The Union Budget for the year 2022 was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday and social media has not been able to keep calm. After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdowns, many across the country were hoping for some breather from the Finance Minister. While the budget foresees accelerated growth of the economy in the coming year, some such as the middle classes have expressed disappointments on social media regarding the lack of tax SOPs and no change in income tax.
Expectations of tax sops for the middle class was high ahead of Budget 2022, given the need to push consumption in the race to re-capture growth in a pandemic-hit economy. Belying expectations, however, Sitharaman did not tinker with the personal income tax rates in this year's Budget.
The minister also did not raise the standard deduction, which was widely anticipated in view of elevated inflation levels and the impact of the pandemic on the middle class. The standard deduction currently stands at Rs 50,000. There were no changes in income tax slabs in the personal income tax category and the corporate tax rate too was kept at the same level. However, the concessional rate of 15 per cent has been extended by one year for newly incorporated manufacturing units.
As per the announcements, the country's economy is expected to grow at 9.27 per cent this year. Hikes have been announced in capital expenditure as well a push on the expansion of the national highway network by adding 25,000 kilometres to it. Sitharaman also announced the Gati Shakti master plan for infrastructure development and a master plan for expressways to boost economic growth for next financial year.
One of the highlights of the budget was the point on cryptocurrency. Sitharaman also announced that the Reserve Bank of India will launch digital currency based on blockchain technology.
While experts are already dissecting the budget for its pros and cons, social media users have come up with their own way to express their approval or disappointment with the Budget - through memes.
Memes about the disappointed "salaried' class flooded Twitter in tandem with Sitharaman's announcement.
Many even joked about the prolonged budget speech when all people really wanted to know was about tax cuts (which ultimately did not come)
The decision to put a 30 per cent tax on transactions of cryptocurrency also met with jokes and disappointment.
Crypto holders paying 30% tax on Gas fees. pic.twitter.com/89NaujWcIi— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) February 1, 2022
"I am in the 30% tax bracket bro"— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) February 1, 2022
~18 yr old kid who buys apes as NFT
Nevertheless, the increase in CapEx brought some cheer as well.
The Indian equity benchmarks surged on Tuesday as investor sentiment got a boost after the government expanded its capital expenditure plan for next financial year and laid out plan to increase spending on infrastructure to affordable housing to put growth on a firmer footing as the economy recovers from the pandemic. The Sensex rose as much as 1,018 points and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday high of 17,622.
The Sensex advanced 848 points to close at 58,863 and Nifty 50 index jumped 237 points or 1.4 per cent to settle at 17,577.