We asked citizens cutting across demographics and professions as to what they expect from the government

What do we want from Budget 16 Expectations of senior citizensImage for representation
news Budget 2016 Sunday, February 28, 2016 - 11:04

On February 29, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget for the year 2016-17. Last year’s Budget was seen as lack-lustre by many since the ruling party came to power on the promise of major reforms, and the announcement fell short of expectations. But it was argued then that the government did not have enough time to come out with comprehensive reforms since they were voted in only in 2014.

Will 2016 be the blockbuster Budget which everyone has been expecting from the Modi government? Will the government further liberalise the economy to unlock the country’s growth potential? Will there be efforts made towards controlling costs and reducing taxes? Will the government increase social sector spending?

We will know the answers by Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, we asked citizens cutting across demographics and professions as to what they expect from the government. Some of them belong to sections which are usually ignored in the media discourse on the Budget. Here’s the wish list of a senior citizen couple.

Name: Rita Das and Gautam Das

Age: 74 and 80

Occupation: Retired government employee, retired pharma sector employee

What they want

Pension amounts have never been able to keep up with the expenses. We just barely make ends meet. Gautam receives a family pension while I (Rita) receives a pension from the Central Government that covers just medical expenses. We want an increment for general pension. 

The family pension amount is at Rs.1,000 and Gautam has used all of his provident benefits. So all he receives is a meagre amount, which before the new government, was only at Rs.500. They need to allocate more funds in this scheme. 

Medical expenses are the toughest to meet. For the past 5 years, Gautam has been undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and it has been difficult to make do with our pension. We relied on hospitals to reimburse our bills and subsidised medication, but costs have only been climbing. A stronger healthcare scheme for a senior citizen needs to be in place.

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