49% want taxes reduced to minimise demonetisation impact: Survey


New Delhi, Jan 26 : Forty-nine percent of the more than 100,000 respondents in a survey ahead of the Union budget for 2017-18 said the government should reduce taxes to minimise the impact of demonetisation.

Thiry-three per cent of the respondents in the survey, conducted by citizen engagement platform LocalCircles, said taxes on digital transactions should be dropped.

On the question on what should be the top priority on relief in income tax for citizens, 55 per cent said that the minimum income to be taxed should be increased whereas 37 per cent said that income tax rates for individuals should be decreased.

The poll was conducted across 200 districts of India and covered areas like income tax, government spending and allocation, Sawchh Bharat cess, startups, railways, pollution, healthcare and education.

The survey also said that 89 per cent of the citizens want the government expenditure on healthcare should increase to bring it at par with international standards, with 40 per cent saying that the investment should be used for improving infrastructure at existing government hospitals.

In another poll, 58 per cent said that government’s top priority in education expenditure should be to improve governance and number of government schools whereas 32 per cent surveyed said that it should be used to improve infrastructure in existing government schools.

When asked about controlling the menace of pollution, 36 per cent of those surveyed said that they wanted the government to aggressively fund the public transportation system to reduce pollution.

In an interesting response, 37 per cent of those surveyed said that the Rs 6,900 crore ($1 billion) collected through Swachh Bharat cess should be used to engage citizens and municipality in maintaining cleanliness, while 30 per cent said it should be used to build toilets and ensure their maintenance.

According to 18 per cent of respondents said the money should be invested in municipal infrastructure, while 15 per cent voted in the favour of civic reforms and upgrades.

On the railways, 47 per cent of respondents wanted safety to be the top priority in 2017 and 24 per cent said wanted improved services and amenities.

For 15 per cent, the priority was cleanliness and 14 per cent said the priority should be improving the on-time performance of trains.

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