Is the Budget 2022 Middle Class Friendly?

The Finance Bill 2022 presented by India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 announced measures for a number of sectors. It aimed at boosting growth amidst growing inflation added with the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic.

PM Modi hailed the budget, calling it progressive and people friendly. He added that it has brought new confidence to usher development in the midst of the pandemic. He was also sure that this budget will create many new opportunities for the common people, besides strengthening the economy.

However, how has the Budget 2022 impacted the common man and the middle class? Let us have a look.

The budget has given emphasis on the rural sector, MSMEs and various economically vulnerable sections of society. The emphasis on rural infrastructure is also in evidence from the allocation of Rs. 60K crore for the tap water scheme. There is a major boost to housing as PM Awaas Yojna allocation has been increased by 75%, to Rs. 48K crore. Economist and columnist, Swaminathan Aiyar, appraises this budget as a quick fix remedy for the fast track of growth amid the devastations of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the high fiscal deficit of 6.9 percent.

Prior to budget session, people were anticipating a change in personal income tax rates. However, the Finance Minister did not change the income tax slabs for the financial year 2022-23. She also did not raise standard deduction, which stands at Rs. 50,000.

The Executive Chairperson of Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw opined that the middle class is severely disappointed with the budget for sure. However, many experts hailed the infrastructure push and thrust on manufacturing as well as MSMEs in the budget while others criticized it for lack of adequate measures for agriculture and healthcare sectors.

As a popular opinion, giving tax benefits to the middle classes or by giving direct income support to the poor would have been more helpful. What is your view on this?

There are pros and cons to every budget and not everyone will agree on everything. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We have FSSAI CEO’S article on food testing, discussion on vegan meat, selecting the best BLDC ceiling fans and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

Until then, happy reading

Pallabi Boruah

Editor

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