Here’s what four of your members of Parliament want Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to address in his budget on Monday.
Majority of your elected representatives want an increase in central funding for infrastructure and housing projects -- two main concerns for growing cities and developing towns. Most of them have also expressed a wish that income tax be made more reasonable by reducing the tax bracket, to help the common man combat inflation.
Sameer Bhujbal, 34
Nationalist Congress Party member of Parliament (MP) from Nashik
1. Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme which provides grants for infra projects in metros needs to be extended to smaller cities and developing towns as well as cantonment boards. In these areas, there is an urgent need for better sewerage, water supply, transport and road. Municipalities don’t have enough funds.
2. Income tax should be made reasonable and simplified. There should be zero tax up to Rs 5 lakh that will be a relief to the common man. There should be 10% tax between Rs 5 and Rs 15 lakh income group and 20% for the higher income bracket. Reducing taxes always leads to increase in coverage leading to higher targets.
3. Buying house is one of the biggest concerns for the common man. Home loans should be easily available. For that, the target of nationalised banks should be brought on par with private banks. Increase limit of home loans up to Rs 50 lakh through co-operative banks instead of the existing Rs 25 lakh.
4. Finance minister needs to introduce sops like better loans, subsidies for the food processing industry besides simplifying procedure to avail them. This will protect farmer’s interests and give farmers an incentive to cultivate more as there will be a ready market for perishable goods. The budget should also roll out the goods and services tax as soon as possible.
Sanjay Nirupam, 46
Congress MP from North Mumbai constituency
1. Mumbai should get more allocation to improve its infrastructure and housing deficit. It should get substantial resources like Delhi got for hosting Commonwealth Games
2. For the common man, the limit on taxable income should be increased from Rs 1.60 lakh to at least Rs 2 lakh. That would help the common man fight inflation to some extent
3. The finance minister should announce concrete policies for controlling rising food prices, which is a big concern.
4. Two core sectors – agriculture and manufacturing – have faced a slowdown and need to be revitalized through incentives and sops. Increasing food production is a priority and for that sops in irrigation, improving agriculture marketing is a must.
Anand Paranjpe, 38
Shiv Sena MP from Thane
1. More JNNURM funds needs to be diverted to Maharashtra and for the developing areas in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. There are several proposals including for sewage, water supply, drainage and road projects in this region, which are pending. In 2005, Rs6000 crore was allocated for the state under JNNURM but the budget has fallen short considering the wants of these cities.
2. The housing scheme under the Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) where 269 sq ft homes were allotted to the urban poor ended in December 2010. We need to get more such schemes in place. The Rajiv Awas Yojana, a similar scheme which has been made available for housing, is good but fund allocation needs to be increased.
3. Member of Parliament Local Area Development fund (MPLAD) is an issue that needs urgent attention. It either needs to be scrapped or increased. With Rs 2 crore allocated annually, I can hardly do anything in my six assembly constituencies.
4. Food inflation has gone up to 22 per cent and there needs to be a long-term policy announced in order to get this in control.
Milind Deora, 34
Congress MP from South Mumbai constituency
1. Keep individual income tax reasonable to offset inflation. The tax slab for the lowest income group should be brought down further or kept free from tax.
2. Increase funding to the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission ((JNNURM) which benefits cities like Mumbai and will help boost pending infrastructure and housing projects in the city
3. Increase and prioritise government investment in education and health care. And, reduce fiscal deficit
4. Enhance incentives for investors to participate in equity markets through mutual funds over a long-term period.