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The Union budget has announced its usual palliative for inclusive growth and aam aadmi. But the urban aam aadmi loses all.
Despite loud protests this year, especially from the environment minister who condemned the misuse of under-taxed diesel in cars and SUVs, the finance minister could not summon courage to increase taxes on vehicles. He is willing to forego revenue to support this luxury use. The proposed tax cuts on hybrid, electric vehicles and fuel cell cars—fancy of the rich—though well intended, cannot deliver real benefits if the status quo on diesel cars is maintained. Most stark is the neglect of buses, the vehicle of the masses. Financial assistance is available only for a few lines of expensive metro in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.