SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Budget doesn’t help senior citizens

The Union Budget has left senior citizens and pensioners dissatisfied. Mr Chidambaram should redress their grievances when the Finance Bill is debated in Parliament. First, since the limit of savings under section 20C has been raised to Rs 1 lakh, Public Provident Fund’s limit of Rs 70,000 should also be raised proportionately to avoid extra paper work.

Secondly, the National Savings Scheme was started in 1987. Even after 20 years, the amount withdrawn from it is taxable. In NSCs (VIII issue) the lock-up period is six years. From September 2006, the government has allowed IT rebate on 5-year fixed deposits issued by scheduled banks with interest payable quarterly. Therefore, the government should now allow withdrawals from NSS without subjecting them to IT so that the blocked amount can be put to some use.

Thirdly, arrears should not be taxed if the income-tax amount accruing from arrears is deposited in tax-saving schemes over and above Rs 1 lakh limit. Had these been given in time, the recipients would have avoided paying tax by proportionate investment in tax-saving schemes.

Finally, as senior citizens get incapacitated in many ways, their expenditure on treatment, conveyance, etc. have increased. Keeping in view the spiraling prices and inflation, the exemption limit should be raised to Rs 2.5 lakh.

D.K. AGGARWAL, Hoshiarpur


 

II

It is a fair and balanced budget. The social sector has been adequately addressed for the first time in many years. The huge increase in the outlay for healthcare and education speaks volumes about the UPA government’s commitment to serve the common people.

Agriculture has been given due focus. Some positive steps have been proposed for irrigation, crop insurance and subsidies. The aim for a 4 per cent growth rate, however, is inadequate. The emphasis should also have been on post-harvest management of farm produce, market chain and food processing.

The proposal for reverse mortgage for senior citizens is a blessing. A regular income from the homes they own will help them lead a better life.

IQBAL SINGH SAROYA, Mohali

III

The increased fund allocation (21.9 per cent more) for health sector in the Union Budget is welcome. It will give a thrust to the ailing public health centres in the country.

In addition, improving infrastructure, equipping hospitals with latest facilities, better care for mother and infant and supply of free and reliable condoms are the need of the hour.

No doubt, the condoms supplied under the brand name ‘Deluxe Nirodh’ is available free of cost at public healthcare centres at subsidised rates. But these are of inferior quality. Also this brand is widely popular among 400 million people living under the Below Poverty Line.

In the recent past, I interacted with around 100 male slum dwellers in and around Hoshiarpur on family planning. To my surprise, more than half of them referred to the inferior quality of Deluxe Nirodh as the prime cause for the population explosion. I urge the Government of India to supply reliable condoms to poor people.

UDHAY SINGH RANA, Social Worker, Hoshiarpur

HUDA’s decision

The Haryana Urban Development Authority’s decision to lower the permissible time limit from 15 to seven years is welcome. A very long permissible time period resulted in trading of the properties time and again and therefore, the property rates have skyrocketed. A common man can’t think of having a house in and around Panchkula.

Owing to the latest decision, only genuine buyers will come forward to purchase the properties while speculators and property dealers will be out of business. HUDA should have lowered the time limit to five years. Indeed, it is a bold step.

Dr R.S. RANA, Dhaulakuan (Sirmour)

Resume pension for teachers

I congratulate Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for having scrapped the ill-conceived concessions. He should immediately order pension to the teachers of aided schools in Punjab. Mr Badal and Mr Kanwaljit Singh had promised this during their election meetings many a time.

After years of agitation, hunger strikes and other sacrifices, the hard-working poor teachers of aided schools started getting pension from 1992. However, the then Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh stopped this facility to those teachers who retired after 2003. The amount of pension disbursed to them will not be more than Rs 10 crore a year.

The erstwhile government granted concessions worth hundreds of crores of rupees to multinationals and denied pension to poor teachers. The people and the teachers would like to know how much money the government lost due to concessions granted to distilleries by the Amarinder Singh government.

BHAWNA MAHAJAN, Amritsar


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