Budget should fund infrastructure to spur growth: Survey

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) The Union Budget for the next fiscal (2016-17), to be presented on February 29 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, should earmark enough funds for investing in infrastructure that will drive growth, a survey by a social media platform said on Sunday.

“Citizens want the Union Budget to drive economic growth via infrastructure investment, with 54 percent favouring investment in roads and highways,” the survey by the Noida-based LocalCircles said.

About 200,000 citizens across the country participated in the online survey where information was invited from verified respondents.

The budget, an annual financial statement of the central government, is presented in parliament on the last working day of February as a finance bill and an appropriation bill for approval by lawmakers of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

In terms of priority, the citizen’s wish-list varies from personal benefits through tax exemptions, incentives and concessions to key sectors of the economy.

“Minimum exemption or general deduction limit from personal income tax should be up to Rs.5 lakh for men below 60 years and Rs.7.5 lakh for above 60 years, or senior citizens, while minimum income slabs for women have to be increased,” the survey asserted.

Similarly, people in the organised sector paying taxes regularly favour medical exemption to be substantially increased from Rs.15,000 presently per annum.

“Tax deduction at source (TDS) percentage for individuals not paying standard income tax (30 percent) should be slashed to five percent from 10 percent,” the survey said, citing the wish-list of 68 percent of the respondents.

Many respondents want deduction under section 80(d) raised to Rs.50,000 per annum and exemption limit under section 80C increased to Rs.3 lakh.

“Minimum interest rate on fixed deposits should be nine percent as is proposed for Public Provident Fund (PPF) and exempt from tax, while tax on pension should be waived or not applied up to Rs.50,000,” the survey noted.

Tax on pension should be removed or applied on over Rs.50,000.

“Rate of income tax for individuals should be decreased so that more people are encouraged to pay taxes,” the survey added.

Tax payers’ other expectations include re-evaluation of deduction amount of interest on housing loan and house rent deduction to pensioners as is the case with employed people.

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