Monday, June 14, 2021
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Budget should provide relief to salaried class

I have some worthy suggestions to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the eve of the Union Budget to be presented soon. This time, the Union Budget presentation has been advanced to 1st February, 2017. In fact these suggestions have been time and again ignored by the finance minister due to which there has been no relief to the common man and the salaried class. I am not going into critical cases of taxation pertaining to corporate and industries, market and commodity transactions and other such matters, as there are many associations to represent and make suitable suggestions to him.

Now as the government and the Prime Minister and Finance Minister have been claiming “overall success of the Demonetisation scheme” and there has been a surge in bank deposits and crores of unaccounted wealth also have been unearthed, the government must announce several relief measures for the common man, who incidentally had taken “pains of various kinds”  to comply with as many regulations during the demonetisation period. Considering the high inflation rate (thanks to rising prices of vegetables, groceries, essential commodities, petrol etc.) life has become extremely difficult. Hence the income tax slab limit must be hiked to a reasonable extent -at least upto Rs 5 lakhs per annum for providing relief to salaried class. Forget about the abolition of income tax which the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had suggested in one of his campaigns and on which many economists and professionals have been talking about.

Senior citizens have been undergoing severe trouble nowadays, thanks to ever reducing rate of interest on fixed deposit amounts which were the source of livelihood for many of them. On this account, the finance minister must consider maintaining a fixed and reasonable rate of interest on fixed deposits for the senior citizens to earn a decent and regular income to lead a normal life. The rates should not be brought down every now and then which will adversely affect the standard of living of the senior citizens and it will become difficult for them in meeting essential expenses of buying medicines, etc. The finance minister must come out with a positive proposal to help the senior citizens.

Reinstate Standard deduction. Businessmen, landlords and some class of professionals can set-off every expense they incur to earn income. But the salaried class cannot even set-off the basic needs’ expenses as “Standard deduction”? Why step motherly treatment is meted against them?

The government keeps on revising petrol prices as the common man has to shell out more money for transportation. However the finance minister doesn’t want to increase the transport allowance to a decent level? Why such double standards? Ask any worker or an office goer who spends around three to four thousand rupees just to commute from home to workplace. And not all are lucky to get this money reimbursed. Conveyance limit must be hiked to a decent level–especially when several political leaders, MPs, MLAs, VVIPs and bureaucrats enjoy as many “Free rides”.

Similarly, looking at the cost of mounting medical /health care expenses, the limit of Rs 15,000 exemption, is a paltry amount. All the insurance companies have also enormously jacked up the premium amount for the health insurance policies, from this year. And, same is the case with the exemption allowed for education expenses as today the cost of education in all respect has risen astronomically. Here too the exemption limit as available should be increased to a logical extent. Above all, the limit for exemptions under Sec.80C should also be increased to Rs. 3.00 lakhs.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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