Pradeep Pattanayak

The General Budget is something that always affects the middle class and households, in general, in one way or the other. 

As the countdown has already begun for the presentation of the Budget, 2022 on February 1, people have started speculating over what the government is going to offer them this time. 
It is par for the course for the middle class, which accounts for a lion share of the total tax payers, to expect a lot from the Union Budget. Each year, they would wait with bated breath to know what the budget has in store for them. 

They would always expect a change in the tax slab in their favour, more options to save their hard earned money, a curb on ever increasing price of essential commodities, creation of job opportunities et al. 
This year is no different. Since five states are going for Assembly elections and the middle class families are under severe financial pressure due to the pandemic, it is expected that the Central government will present a more favourable budget, in its effort not to make the people upset. 

“The middle class families expect for a budget that will be favourable to them so that the pandemic should not affect them anymore and they can save more as they are trying to come out of the pandemic,” observed Soubhagya Deo, a Bhubaneswar resident. 

Another capital resident Ajit Buax shared the same opinion as that of Deo. “The prices of petrol and diesel keep increasing by the day. And it is the common man who always feels the pinch. I hope the government would come up with a favourable budget,” opined Baux. “I hope to see a decrease in the prices of petrol and diesel as the rising fuel prices are burning a hole in the common men’s pocket,” said Biswajit Guru, a Bhubaneswar resident. 

The homemakers who have the onus of managing the family expenses have always something to say about the budget. Amid the pandemic, they are struggling with soaring prices of essential commodities. “We middle class families are the worst sufferers. When it comes to the private job holders, the least said the better. The price of everything, starting from cooking gas to grocery items to vegetables, has increased beyond imagination. A considerable slash in their prices would be a huge relief to us,” observed Debajani Mishra, a housewife. 

The pandemic has shattered the financial condition of hundreds of families. A family living in Sundarpada area in Bhubaneswar is a case in point. 

Until a few months ago, Rajanikanta Mishra’s family had been living a decent life. Mishra is a businessman. Things changed for the worse when his father fell sick. Now he is bed ridden for three months. Money is being spent on his medication like water. And due to pandemic situation, his earning has reduced considerably. 

He is facing double whammy. On one end of the spectrum, he has to meet the daily family expenses and at the other end, he is finding it is difficult to meet the education cost of his children. Rajanikanta is also hopeful of a favourable budget. “Our income has come down to almost a trickle. The increasing prices of essential commodities force us to go starving. So I hope for a favourable budget,” observed Rajanikanta.