Saturday, March 15, 2003

Why break my budgets?

The middle class heaved a sigh of relief at the Budget 2003 proposals. Take a look at how it will affect your salary and taxes, retirement funds, home buying plan, shopping basket, investments in small savings, stocks and mutual funds.
Gautam Chikermane
NOISE–THAT'S how I would define the smart, 30-second sound-bites on TV by government officials, corporate captains, economists, analysts and tax experts following Budget 2003. But after an hour of this mindless cacophony, I find most of the common man’s concerns numbed into inertia. His critical concern–what should I do?–remains unacknowledged. In this package, we propose to help you steer clear of that dissonance and move into a quieter, more efficient (but less glamorous) financial harmony.
To give credit where it’s due, the finance minister has imparted dignity to the honest tax payer. By recognising "best tax compliance" and abolishing the discretion-based scrutiny, Jaswant Singh has indeed given the beginnings of respect, Samman, to the tax payer. This will also curb corruption, as will Singh’s announcement that all refunds will be directly credited to the taxpayer’s bank account. The rewriting of individual taxpayer’s form into one page is yet another step in the right direction. But in early 2002, when Singh’s predecessor tried this experiment, he ended up with a 10-page form, that needed another nine pages of ‘guidance notes’ to decode. Ironically, Yashwant Sinha called that outrage Saral. What will Singh do?
Opinion in Outlook Money