The Modi government’s first union budget has brought cheers on the face of middle class people while youth especially those who smoke are unhappy with the steep hike in excise duty on cigarettes and tobacco products. The excise duty on cigarettes has been increased in the range of 11 percent to 72 percent and from 12 percent to 16 percent on pan masala, from 50 percent to 55 percent on unmanufactured tobacco and from 60 percent to 70 percent on gutkha and chewing tobacco. Thus tobacco product consumers will have to shell out more money from their pocket. Even the stall owners selling cigarettes and pan masala are unhappy with Jaitely’s budget as they fear that their revenue might be hit.
Afternoon Voice spoke to various smokers and tobacco consumers to know about their reaction about the budget. Most of them were disappointed with the budget as the excise duty hike will definitely have an impact on their daily budget. Youth also added that they might have to reduce the intake of cigarettes and pan masala or may even have to borrow money from their friends to purchase these products.
Randeep Dubey, a teenager from Goregoan said, “Smoking is an activity which relaxes me. Earlier I could easily afford to purchase cigarette through my pocket money. But now I am not sure whether I can arrange money for the same. I will have to ask my parents to increase my pocket money or else I may have to quit smoking.”
Sachin Dabi, a college student from Kandivali said, “The only option left is now to use fake excuses for demanding more money from parents so that I can smoke. But it would be difficult as they may refuse to give me the required amount.”
Finance Minister raised the exemption limit in personal income tax from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh. He also raised the tax exemption limit for investments to Rs. 1.5 lakh from the current Rs. 1 lakh under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
He also raised the tax deduction limit to Rs. 2 lakh from Rs. 1.5 lakh on interest for housing loans in case of self-occupied property while the public provident fund (PPF) investment limit has also been raised to Rs. 1.5 lakh from the current Rs. 1 lakh.
Bharat Maurya, Call center employee said, “I am pleased with the union budget as I will be able to save more money. Since I belong to a middle class family hence I was finding it difficult to pay the tax amount. However, I can look forward to saving some money from now onwards.”
The finance minister also raised the tax exemption limit for senior citizens from Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh.
Ashok Patil, a senior citizen from Bhayander said, “The decision to increase the tax exemption from Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh for senior citizen is laudable. Modi government has provided some relief to the middle class by increasing the income tax deduction limit.”
Dr. Pavan Kumar, Consultant Cardiac surgeon at Lilavati Hospital and Head of Cardiac Surgery Department and Telemedicine Center at Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai said, “The Union Budget of 2014 is totally uninspiring and pedestrian. A lot was expected from the Namo Budget, but after the budget was announced, no difference can be seen between the current and the previous government. There are no new reforms for the health or pharma sector.”
Dr. Haresh Mehta, leading Interventional Cardiologist said, “The 2014 Union Budget has lived upto its expectations. The Modi Government has struck the perfect balance between economic and social reform. The overall sanitation goal for 2019 has been facilitated with a whopping 26,000 crore incentive with a segregation of the funds among rural and urban areas, this is a welcome move.”
Pratap Padode, President, FIRST (Foundation of Infrastructure Research Studies Training), “The Union Budget has laid an infra tarpaulin and created a mood for growth. An eBiz integrated portal where all ministries would be integrated by December is underway to facilitate business. The allocations are across the spectrum of infrastructure, manufacturing and social sectors. The intent to inject a booster shot for the manufacturing sector has been attained by protectionism against imports.”
Pramoud Rao, MD, Zicom, “The budget is positive, there is everything for everyone. Keeping the short time the government is in power, the budget tries to inject motivation and momentum. There is a direction but disappointed with no big reform announced except FDI in Defence and supply of capital for long term capital assets looks good. Not a firecracker budget, beginning of Acche Din has started in a small way.”