Budget 2021: Here’s what the pandemic-hit middle-class could expect from Modi government

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to present Union Budget 2021 on February 1 and it is widely expected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre would take measures to support the middle class which has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. For her part, Sitharaman has promised a “never before” like Union Budget with a focus on reviving the battered economy. Sitharaman has said that the Centre will extend all necessary support to those sectors which will create jobs and help in the growth of the economy.

“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. 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.

Sitharaman’s remarks have sparked hope of the middle class taxpayers and they are expecting that Union Budget 2021 will offer some relaxations to them.

The middle-class is hopeful that Modi government would extend some tax benefits to them as a part of Centre’s plan to boost the economy and revive growth and demand. Sources said that the Centre may increase the basic tax exemption limit for an individual income tax payee to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 2.50 lakh at present. This move would certainly increase net income in the hands of taxpayers.

There is no denying the fact that lakhs of Indians lost their jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic and the middle class woul expect the Centre to launch schemes aimed at addressing the issue of unemployment. Earlier, Sitharaman had said that job creation would undergo massive change post-pandemic.

Few days ago, 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,” Issac said.

The middle class would hope that the government bring changes in section 24(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which allows the deduction of interest on home loans from the taxable income.