Why has the Budget not increased the tax exemption limit for ladies?

Uma Maheshwari, Chennai

Indeed this is the grouse of both the males and females alike. While liberally taking up the 10 per cent slab to Rs 5 lakh, he has kept the exempted slab to where it is. I think this has left people in the bottom of the heap high and dry.

There was a case for a substantial relief to them as well.

In the event, a lady with an income of Rs 3 lakh would continue to pay a tax of Rs 11,000. Inflation has impacted them as well and clearly the Finance Minister has not addressed their concerns.

Wedding gifts

I feel exemption to marriage gifts would encourage polygamy on the part of males if only to evade tax. What is your take on it?

Teena Mukherjee, Darjeeling

The exemption to marriage gifts is a relic of the past — a straight lift from the Gift Tax Act, 1958 that has been repealed.

The unlimited exemption granted to marriage gifts does provide a fertile ground for tax evasion and conversion of black money into white.

There must have been a reasonable limit to it put by the Government.

Yes, it won't be far-fetched to suggest that intrepid males may take to the marriage route whenever their black money swells out of control. It is not likely to happen with females as much given the social mores of the country.

Registration of property

On marriage, shouldn't there be a compulsion to register one's property in the joint names of the husband and wife?

Bhavna Mehta, New Delhi

Well, it certainly would be conducive to making a marriage stick but would throw up other problems such as what happens on divorce if it becomes inevitable.

The Delhi Government, for example, has done its bit to promote and secure the lot of women by giving a concession in the matter of property tax to females vis-à-visthe amount payable by the male owners of houses.

Some States give concession in the matter of stamp duty as well when properties are made over to females.

Generally, I feel that the system of community of property prevalent in some countries, including in the western part of the US, can be implemented in India through appropriate incentives. Yes, the provident fund law does compel one to have a relook into the issue of nomination on marriage.

Standard deduction

I think females in particular need to be given standard deduction from salary to encourage them to take to work more and more.

Shobana Lalwani, Mumbai

Without detracting from the intrinsic merit of your question, let me add that the salaried class in general is deserving of standard deduction and the Finance Minister should restore it in his post-Budget retrospection. While so doing, he must grant more to female employees because the element of personal expenses is more for them given the need to balance house and office work.

S. MURLIDHARAN

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 8, 2010)
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