Inflationary pressures seem to be the top concern among consumers in the run up to the Center’s budget announcement on February 1, 2023. Three out of four Indians expressed concerns about the rising inflation and want the government to introduce decisive measures to tackle these challenges, according to the Kantar India Union Budget Survey 2023. Also, every one in four Indian is concerned about the threat of job layoff.

The survey that maps consumer sentiments and expectations for the Union Budget 2023, found the mood of the nation to be one of cautious optimism. This comes at a time when there is no clear end in sight of the Russia-Ukraine war, an expected slowdown in Europe & US and 9 Indian states heading into assembly polls in 2023.

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The most common consumer expectation from the upcoming budget is an increase in the basic income tax exemption limit from the current ₹2.5 lakhs. Respondents also listed an increase in the threshold limit of the highest tax slab rate of 30 per cent (from current ₹10 Lakh) as a key expectation.

“The former is notably higher amongst the Salaried segment (42 per cent ) while the latter is expected more by businessmen/ self-employed (37 per cent) and older 36-55 year olds (42 per cent) segments,” it added. Nearly two-thirds of respondents want to see an increase in the tax rebate for investments under 80C. An increase in rebate on medical/health insurance was also found to be among key expectations (45 per cent).

Deepender Rana, Executive Managing Director- South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar, said consumers are looking for some sort of relief in the income tax regulations from the upcoming budget. “Indians are largely positive about the macroeconomic performance of the country in 2023. Belief in the India growth story amongst older & affluent class is quite strong. However, the global economic slowdown might play spoilsport. Most expect the government to play the role of a protector and take stringent measures to curb inflation to prevent the economy from slipping into a recession, as it directly impacts their household budget as well as their job prospects,” he added.

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