Friday, September 24, 2021
HomeOpinionDiarySuggestions to the Finance Minister before Union Budget- Part I

Suggestions to the Finance Minister before Union Budget- Part I

I have some worthy suggestions to the Finance Minister, on the eve of the Union Budget to be presented soon. In fact, these have been time and again ignored by the FM 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 the FM.

Considering the high inflation rate and high cost of living (thanks to rising prices of onion, groceries, essential commodities, conveyance…) life has become extremely difficult. Hence, the income tax slab limit must be hiked to a reasonable extent — at least up to Rs 5 lakh per annum — for the relief of salaried/common man (forget abolishing the IT which the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had suggested in one of his campaigns!)

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 then step motherly treatment to the salaried class?

Transport allowance is still at a very ridiculous level. The govt can keep on increasing the petrol prices and the transport/conveyance expenses keep increasing enormously for the common man to bear. But parallelly, the FM doesn’t want to increase the transport allowance to a decent level? Why such double standards? Ask any worker or an office goer. One spends nothing less than an amount Rs 3 to 4 thousand just on “to and fro conveyance” between home and place of work. And not all are lucky to get this reimbursed. Even then, the allowance 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, for exemption, is just paltry. 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.

Today, the plight of the senior citizens is quite pathetic. The senior citizens today, in fact a harassed lot, thanks to 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. But on the other hand you are reducing the interest rate on deposits etc? The interest on PPF is 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 source of income alone) has come down heavily and they have been finding it difficult to lead a decent life.

(This is the first part of the article and the remaining portion will continue tomorrow)

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

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