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Citizens for agriculture-oriented Union Budget

New Delhi [India]  : With the Union Budget for this year to be presented in ten days, citizens as part of a survey recommended that the government's top priority be agriculture, followed by infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

In a survey conducted by LocalCircles, citizens noted that although taxation relief is one of the key demands, certain segments such as healthcare, education, and ease of doing business demand more focused attention.

In terms of sector-wise allocation, 38 percent citizens want agriculture to be the top priority, followed by 34 percent who want infrastructure, 12 percent health care and 16 percent education.

"Central government expenditure on healthcare needs a serious re-look as it affects every citizen in the country."

Around 37 percent demanded tax slabs be raised to lower tax incidence, while 31 percent wanted exemption limit to be increased from Rs 2.5 lakhs to 3 lakhs, due to rising inflation and stagnant income.

On the railways front, 44 percent want the focus area in 2018 to be improvement on safety, while 26percent want it to be on services and amenities. A majority want Railways to continue Flexi fares but also charge lower fares when seats are vacant.

To drive faster growth, 29percent want the government to increase public investment, 24percent want incentives to be given for digital transactions while 29percent want SMEs to be given a priority sector status for lending.

Meanwhile, 57 percent startups and SMEs want angel tax to be abolished. Around 45percent citizens want the government to invest in better monitoring, accountability of government and private hospitals in 2018

To control pollution and to improve the crop yield, 78percent citizens want the government to subsidise seeding equipment in this year's Budget.

Overall, 73 percent citizens feel that prices have not declined after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Majority also want a single slab of 18 percent under this tax scheme.

Citizens also want the government to give interest rate benefits to first time home buyers and increase the definition of affordable housing from 60 to 120 sq meters.

These finding and recommendations have been submitted to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

On a related note, the Budget will be presented on February 1.

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