“Whatever budget they table, it will only benefit the corporates. Small shopkeepers like us won't get anything out of it,” says Selvakumar, a provision store owner in Chennai. Similar sentiments hang in the air as the economic growth sank to a five-year low of 6.8 per cent the previous year.
As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gets ready to present her maiden Union Budget, a heavy burden sits on her shoulder — the Indian economy has been stumbling over the past couple of years and expectations are high that this budget will help stabilise that.
But will the budget be able to cushion rise or fall in global fall in oil prices? “Transportation is our main concern, it is our biggest expense. A lot of money goes into paying for diesel and petrol. If the government does anything to reduce these prices, it will be helpful for us," adds Selvakumar.
Oil prices are a concern across income groups. Damodaran S, an IT professional in Bengaluru, thinks that the cost of living and petrol prices keep increasing, so he wants the tax slabs to be re-visited and the exemption limits to be increased so that he is left with surplus cash in hand. He also wants the government to make a special mention for the suburban rail system in Bengaluru, which is a long pending project, as the public transport system needs to be improved.
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