At the outset, I welcome and congratulate the new Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who will be presenting her maiden Union Budget in a few days.
Hon’ble FM! You have yourself sought suggestions and views from the people and here are some worthy suggestions to you from my side. In fact, these have been time and again ignored by your predecessors due to whom there has been no relief to the common man, the salaried class, and mainly the senior citizens. 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 your good self.
Last year, Piyush Goel was kind enough to hike the tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh. This was only notional. This was not effective and the actual exemption limit. IT @5 per cent was still made applicable. I suggest that the first slab of Rs 5 lakh be fully exempted from tax. Besides that, the third slab of 30 per cent is hitting the salaried class very hard. Here, I feel that this rate should be lowered at least for the salaried class and employed.
Today, the plight of senior citizens is quite pathetic. The senior citizens today, are in fact a harassed lot, thanks to the ever decreasing rates and return on investments like fixed deposits on which they try their best to thrive. On the one hand, you are increasing the prices and imposing cess, surcharge, etc. However, on the other hand, you are reducing the interest rate on deposits, etc? The interest on PPF was also reduced. Do you know how senior citizens have been adversely affected due to the drastic reduction in the interest rates, from time to time? Their monthly income (through interest as a source of income alone) has come down heavily and they have been finding it difficult to lead a decent life. At the time of introducing exclusive schemes for Senior Citizens government, banks, LIC, etc., generously announce the interest rate of 9.30 per cent and even above. Later this is brought down systematically, for one reason or the other to say 8.30 per cent or just 8 per cent. Once the interest rate is fixed under the “senior citizens’ scheme”, this should never be brought down, especially when there is a lock-in period of 5 to 10 years, for investments made.
Above all, the limit for exemptions under Sec.80C should also be increased to a more reasonable level.
This is very important. Dear Madam, for your earnest and bold action: It’s high time that the agricultural income is brought into the income tax net. Many politicians and others under the guise of being “agriculturists/farmers” have been evading I-Tax for decades. No Finance Minister has ever dared to bring the AGRI-Income for Income tax. In fact, today, one can see many rich farmers leading a lavish style (most of the political leaders and so on…) and yet not paying the income tax as they say they earn “agricultural income!!” Will you please muster the courage to introduce “Tax on Agricultural Income, say, above 10 lakhs” – especially to tax the so-called super rich agriculturists/farmers who have been evading taxes worth crores, for generations?
Last but not the least, you need to book all those utter and core corrupt officials, bureaucrats, ministers, super wealthy political leaders of regional parties too and attach all their wealth and assets. I am not talking about the huge money stashed away in Swiss banks. We have been hearing very many cases of ministers and bureaucrats and officials being involved in large scale scams and corrupt deals. They have amassed wealth and properties to the tune of hundreds of crores. Some former ministers have been found to be having as many properties, farms, flats, lands, and so on. However, nothing has happened so far to them, except that raids by IT, ED, CBI, are being conducted with no end results or the ‘scamsters’ getting punished!! The legal cases and hearings go on and on and on with the ‘defaulters and the accused’ only getting bail as many times and seeking the SC permission to happily undertake foreign travels! These cases must be fast-tracked and closed for once for all. The core corrupt who has looted the nation must be put behind bars.
More importantly again, as per the disclosure made by the FM last year, that the number of bank loan defaulters has risen to an alarming extent, the government must take stern actions against this defaulters-come what may. It’s a known case that on the one hand some industrialists happily default loan repayments etc. and on the other hand lead a lavish style by owning luxury yachts, limousines and so on. These defaulters must not be spared at all. Come what may, crooks like Mallya, Nirav, Choksi and many others — that outside and those from inside the country too must be booked and jailed.
The government must grab and attach all the properties of such corrupt people and defaulters and recover all the monies due.
Dear FM Madam! Please recover all those unaccounted wealth, assets, and cash from the most corrupt people; you can certainly get huge revenue to wipe off the deficit in the budget. You need not even think of imposing and taxing the common man anymore. Maybe you can even do away with the Income tax on the salaried.
Once you tax “agricultural income”, the fiscal health of the nation and also the health of genuine and poor farmers, will drastically improve.
Will the Hon’ble PM and your good self take some bold measures — it’s now or never! Let’s have “SABKA VIKAS” in real terms — for the common man and the honest taxpayers to lead a decent and healthy life!
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