Monday, February 20, 2017

Senior Citizens and Union Budget 2017-18

Senior Citizens and Union Budget 2017-18

This year’s budget was majorly a disappointment as far as senior citizens are concerned. None of the appeals made through several channels to the Finance Minister have been heard. We had expectations regarding increase in minimum income that would be tax free, increase in FD interest rates, medical / health facilities through innovative insurance schemes, furth
er concessions in train travel etc—all these with special reference to the elderly population. None of them have been heeded to.

However a few benefits that have a consoling effect, have been indicated as follows:

1.      Senior citizens will be provided with Aadhaar based smart cards containing health information. It will be useful in enjoying financial benefits like collecting old age pension via digital payment system using biometric options – finger print recognition. To begin with this will be tested in 15 districts in 2017-18.
2.      A new version of Varishta Pension Bima Yojana will be introduced which will be administered through LIC. This scheme will ensure a guaranteed return of 8% interest for 10 years, thus protecting you from market fluctuations (reduction) of FD interest rates. A maximum of Rs 7.5 Lakhs would be accepted.
3.      Service charge on E-tickets bought through IRCTC has been withdrawn. Presently it is Rs 20 for e-ticket for second or sleeper class and rs 40 for all other upper classes.
4.      A great thrust has been made on digital (cashless) transactions. If seniors can take to using smart phones, lot of physical work like going to bank etc can be reduced.
5.      On basic income tax slabs, tax rate for 2.5 Lakhs-5 Lakhs, tax has been reduced to 5% from 10%. Rebate under 87A is reduced to rs 2500 and it is available for income up to 3.5 Lakhs only. If you take into account a deduction of 1.5 Lakhs under 80C then inome upto 4.5 lakhs is exempted from any tax.
6.      Following table gives details of tax slabs for 2017-18

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