SurferSpeak: PC doesn't impress many

Surfers feel the salaried class has got a raw deal despite the populist agenda.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 16:47 IST

The Finance Minister could be smiling ear to ear but surfers insist it is a populist Budget. Worse, it hits the service class the most.

What's irritated people the most is the increase in service tax on a variety of goods, with many singling out the service tax on ATM withdrawals.

Secondly, IT professionals are upset they are being fleeced by the government when they are largest contributors to government coffers.

However, most seem happy that there has been no change in income tax. It stands, as is.

Chowna from Hyderabad summed it all up.

"Looks good up till now! But it is more of a populist budget."

But here are the brickbats and bouquets, in that order.

Service tax

Delhi's Satish said, "It is a lousy budget which continues to tax directly the common man, the biggest example being the raising of service tax from 10 to 12 per cent. So the common man shall indirectly pay more on all services like electricity bill, water bill, phone bill, etc."

Abhinav from Delhi too had similar sentiments.

"This budget is not middle class-friendly because if I withdraw Rs 10,000 from the ATM, I have to pay Rs 1,200 extra as service tax. It means annually I have to pay Rs 14,400 which is not justified. My request to PC is to waive the tax from ATM transaction or at least fix some limit on withdrawal."

Gopi Poilil from New Delhi had this to say.

"The money a person withdraws through an ATM is his/her hard earned salary and he/she is already paying income tax for it. Because of a busy working life, people do not have the time to go to the bank with the cheque for withdrawing cash. So they opt for ATM for their day-to-day expenses. Why tax him/her again?"

New Delhi's BJ Singh said, "I'm not satisfied with the new budget. It gives no respite to the service class. The FM has gone in for reduction in the prices of small cars but what about depreciation benefit on personal car to service class?"

IT professionals' angst

"Since I belong to IT sector, I will say that increase in this sector will affect its growth. It should have been the other way round," said PK Sharma, Delhi,

Sandilya Jampani from Chennai looked deep into the agenda.

"This budget is clever. It may raise the treasury but it will affect the most sincere taxpayers like software professionals."

RK Sharma from Thiruvanathapuram felt it was incorrect to tax thosewho contribute to the country's growth.

"There should not be the concept of professional tax as it is levied on the people working in the fastest growing industry and making greatest contribution in the country's growth. Secondly, there is no consistency in this kind of taxation across the country."

Pat on the back for no extra Income Tax

SB Vathsalan from Chennai wrote, "Though the Budget is not remarkable in any aspects, it's good that it does not contain any new Income Tax proposals. The scrapping away of the 6-in-1 scheme is welcome."

Mukul from Delhi added, "Though I-T has not changed, the exemption limits have been reduced further leading to additional taxes. Increase in service tax is finally paid by the end-user ie us, so cost of living is only increasing!

"Did not notice anything on VAT implementation - maybe some standardisation across states could lead to price reduction though nothing seems to indicate that as yet!"

Anti-middle class

Shabbir Hussain from Indore said, "There is nothing good for the middle class in this budget. They have to cut duties and taxes on LPG and petrol, diesel."

Boothalingamm from Thiruvananthapuram felt it was skewed in favour of upper middle class.

"Further this budget will please the upper middle class as branded food, soft drink, etc will become cheaper. The farmers will have a hard time though the proposals have to be implemented. From where is Chidambaram going to bring money? What happened to the earlier proposals?"

AK Balasubramanian from New Delhi felt lowering prices of cars would lead to more traffic on the roads.

"Excise duty on cars should not be reduced as this will further increase traffic jams. Bad enough we do not have good roads and traffic management is terrible. Incentive for public transport such as conveyance allowance in income tax should be increased."

HPN from Delhi was unhappy about erosion of FD rates

"Listless budget. The FM has no feeling for the difficulties of the senior citizens and of those who wish to earn their living with the security of interest income from FDs.

"There was an expectation that age for senior citizen will be kept at a uniform 60 years for tax purposes. Also, because of erosion in interest rates on FDs, such interest income should have been made completely exempt from Income Tax. There was some justification in including such income when interest rates were above 12 per cent.

"If revenue is his major concern he can tax all interest income only at source at a flat rate of 10 per cent and perhaps get more tax than he is losing now, in spite of all cumbersome methodologies like AIRs, etc."

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 12:11 IST