New Delhi: In the run-up to the Union Budget on February 1, a survey by LocalCircles has found that 69 per cent of respondents want tax-free income to be increased to Rs 5 lakh. Since the Government announced the corporate tax rate cut in September this year, people are hoping that the Budget 2020 will bring some relief for the individual taxpayers as well.
Currently, for individuals under 60 years of age, there is zero tax up to an annual income of Rs 2.5 lakhs. Citizens were asked how should the government change this going forward.
Sixty-nine per cent said this should be increased to Rs 5 lakh while 18 per cent said it should be increased to Rs 3 lakh. Seven per cent said it should be kept at Rs 2.5 lakh only and 4 per cent said it should be reduced to Rs 2 lakh instead.
According to the survey, citizens want the Government to not just provide a tax cut via Budget 2020 but also provide an incentive to spend the same. LocalCircles conducted a large survey and received more than 80,000 responses from across the country.
When asked what sector according to them should get top allocation in budget 2020, 30 per cent said environment (air, water, waste management etc.), 26 per cent said infrastructure, 16 per cent said agriculture, 8 per cent said rural development, 6 per cent said skilling, while 11 per cent said women and child safety.
Increasing consumer spending will be key to bringing the economy back on track. To a question on what is the best way for the government to boost consumer spending via Budget 2020, 28 per cent said just a tax rate cut across the board would do the trick while 29 per cent said the Government should provide a tax cut across the board and incentivise the tax payer to spend it within a year.
Thirteen per cent said a domestic tourism deduction of upto Rs 50,000 per year should be provided, 10 per cent said a deduction of upto Rs 25,000 per year should be provided on school or professional education and a small 1 per cent said a deduction of Rs 50,000 should be given on purchase of an automobile. Sixteen per cent said the Government should look for other ways.
When asked how should the Government restructure the leave and travel allowance benefits currently available to employees, 24 per cent said it should be made available each year instead of every two years and 31 per cent said citizens should be permitted multiple trips within the prescribed LTA amount. Eighteen per cent said LTA should also include hotel stays while 13 per cent said LTA should not be restructured at all.
Fifty-three per cent in the following questions said standard deduction for salaried taxpayers should be increased to Rs 75,000 per year in Budget 2020. Nine per cent said it should be kept at the current Rs 50,000 per year and another 9 per cent said it should be increased to Rs 60,000 per year. Eighteen per cent said the government should do away with Standard Deduction and allow receipt-based deductions.
In 2015, the National Green Tribunal passed an order prohibiting 15-year-old petrol cars and 10-year-old diesel cars from plying on the roads to reduce pollution.
Citizens were asked how should the Government provide a subsidy to replace older cars (10-year old diesel and 15-year old petrol cars) with newer ones. Fifteen per cent said a flat subsidy of Rs 50,000 should be provided towards new car purchase, 34 per cent said a subsidy of 20 per cent of old car invoice price should be provided towards new car purchase and 7 per cent said subsidy of 10 per cent of old car invoice value should be provided towards new car purchase. Thirty-nine per cent said no subsidy should be provided at all.
When asked about the GST rate tier structure that should be effective from April 1, 2020, 48 per cent respondents said it should be a Three Rate Structure (Basic Essentials, All Others, Sin/Luxury Product) while 20 per cent said it should be a Two Rate Structure (All product and Sin/Luxury Products). Ten per cent said it should be a single rate structure.
Indian Railways has been cash strapped over the past couple of years and the decision to privatise some popular routes may come in as good news for the country`s largest employer.
The final question asked citizens what they wanted to be the top focus area for Railways in 2020. Forty-seven per cent said improving services and amenities, 21 per cent said improving safety, 15 per cent said improving timeliness and 13 per cent said improving cleanliness.