Rising inflation and layoffs emerged as key concerns for Indian consumers in Kantar’s India Union Budget Survey. Despite lower expectations from the interim (pre-election) Budget, consumers do hope the government will make policy change announcements with respect to income tax brackets , which will help them to augment their disposable incomes.

Nearly 57 per cent Indian consumers raised concerns about “rising inflation”. One in three Indians are also concerned about job security and layoffs, the third edition of Kantar’s Union Budget Survey stated.

Vegetable inflation may remain in double digits as farm gate prices up to 60% higher in Jan’ 24

Consumers are hoping for policy change announcements with respect to income tax brackets. “Increasing basic income tax exemption limit (from current ₹3 lakh ) is the most common expectation, along with increasing the standard deduction from ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh,” the survey noted. Business owners and self-employed consumers have higher expectations for either an increase in the threshold limit of highest tax slab from the current ₹15 lakh or decrease in the highest tax rate of 30 per cent.

Consumers also hope the government will increase the limit for deductions under Section 80 for medical insurance premium. “Seventy per cent of the consumers surveyed want increased tax rebate on investments under section 80C (PPF, Tax Saving Mutual Funds/ ELSS, National Saving Certificate),” it added. Nearly 57 per cent respondents believe India will continue to grow faster than most economies in 2024,” the survey added. Also, 50 per cent of Indians beleive that it take atleast 3-4 years before the Indian economy hits the 5 trillion mark.

Deepender Rana, Executive Managing Director- South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar, said: “With 2024 being an election year, we expect the government to be sharply attuned to the sentiment of the masses. Indians continue to be largely positive about the macroeconomic performance of country and belief in the India growth story is quite strong.”

“However, they are worried about global economic slowdown and inflationary factors and there is increased nervousness around job stability versus last year. Most expect the government to play twin roles, a protector by taking stringent measures against inflation and a benefactor by giving a middle-class friendly budget with relief in income taxes,” he added.

“Among those intending to buy new vehicles (either 2W or 4W) post 2024, a sizeable proportion (61 per cent) are considering an EV purchase. However, consumers also expect the government to incentivise this shift towards EV’s. More than 40 per cent are seeking immediate monetary benefits during the purchase stage itself, ranging from upfront discounts, reduced road tax and reduced vehicle registration fee,” the survey added.

A sizeable proportions of consumers predict an increase in their discretionary spendings (58 per cent) and spends on high ticket/ high-value items (51 per cent) over last year.