This is written by someone who considers himself part of the Indian middle-class. He is your everyday guy, who isn’t rich, is working for a monthly wage and is trying to save up so that one day, he can lead ‘the good life’.
But right now, he is a little angry.
Thanks to the 0.5% Krishi Kalyan Cess introduced by the current government, the service tax we’re paying from June 1st, 2016 has now increased to a whopping 15%.
On paper, this increase in service tax is supposed to be for the betterment of farmers across the country. And yes, they do need all the help they can get. How efficiently that money reaches them, remains to be seen.
But how does it affect the middle class?
I’m not just talking about this one 0.5% increase, but the gradual rise in service tax over the last couple of years.
Back in 2014-15, this figure was 12.36%, but in June 2015 this was increased to 14%. Add to that the Education Cess of 0.5%, we were now paying 14.5% tax. With the Krishi Kalyan Cess, we’ve hit the perfect round figure.
This means every time you go to a restaurant to eat out, you pay more. You want to travel somewhere? Congratulations, you’re on a more
expensive luxurious flight. You want to celebrate your birthday with your mates at the pub? Welp! Wallet will get now get empty faster than before without getting you as sloshed. Want to book a hotel room? Yes, pay more now.
My parents recently purchased a new flat, after years of saving money and staying at a government quarter. Suddenly, the registration fee for the new property goes up. Now, for a middle class family, any sudden rise in expense is a serious dent to the how we plan our finances.
My father is now retired and has to live within a limited pension. But the world he lives in is getting more expensive every day. But we’re told to suck it up, because this is for ‘development’. Protest against this and you’ll be called anti-national.
Funny how every time the country needs to develop, it’s always the middle-class who pays the price.
I don’t know much about economics. But even my average brain can come to the conclusion that when the rich are taxed more, it doesn’t hurt them as much as it hurts the middle-class.
In an ideal world, I could have said that maybe the middle-class can rise up, blow the war horn and topple any government, using constitutional means of course. But I can’t, and it’s not for the lack of will. It’s just that we middle-class folks, the cogs in the machinery, are stuck between making a living and living a decent life. We fear that anything we do to disrupt the status quo will only make matters worse.
And so, we keep struggling. Silently. But for how long?
The middle-class will continue to churn the wheel of progress and development, but if the powers that be come up with policies that cripple us time and again, it won’t be long before we say enough is enough and vote them out.