Aware of middle class issues: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ahead of Budget

NEW DELHI: A fortnight before the Budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said that, coming from the middle class herself, she was aware of the pressures faced by

this segment of the population, but pointed out that the Modi government had not imposed any fresh taxes but had provided several services. 97016033 Just like every

year, there is expectation that the FM will tweak the tax slabs, especially this being the last full Budget of the current administration as elections are scheduled in the summer

of 2024. "I am also from the middle class. I identify myself with the middle class, so I know... We have not imposed any new tax on the middle class. We have given a

complete tax exemption till Rs 5 lakh. Metro trains have been built in 27 cities, which are used by the middle class. The middle class is moving from villages to cities, we have

allocated funds for making 100 cities smart cities. I have not put money in every middle class person's pockets... (but) haven't people gained from smart cities, metro trains,

drinking water supply? We can do more for the middle class. I am listening to issues and I quite recognise problems. We will continue with our efforts," Sitharaman said at an

event organised by RSS publication Panchjanya. On the debate around freebies, the minister said that people were raising issues around what constituted a freebie and what

was not.