Budget 2021: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present Union Budget 2020-21 on February 1, Monday, and expectations are high that the Narendra Modi-led government may bring some comfort to the pandemic-hit middle-class. To revive COVID-19 battered economy and boost growth, Sitharaman has promised a “never before” like Union Budget this year. Also Read - Focus on Micro-containment Zones to Save Country From Lockdown: PM Modi

She has assured help to those areas which are now going to be the centers for newer demand and newer engines of growth. Besides, the Finance Minister has also asserted that the government will extend support to those who have been affected badly due to the nationwide lockdown imposed on March 25 to check the spread of Covid-19. Also Read - Lockdown Should Be Last Option, Efforts on to Meet Oxygen Needs, Says PM Modi | Top Points

“Send me your inputs so that we can see a Budget which is a Budget like never before, in a way. 100 years of India wouldn’t have seen a Budget being made post-pandemic like this. Also Read - Mumbai Reports 7,214 Fresh COVID-19 Cases, 9,641 Recoveries | Highlights

“And that is not going to be possible unless I get your inputs and wish list, clear observation of what has put you through the challenge… Without that, it is impossible for me to draft something which is going to be that Budget like never before, a Budget which is being made after a pandemic,” Sitharaman had said while addressing the CII Partnership Summit 2020.

Following her remarks, the middle-class taxpayers are hopeful that the Union Budget will offer a slew of relaxations to them.

Take a look at the list of their expectations: 

Raise income tax slabs: Middle-class expects the government to extend some tax benefits as a part of the Centre’s plan to boost the economy and review growth and demand. Sources said that this year’s Budget may have sops announced earlier under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package to help people in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

If reports are to be believed, the Finance Ministry may raise the basic tax exemption limit for an individual income tax payee to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 2.50 lakh at present, in a bid to enhance net disposable income in the hands of taxpayers.

In the interim Budget of 2019, the government had proposed a rebate on all payable taxes if an individual’s taxable income is up to Rs 5 lakh per annum. However, it kept the basic exemption levels unchanged.

Job opportunities: Since many of them lost their jobs and had to undergo salary cuts due to the pandemic, the ‘aam aadmi‘ expects the government to address the festering unemployment issue to bring much-needed relief to them.

Finance Minister Sitharaman had stated that job creation would undergo massive change post-pandemic and hence newer skills would have to be imparted.

Earlier this month, Kerala Finance Minister, Thomas Issac, while presenting the Budget, promised eight lakh employment opportunities for the people of the state.  “Eight lakh employment opportunities will be created in 2021-22,” Isaac said while presenting the budget. Of this, three lakh will be for the educated while the remaining five lakh will be for the others.

Affordable housing loans, deduction in rent/EMI: The Middle-class wants the government to amend section 24(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which allows the deduction of interest on home loans from the taxable income. Homebuyers who lost jobs due to the pandemic also want the government to announce a reduction in EMI/Rent under a separate section.

About the Budget Session of Parliament

The Budget session of Parliament will begin on January 29 with the address of President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint sitting of both the Houses. The session would conclude on April 8. In order to enable the standing committees to consider the Demands for Grants of ministries and prepare their reports, the Houses will adjourn on February 15 and meet again on March 8.

Like the previous session, both the Houses would sit in shifts with Rajya Sabha meeting in the forenoon and Lok Sabha in the evening between 4 pm and 9 pm as part of health measures adopted due to the coronavirus pandemic.The Question Hour would take place in the Budget session. In the previous session, the Question Hour was not taken up due to paucity of time as both Houses met for four hours each.

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