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Indians want agriculture, roads infra as top focus in FM Sitharaman’s FY23 Budget, survey shows

On development front, 33% Indians want agriculture to be top focus while 31% prefer roads & highways to be the key area, the survey says, adding 47% seek health focus on social front.

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New Delhi: A majority of Indians want agriculture and roads infrastructure to be the top focus areas of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2022 Tuesday, a new survey has revealed.

On the development front, 33 per cent Indians want the top focus to be agriculture while 31 per cent want roads and highways to be the key area, showed the survey conducted by community platform LocalCircles, seeking to gauge the primary expectations from the Budget 2022-23.

On the social front, 47 per cent Indians want the Budget’s top focus to be health, the survey said Monday. Moreover, two out of every five Indians said they would migrate to the new tax structure if the tax rates are cut by an additional 2-5 per cent, it added.

The survey was carried out ahead of FM Sitharaman’s budget in Parliament, which will show the revenue and expenditure plan for the fiscal year 2022-23, the company said in a statement on the survey.

“The Narendra Modi-led Union Government of India is expected to bring amendments in the tax law that is necessary for the growth of economic sectors like agriculture, roads & highways, telecom & Internet, airports, as well as spending in social sectors like health, clean air, clean water, education, women and child safety, to name a few,” the statement said.

The survey received a total of over 28,000 responses from Indians in 344 different districts, 66 per cent of whom are men.

Also read: Elections will go on but Budget session very important: PM Modi asks MPs to make it ‘fruitful’

3 questions asked — this is what respondents said

The LocalCircles survey posed three questions to its respondents, the first of which asked the citizens about their preferences on the social front. Out of the 9,541 responses, 47 per cent chose health while 19 per cent selected education and online education, and 6 per cent each picked clean air, and women and child safety.

According to LocalCircles, the impact of the second wave of Covid-19 on India’s healthcare system and access, especially in rural areas, is a major factor behind this preference.

“The majority of citizens in the LocalCircles survey said that the Government of India should expedite a project to either build permanent or temporary Primary and Community Health Centers (PHCs and CHCs), which will not only address the shortage of these centers across rural areas but can act as the first response to meet the COVID emergency need of the villagers for the future pandemic,” the statement said. 

The second question sought citizens’ preferences on the development front and received 9,701 responses. Apart from the stated preference for agriculture and roads and highways, 14 per cent each picked telecom and Internet, and ‘other areas’, while 3 per cent chose airports.

What would it take for citizens to “migrate” to the new personal income tax rate structure that “doesn’t permit deductions but lowers tax rate” — as FM Sitharaman introduced in Budget 2020 — was the final question.

Of the 9,342 responses, “37% said they would migrate if tax rate is ‘reduced further by 2-5%’, and 3% said if it is ‘reduced further by 0-2%’,” said the statement. Meanwhile, 28 per cent said they wouldn’t migrate regardless of the rates and 13 per cent revealed that they are already on the new structure.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)

Also read: History and facts about Union Budget


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