I am very happy with the financial budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. One because the income tax slab has been increased up to Rs.5 lakhs and no tax will be levied on it. This will be a big relief to a middle-class person. Besides, the FM has raised taxes on tobacco products. But I am astonished to see that no benefits have been announced for senior citizens. Thus, Sitharaman has failed to impress senior citizens.
The FM has also announced a package of Rs.9000 crore which would be used for the welfare of senior citizens along with the differently-abled citizens. However, senior citizens are not much impressed by these announcements. Most senior citizens, who usually survive on a limited income such as a pension, were expecting some more announcements so that they could cope with price hikes on almost every essential service.
As per the new tax slabs, senior citizens aged 60 years and above but below 80 years, with an income up to Rs.3 lakh, are exempted from tax. Similarly, the super senior citizens aged 80 years and above, with an income up to Rs.5 lakh, have been exempted from tax. Seniors appreciate the new tax slabs but at the same time they say that something more was expected for senior citizens. Like the medical expenditure, we are allowed to deduct Rs.50,000 from out of Income tax now. The amount ought to have been increased up to Rs.75,000/= for the senior citizens.
As the budget has no mention of any relaxation for senior citizens in terms of medical treatment, the government must understand that we have limited income and we are the ones who suffer from some or the other ailment. To get ourselves treated, we go to the hospitals and end up paying lakhs of bills altogether.
There is no hike in the interest rates of fixed deposits, which are mostly relied upon by senior citizens. I am satisfied with the budget with whatever has been allocated for senior citizens. I can say that the greed to have more would never go and thus we should accept whatever we have been given. The government obviously has other expenses too.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)