Youngistan welcomes ‘aam aadmi’ focus of Indian budget


New Delhi/Bangalore : Students and young professionals Monday hailed Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s ‘aam admi’ focus of the union budget with many rejoicing over tax sops and interest subsidy in education loans.

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“Tax exemption is definitely the best news as far as I am concerned. It may not be phenomenal, but it at least takes some load off the shoulder of a salaried employee like me,” Jha, who works in a bank in south Delhi, told IANS.

Similarly, Sarita Kumar, a school teacher in Patna, Bihar said: “Tax exemption, even if only Rs.10,000 for women and others, has been a welcome move. It will help me save more.”

More than 60 million people of over 1.1 billion population of India are in the age group of 20-39.

In his 100-minute budget speech in the Lok Sabha, Mukherjee promised income tax exemption limit for senior citizens increased by Rs.15,000, and for women and others by 10,000 each.

There was a reason for students to rejoice as well, as the deduction in respect of interest paid on loans taken for pursuing higher education has been extended to all fields of study, including vocational studies. The finance minister also announced that higher education outlay would be increased by Rs.2,000 crore over the interim budget outlay in March.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee while presenting the budget said: “In order to enable students from economically weaker sections to access higher education, it is proposed to provide full interest subsidy during the period of moratorium.”

“It will cover loans of students from scheduled banks to pursue approved courses in technical and professional streams from recognised institutions in India. It is estimated that over 500,000 students will benefit from this,” the minister said.

Rahul Jain, a college student in the capital who also volunteers in an NGO that teaches slum children, said the budget has been a welcome move in terms of making education more accessible to economically weaker section of the society.

“For me the best thing about the budget is the proposed full interest subsidy in education loans. This will mean that all the brilliant students from poor households, who could go to a good college because of lack of money, can now hope to do so,” Jain said.

Shreya Mehta, a 20-year-old Bangalore-based management student, said: “It’s a relief for the students who have taken education loans to pursue their higher education.”

In Bangalore, although the youth brigade was overall satisfied with the budget, the recent hike in fuel prices has left them fuming.

“Rise in petrol and diesel prices have hugely affected out monthly budget. Now, we’ve to spend more on commuting. The government should make travelling in buses for the students free of cost,” said Vinod Puri, a college-goer in Bangalore.

The students community generally appreciates the spending on higher education, which has been increased with an aim to set up more IITs and IIMs.

“These are all positive steps, including building central university in each state,” said Mohammed Kadil, also a college student.

That life saving drugs will be cheaper has made Arunima Baruah, a medical student, happy.

“If customs duty on live saving drugs and vaccines which treat ailments like breast cancer, hepatitis-B, rheumatic arthritis has been reduced and they will now be more within the reach of the common man, there is no other better news. It will benefit lakhs and lakhs of hapless people who can’t afford treatment,” Baruah said.