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Ease of Living Becoming a Reality in the Lives of Millions of Indians

“NDA Government is honoured to have undertaken numerous steps for the wellbeing of the middle class. From a friendlier tax system to better healthcare, quality education to more opportunities, no stone is being left unturned to ensure Ease of Living.”
- PM Narendra Modi

Higher cost of living, caused by rising rate of inflation, puts undue burden on the poor and middle-class population adversely affecting their purchasing power and savings. Modi government amended the RBI Act making the primary objective of the monetary policy to maintain price stability (“inflation targeting”), while keeping in mind the objective of growth.

Consequently, the average consumer price inflation (CPI) was 4.6% in the NDA era as compared to 10.1% during the UPA era - easing the burden on the poor and middle-class. In January 2019, India’s CPI based inflation eased to 19-month low of 2.05%.

Furthermore, higher indirect taxes are regressive as they cause higher prices of goods, burden of which ultimately falls on the people. Moreover, indirect taxes are borne by all, including the poorest of the poor. With GST reforms, indirect taxes have been rationalised making India ‘One Nation, One Market’. 95% of the items fall in or below 18% tax slab. Most common items of daily use are either exempt from GST or brought under the 5% tax slab.

Eating out is more inexpensive under the GST regime. Taxes that used to range anywhere between 15-20% earlier are a thing of history. Today, there is only a 5% GST on eating out.

With elimination of checkposts, trucks carrying goods are travelling faster, reducing logistics costs and delays. Small traders benefitted with the end of multiplicity of taxes while registration filing, assessment, refund are online under GST replacing inspector raj with a transparent system. Consequently, due to the GST reforms by Modi government, overall reduction of prices has ultimately benefited the end consumer.

The big move to ensure that people with net taxable income up to Rs. 5 lakh incur no tax liability, has benefited crores of taxpayers. Nowadays, getting an income tax refund is no longer a matter of years but of just a few days. Furthering the effort to Ease of Living, Modi government, as announced in interim budget, is working on giving refund in 24 hours. Easing the lives of taxpayers, 99.54 per cent of income-tax returns were accepted as they were filed in the current year.

Pension provides security in second innings of the life. The time taken for processing pension papers reduced with the simplification of pension claim procedure by Modi government. Jeevan Pramaan Aadhaar-linked Digital Life Certificates have provided Ease of Living to pensioners by doing away with requirement to be physically present before the certification authority. About 2.5 crore pensioners have availed this facility since 2014.

Efforts like Atal Pension Yojana, PM Vaya Vandana Yojana are steps taken for benefits to old age people with minimum investment, maximum benefits for Ease of Living.

Unlike earlier times, obtaining a passport is no more a hassle. There has been rapid increase in the number of Passport Service Kendras from 77 in 2014 to 490, which has made delivery of passport services easy and convenient.

Apart from these, with Digital India initiative and push for digital transactions, seamless transactions have eased the process of payment of utility bills and many different kinds of payments. For the first time, as on January 2019, the volume of UPI transactions crossed 672.75 million with an amount of more than Rs. 1.09 lakh crores transacted.

When a government caps cardiac stent prices and knee implants, slashing prices by 50-70%, it means more people can afford stents to tend to their ailing hearts and knees.

If generic medicines are available, sometimes at far lesser price than the market price across around 5,000 Jan Aushadhi stores, then the medicinal expenses of people vastly come down.

Home loans became much more inexpensive than before. For example, in November 2013, the SBI home loan interest rate was around 10.30%, which, in 2019 stands at around 8.5%. If you consider a home loan of Rs. 20 lakhs over 20 years, savings due to lower interest rates would be about Rs. 26,000 per year & about Rs. 5 lakhs over full tenure.

Similarly, even education loans have become more affordable.
Many people put their life’s savings into buying an apartment. Sometimes they ended up feel cheated by builders. Some builders would delay delivery or even change plans without consent. Real Estate Regulation Act – RERA, was passed to empower homebuyers and reform the real estate sector.

Now, builders are required to create a separate escrow account in which significant part of the amount received from the buyers will have to be deposited, thus ensuring that the money is not diverted elsewhere. The withdrawals will depend on the extent of work completion and will only be allowed to cover the cost of construction and the cost of land.

With aspirations of homes, education, health and an easier daily life being fulfilled, Ease of Living is becoming a reality in the lives of crores of Indians after the advent of the Modi government.

March 19, 2019