Budget 2021

Silver lining to the Budget cheers senior citizens

Mumbai | Updated on February 01, 2018

A shot in the arm Meena Singh and RA Singh are very excited about the budgetary provisions for senior citizens. Meena’s father-in-law has a damaged liver while her mother-in-law takes medication for blood pressure. The couple is relieved with the announcement of health insurance and fixed deposit income benefits. SHASHI ASHIWAL   -  BusinessLine

Sops on provisions for income from FDs, medical expenses

Meena Singh is thoroughly relieved at the Finance Minister’s ‘people-friendly’ budget. The additional sops announced for senior citizens received much kudos, as did the medical benefits extended to the aged.

Announcing a series of benefits for senior citizens, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the exemption limit five times on income from fixed deposit interest, from ₹10,000 to ₹50,000 per year. “This will help us save more for my in-laws, who should enjoy their money in their old age rather than pay taxes,” said Singh.

No change in IT a let-down

Singh’s father is a Navy veteran living in Dharamshala with her mother. “The FM should have altered the income-tax slabs for individuals, which would have generated more disposable income. However, the increase in the deduction limit for medical expenditure of certain critical illnesses to₹1 lakh for senior citizens is really commendable,” Singh said, referring to her father-in-law suffering from liver failure and needing urgent medical attention. Singh stays in Mumbai with her in-laws.

As senior citizens will now be able to claim benefit of deduction up to ₹50,000 per annum on any health insurance premium or any general medical expenditure that has been incurred, Singh was all praise for the government. “It is high time the government realises that there is this class of citizens living in the country who need to be looked after. Other than their children, there has to some other authority to take on some of the responsibility of the aged. Look at what is happening abroad, where the government also takes on the onus,” says Singh, who is an advocate by profession though not practising at the moment.

Mother to two small girls, Singh is not too perturbed about the hike in customs duty on perfumes, sunglasses, make-up, and fruit juices. “There is a ban on carbonated drinks in my house. We don’t have any packaged fruit juices. As for edible oils, though customs duty has been hiked, we rely on Saffola from Marico and an Indian brand of mustard oil. No olive oil for us,” she says with a laugh.

Singh insists she supports the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, though she and her husband rely on an iPhone. “When this one breaks down, I will buy an India-made mobile,” she declares.

Buying toys, no fun

However, she is upset about the hike in customs duty on imported toys. “The government should not tax children’s toys. They have a certain expectation from their parents with regards to toys, and when parents cannot buy the toy of their choice, because customs duty has been doubled, it sets a certain precedent. The last imported doll I bought was around ₹1,700. I shudder to think I will have to pay 30 per cent import duty from now on,” she adds.

Published on February 01, 2018

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