Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman all set to present the 2020 Budget
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman Image Credit: Supplied

Not a budget for the common man

Apparently, our (Indian) Finance Minister was able to break her own record of having made the longest budget speech by any Finance Minister till date, her budget has failed to give the common man what he needs (“India budget: Salaried NRIs not affected by 120-day rule”, Gulf News, February 3).

No doubt, she has painted a rosy picture about slashing the Income Tax slabs. But in reality, the withdrawal of exemptions and deductions will take away more than what we could, once, save.

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman all set to present the 2020 Budget
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman Image Credit: Supplied

Adding to it is the proposed increase in costs of clarified butter, edible oils, footwear, kitchenware, grinders, ovens, and more, which will definitely affect the pockets of common man. This government has already cut gas subsidies, day-to-day changes in petrol, too, have caused a big hole in our pockets, as during the past one year the cost of petrol has increased from Rs10 (Dh0.51) to Rs12 (Dh0.62) per litre. It seems the new tax regime gives with one hand and takes away with another.

Incidentally, the news about non-taxed NRIs to be taxed as Indian residents caused confusion after the budget was announced. How the present government plans to calculate income and expenditure is a matter is to be seen.

From Mr N. Viswanathan


What about the senior citizens of India?

This is in reference to the recent Indian Budget delivered by the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaram on February 1. On one hand, I applaud the Bengaluru suburban rail project, which Sitaram mentioned in the budget. However, on the other hand, this year’s budget and taxes also neglected senior citizens and non-pensioners of the country who are getting meagre bank deposit interest to meet their needs. I think this is sad. The bank deposit interest rate is not correlated to the normal expenditure of interest rate. The government should reconsider this in light with the current inflation. Will the ministry rethink this important issue?

From Mr K. Ragavan

Bengaluru, India

Aiding their countrymen

The Government of India deserves all the praise for its alacrity in reaching out to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) distress after the Indian Financial Budget was introduced for 2020-2021 (“Evacuation of Indians from Wuhan complete”, Gulf News, February 2). Whether it was the evacuation of Indians from Yemen in 2015, or the evacuation of Indians in Wuhan after the coronavirus epidemic, the government has stepped in.

In this case of Indians stranded in Wuhan province of China, the epicentre of the epidemic virus, the government moved fast and brought back the Indian citizens safely. This is a true example of how much the Government of India cares for its countrymen in distress, and its uses all resources on its command to help them.

In all these rescue operations undertaken by the Indian government, the state-owned carrier Air India has always played a formidable role and should applauded. The Air India planes brought back the Indian citizens safely. The government has always followed the glorious record of helping out their countrymen in need, around the world. The evacuation during the Gulf War was the biggest one undertaken and they managed to bring back thousands of Indians stranded in Iraq during Iraq and Iran war. Earlier, late politician Sushma Swaraj did an excellent job in carrying out these duties. Now, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar as the Minister of External Affairs in India is carrying forward the legacy.

From Mr Ramesh G. Jethwani

Bangalore, India

Well done team India

Congratulations to Indian cricketer Virat Kohli and his team for winning the Twenty20 (T20) series, inflicting a whitewash against New Zealand that too on their own turf (“Virat Kohli: India always look to find ways to win as a team”, Gulf News, February 2). Our players were in top form in the first two T20 matches and went on to win both. The next two games were within the reach of the New Zealand team. But, like the South African team, this New Zealand team choked at the last moment to take the games to the Super Over. They lost. In fact, even during the final match, they were on top till the valuable 99 run partnership between T.L. Seifert and Ross Taylor. But, once Seifert was out at 116, they fell like nine pins to lose the match by just seven runs.

Incidentally, despite the absence of Kohli and Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul led the team admirably to win the final match. It augurs well for our team, as our youngsters were able to handle pressure and choke their opponents to win another impossible game and the series. This is a good precedent for the New Year.

From Mr N. Mahadevan


Team India, Indian cricket team
India captain Virat Kohli celebrates as the game is tied and goes to a super over during the T20 against New Zealand in Hamilton, New Zealand, on January 29, 2020. Image Credit: AP

Uncalled criticism

This is in reference to the former Indian opening batsman, Virender Sehwag’s criticism of the team’s decision to leave out player Rishabh Pant. No doubt, Pant was touted as the next big thing by our selectors, mainly with an intention to snub our former team captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. However, despite given ample opportunities to shine, Pant never won any match during the past year. Hence there is no point in Sehwag’s criticism.

In fact, there are some talented and better keepers than Pant, who seldom get 5 matches in a trot. If I was a team selector, Pant would have been asked to go to the drawing board. Now that KL Rahul is doing a dual role satisfactorily, we should continue with him for some time and relieve Pant to play domestic matches to hone his skills.

From Mr T. S. B. Chander


The coronavirus epidemic

It’s alarming that the coronavirus epidemic has claimed more than 300 lives, and infected thousands globally. It has spread to more than 20 countries (“Coronavirus outbreak: The latest from around the world”,, February 1). The coronavirus has entered India and three positive cases have been reported in the state of Kerala. The government health agencies and hospitals have taken precautions in preventing its future spread. There are surveillance points at airports. Kerala is experienced in handling an outbreak of Nipah virus in the past, and the state managed to control it effectively. With the directives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical agencies, we will overcome and contain this epidemic too. The world will stand together and fight.

From Mr Eappen Elias


Be kind to one another

I just wanted to express my happiness of something that happened to me in the UAE. My partner and I were driving on Shaikh Zayed Road (SZR) on our way to dinner, when the car in front of us jolted to a halt. Very quickly, other drivers tried to get around and started honking and causing a scene. Having your car break down in the middle of the road can happen to anyone. We are always too quick to get frustrated to actually consider that the situation might be difficult. Dean, my partner, jumped out of the car and signalled to the driver who had already abandoned his car on the road and was calling for some assistance.

The driver with a big smile ran back to his car and Dean helped him push his car to the side of the road. There was no longer a block on the road and all the cars could go back on their way. It probably took about two minutes to help this man, which I’m pretty sure avoided 30 minutes of a traffic jam. No one else tried to help and some even tried squeezing through the gap as they got to the slip road. If more people were willing to help others, it would indeed help us all.

From Ms Christina Everington


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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Tiny little happiness

Life is always a constant battle with oneself. It is unpredictable and hard at times but one should be hopeful and lead a positive life. It is always better to hope rather than not be ambitious. Dubai made my dreams and aspirations come true and always made me fly. The world here is so beautiful. A recent cookery competition left me mesmerised seeing the culinary skills and creative side of all the participants. It added a feather to everyone’s cap by appreciating the skills of homemakers, the competition was all about traditional dishes. And, finally Dubai never fails to tell us that we have the strength to reach for the stars.

From Ms Nivedita Mathapathi


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