Budget ignores the interests of elders

Though the Union Budget is hailed as “pro-common man”, it has neglected the interests of senior citizens. Like the NDA government, the UPA government too has not acted upon the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission Report. Raising the tax limit to Rs 1.50 lakh for senior citizens is hardly a concession as it was Rs 1 lakh plus deductions earlier which almost came to Rs 1.50 lakh.

What senior citizens want today are raising the medical allowance from Rs 100 to Rs 300 a month, restoration of commuted portion of pension after 12 years instead of 15 years, and a substantial increase in pension for those who had rendered more than 33 years of service. Bank interest too should be increased for senior citizens and pensioners. As in Punjab, there should be pension hike at the age of 65, 75 and 80 years.

Senior citizens in India should be extended all the concessions enjoyed by their counterparts in the Western countries. These include free medicare, free bus and rail travel, a minimum old age pension of Rs 2,000 for those with absolutely no source of income. Harmony lodges should be provided to the homeless. Only then we can call India a true welfare state.

SHER SINGH, President, Northern Rly Pensioners’ Welfare Assn., Ludhiana


The exemptions available to senior citizens at present to the tune of Rs 1.90 lakh have been reduced to Rs. 1.5 lakh only. Strangely, the general exemption of Rs 50,000 has been enhanced to Rs 1 lakh and exemption for women has been pegged at Rs 1.25 lakh whereas the exemptions amounting to Rs 1.90 lakh currently available to senior citizens have been reduced to Rs 1.5 lakh.



In view of the problems and sufferings of the old people, the rising prices, costly medicines and medical treatment, the tax exemption limit should be increased to Rs 2 lakh.

R.K. JAIN, President, Senior Citizens’ Council, Jagadhri (Haryana)


Section 80 L has been omitted in the Finance Bill giving a jolt to the salaried class. Senior citizens shall be more heavily taxed as the interest of their only saving accumulated during their lifetime and kept in different FDRs etc., shall be regarded as total income for tax.

A new section 80 C has been introduced in which the individual will be allowed a deduction from income of an amount not exceeding Rs 1 lakh paid or deposited by him in the previous year out of his chargeable income to tax in certain specified schemes without any sectoral caps. This provision sounds good but is a first step towards the proposed exempt-exempt-taxed (EET) method from the present system of exempt-exempt-exempt (EEE) method.

If this system is adopted, we will have to agree that the Finance Minister has given less with one hand and taken more with the other hand.

PREM INDER RATTAN, Advocate, Chandigarh

Spirit of togetherness

Through this letter, I welcome thousands of Pakistanis camping in Chandigarh for the Indo-Pak Cricket Test. The spirit of love and togetherness shown by the people of both countries shows that man-made frontiers cannot create misunderstanding in the minds of the people.

Thanks to the cricket match, people could get an opportunity to meet their brothers and sisters across the border and rediscover the true spirit of friendship between the two countries. Clearly, it is not Kashmir but vested interests who are creating hurdles in building bridges of understanding between the two countries.

Consequently, we need more and more sporting events like the ongoing cricket series to spread the message of love and affection among the people of both countries. Hereafter, let us fight as sportsmen and sportswomen only in the stadia and playgrounds. Let the governments of India and Pakistan spend money only on bats, balls and hockey sticks and not on guns and tanks.



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