For us students, the budget is the time when our parents start worrying about their daily expenses. A time our parents ask us to be careful with our daily budget . We are the middle class students who live on the roadside snacks and endless shopping at Janpath but we are also the children of globalization . So, not only we enjoy eating the roadside ‘Golgappa‘ , but also the ‘Aloo tikki’ burger from Mc Donalds . We plan our monthly budget accordingly, determined to have ‘fun’.
But this time, the Budget 2013 was closer to home then anything . A Tax of 12 % was imposed on all restaurants which had Air Conditioning . It means you have to pay more for that ‘Aloo Tikki’ burger you were enjoying in 30 rupees or the softy you were enjoying at KFC for mere 12 bucks . These fast food restaurants had already increased their rates due to increase in the cost of raw materials , rent and transportation . Now, with the increase in the 12 % surcharge it seems there is an added burden on the middle class students in the country . We students do like to enjoy after all those hectic academic activities, we do like to sit in the comfort of the AC in the dreaded summer heat .In fact, with the rising cost of electricity, more and more homes are using lesser power but to charge extra just because restaurants have AC is having a biased view .
Why club the middle range restaurants with the high end ones who charge a bomb for the simplest of meals? Why put the tax on restaurants and fast food joints just because they have AC? These places don’t serve liquor, they don’t have exorbitantly priced dishes. They employ young men and women who work there part time, to fund their education or for want of some extra pocket money .
By increasing the tax on these middle class fast food joints and restaurants, the government has shown a completed lack of understanding of the habits of the youth. Yes, tax the super rich, tax cigarettes and beedis , tax people who buy yachts and SUVS and tax the high end restaurants which are aÂ favoriteÂ haunt of the rich and famous but do not tax the reasonably priced eateries and joints, which have AC more out of necessity than out of luxury . They have installed AC’s because we need them. In a country like India where people and crops die due to heat wave , saying that AC’s amount to luxury is an irony.
Now students will have to be even more careful with their expenses . With rising cost of education , rents and even basic amenities like food and water, the middle class students will be hit badly . Many of them are funding their own education, living away from home and their idea of eating out with friends and families are food courts and fast food joints. Now, they will have to think twice about the amount they spend outside .
Just like cold countries have heaters installed even in their homes where it is not a luxury but a necessity , it has become a necessity for us Indians to have air conditioning . We are a country that loves to eat . We are still a developing nation and all of us want to sit in the new swanky Mc Donald’s outlet once in a while, spend some time with our friends and family and bond with out loved one’s with a KFC bucket . It is not just about the food, it’s about the experience.