More than half the respondents of a pre-Budget survey think this annual exercise doesn't impact their daily lives.
Even as Pranab Mukherjee rises to present the Union Budget in Parliament at 11 am on Monday, a nationwide survey reveals that most Indian households think this annual exercise has no significant effect on their daily lives.
Adding to this, a majority (60 per cent) of the 5,468 households surveyed, covering different income groups, said the Budget document did not make much sense to them and a quarter of the respondents derided the relevance of the exercise because they believed most policy decisions were taken outside the Budget anyway.
The survey, conducted by UTVi-CVoter to gauge the expectations of ordinary citizens from the Budget, found that the majority wanted the Budget to be a less secretive document and easier to understand.
The survey also found that almost half the respondents did not believe that their lives were getting better and as much as 68 per cent felt the taxes they paid were too high and should be reduced to leave more money in people's hands to meet rising day-to-day expenditure.
Respondents felt a reduction in personal tax levels would make consumer goods, health insurance, automotives and certain food items like dairy products, tea and coffee cheaper, leading to positive impacts on the cost and quality of living.
In 2008-09, when the global economic crisis started impacting India, 48 per cent of the respondents revealed that their expenditure had gone up and incomes were static while around 20 per cent experienced a surge in expenditure and declining income.
The survey revealed that nearly 75 per cent of the respondents felt an income of Rs 50,000 a month is enough for a family of four with nearly a third saying incomes should be made tax-free.
The survey also found that the quality of life of around 65 per cent of Indian households has deteriorated in the past one year because of rising prices, especially of food articles. The inflation rate has remained below 3 per cent since December 2008 and entered negative territory three weeks ago.
Besides rising prices of food, prices of other items like cooking gas, local transport, airfares, education, fuel prices, property rentals, healthcare and even expensive domestic help have significantly increased the cost of living for the average Indian household.
As far as the future outlook on the quality of life is concerned, public opinion is divided with 38 per cent saying the quality of life will be static, another 38 per cent predicting an improvement, with the rest expecting a deterioration in the next year.