Union finance minister P Chidambaram’s vanilla budget hasn’t visibly ruffled any feathers in any segment in particular, but at the micro level, the bland recipe has left much to be desired by households across the city. As a case in point, take the Mahim-based Kulkarnis. The elders in the six-member family acknowledge that it is an unremarkable budget, which hasn’t struck a chord with the aam aadmi.
And its wishy-washy prescriptions do nothing to offer respite from inflationary pressures that have driven prices of essential goods and services through the roof. The young ones say the nation could have done better with a few bold announcements, especially in the education and communication sectors.
The patriarch of the family, Kamlakar Kulkarni (81), a retired architect of the central public works department, said, “The picture that has been presented in this year’s budget is very goody-goody. The finance minister has played it safe by increasing rates and prices of various commodities beforehand. No extra taxation has been levied. But at the same time, he has not given any relaxation for the common man.
“I contribute a little to the running of my family and I feel there is a considerable rise in all education-related items I provide for my grandchildren. As it is, we are facing the pinch every day.” Another senior member of the family, Sindhu Kulkarni (79), a retired government school teacher and principal, said, “Being a state government employee our arrears in the pensions mostly lapsed after the state budget, but even the central budget has not given us anything new.
There needed to be some provisions for senior citizens who have been abandoned by their children but no such benefits have been announced. This budget is just eyewash. The rates of all the commodities keep rising and once increased there are no provisions to reduce them.”
Forty-six-year-old Dnyanesh Kulkarni, a company director, said, “It’s a balanced budget that must not have faced much opposition. But it indicates a rise in the cost of living. Eating out will become more expensive. The growth of technology, which is a need of the hour, has been stemmed. The government has increased mobile phone rates. Smart phones will now cost us a bomb. I am particularly disappointed with one important thing: there is no rebate in income tax. I will have to curtail my luxuries as my daily living expenses have already shot up with the increase in diesel and petrol prices earlier.”
Housewife Manisha Kulkarni (45) said, “The government has already upset us by increasing rates of diesel, petrol and gas. Vegetables and fruits are expensive as it is. The government is giving us an exemption of Rs 1 lakh to buy jewellery when what we need is affordable fruits, vegetables and other daily necessities. Our twice-a-month family outings will be less frequent now, what with the increase in eating at air-conditioned restaurants. A lot of adjustments will be made in our family’s monthly budget.”
Sumedh Kulkarni (17), a student of Kirti College busy studying for his HSC exams, said, “I was expecting a classy phone after my HSC exams from my father but I guess after the increase in rates it is not going to be possible. There are no provisions for students in this budget, as my grandfather explained to me. So I guess there is nothing for me to be happy about but feel the contrary. I can’t even ask my father to buy an SUV now after the increase in duties.”
Sanika Kulkarni (14), a student of Balmohan Vidyalay at Dadar, said, “The only thing I look forward to is eating out at times but with now my mother won’t be interested in taking us out. Going out with friends will burn holes in my pocket as the service tax has increased. As students, we were hoping for some new colleges to come up but that is not the case.”
Eating out will be more expensive, with the hike in service tax. We were hoping for some new colleges but that is not the case
-Sanika Kulkarni (14) Student of Balmohan Vidyalaya at Dadar
The growth of technology, which is a need of the hour, has been stemmed. A particular disappointment is that there is no rebate in income tax
- Dnyanesh Kulkarni (46) Company director
The picture that has been presented in this year’s budget is very goody-goody. The finance minister has played it safe
- Kamlakar Kulkarni (81) Retired architect of the central Public Works Department
There needed to be some provisions for senior citizens who have been abandoned by their children but no such benefits have been announced
- Sindhu Kulkarni (79) Retired govt school principal
The govt is giving us exemptions to buy jewellery when what we need is affordable fruits, vegetables and other daily necessities
- Manisha Kulkarni (45) Housewife
I was expecting a classy phone after my HSC. After the increase in duty on SUVs, and the hike in phone rates, I can’t ask my father to buy them
- Sumedh Kulkarni (17) Student of Kirti College