the middle class and senior citizens of the country.

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“We were hoping that after such a huge victory the budget would be liberal and throw up sops for the middle class and have something for senior citizens. In fact, there was opinion expressed in certain sections of the media that interest rates for senior citizens would be increased. But nothing of that sort has been announced,” rued Rupa, wife of Bank of India officer Krishnendu Chatterjee.

“To top it all, additional duty and cess on fuel (diesel/petrol) would lead to a rise in prices of essential commodities too,” she said, referring to the Rs 2 hike per litre on account of customs duty and cess.

The homemaker also felt that income tax slabs should have be tweaked to increase benefits.

“We were expecting some more sops in the tax structure for salaried persons. But nothing has happened. Instead, prices of furniture, newsprint, imported stainless steel products and raw materials for making of soap have been increased,” said Rupa, who is managing a household of four members, including her son and 85-year-old mother in-law.

She welcomed Sitharaman’s “Naari to Narayani” pitch by proposing an interest subversion programme for women’s self help groups (SHGs) across districts, but said that more should have been done in the education sector.

“The Naari to Narayani project is certainly welcome, but I wanted to see more focus on the education of children of the poor, which was lacking in the budget,” said Rupa, whose son is pursuing an MBA degree.

Significantly, in the Naari to Narayani project, one woman in every SHG will get Rs 1 lakh as loan for business and overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 for every verified SHG member with a jan dhan account.

However, a new national education policy promises more focus on research and innovation while a Study in India programme proposes to open the doors of higher education to foreign students. A provision of Rs 400-crore has been made for setting up world class institutions.

Among the positives in the budget, the homemaker praised the government for interlinking Aadhaar and PAN cards which would address problems of carrying several documents during filing tax returns.

“It is laudable that additional deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh has been proposed for interest paid on housing loans for purchase of a house valued below Rs 45 lakh,” she said and praised the proposal to build 17 iconic tourist sites which would encourage foreign and domestic tourism.

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