Union Budget shouldnít hit taxpayers

The Union Budget for 2008-09 is fast approaching. Individual taxpayers are expecting some interesting announcements from Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the Budget to be tabled in Parliament in February last week.

To place the individual taxpayer in the comfort zone, I suggest raising the standard deduction limit to Rs 1,25,000, under Section 80C of the Income-Tax Act, 1961. This will allow a taxpayer to save up to Rs 2,500 in taxes. So is the case with deductions under various sections of the Income-tax Act, individuals are entitled to claim total deduction up to Rs.1 lakh per year (i.e. P.F., NSCs, tuition fee, LIP and investments in various Mutual Funds etc.).

The deduction of Rs 1 lakh looks very meagre for such a vast number of savings and investment plans. For speedy capital formation, Mr Chidambaram should increase the limit of the above mentioned deductions to Rs 1,40,000 which will ultimately help achieve the expected growth rate.

There should be no import duty on life saving drugs and medicines used in the treatment of deadly diseases like cancer and AIDS.

Dr SUNIL KUMAR BARIA, Head, Commerce Dept., SMDRSD College, Pathankot



To be fair to income-tax payers, especially senior citizens, whose daily plight can only be ameliorated by equitable tax relief, Mr Chidambaram should consider the following suggestions. Tax-free exemption limits for individuals, women and senior citizens, rightly raised by Rs 10,000 each last year in view of all round inflation, should be raised further by another Rs 10,000 this year also.

The interest threshold-limit for tax deduction at source (raised to Rs 10,000 from Rs 5,000 an year, last year) should be removed for senior citizens as most subsist on interest incomes alone, being benefit of pension. Ceiling on PPF contributors in a year should be raised from the present Rs 70, 000 to Rs 1 lakh.

Age-limit to help senior citizens avail rail travel concession was lowered to 60 from 65 years by the Railway Minister from 2003-04. Normally, the retirement age for Central government employees is 60 years. Justice demands that age limit for a senior citizenís entitlement to income-tax computation should be lowered to 60 or 62 years in the Budget.



Mr Chidambaram is always seen smiling. He considers himself most competent and refuses to listen to others. He always thinks of how to raise the income-tax for employees who are very honest and pay their income-tax rightly.

What about the tax arrears to the tune of lakhs and crores from industrialists, film actors, directors, producers and others? The Finance Ministry is not taking any interest on recovery because Mr Chidambaram is industry-friendly.

D.R. SHARDA, Chandigarh

Grant for Anandpur Sahib

I read Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soniís statement that the grant for Anandpur Sahib is yet to get Cabinet clearance (Jan 17). Three cheers to the Centre for the release of Rs 200 crore for development projects of Anandpur Sahib and Talwandi Sabo to commemorate the 300th Guruta Gaddhi Diwas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

But then, what about Rs 300 crore released by it in 1999 for infrastructure development of Anandpur Sahib on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Khalsa Panth? At that time also, Mr Parkash Singh Badal ruled Punjab. The people of this area know well that the result achieved was not commensurate with the expenditure incurred.

The road between Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib was recarpeted. The portion at Anandpur Sahib was again carpeted in 2006-07 by a private agency, which is now charging an exorbitant toll tax on all vehicles. Thus, ducks and drakes are being made of public funds and no one knows where the money is actually going. Perhaps there is no audit of funds released for the development of religious places. But this time people expect better results.

NAND LAL, Anandpur Sahib

Roots of the crisis

A reference is invited to the letters of Satwant Kaur and Omar Luther King regarding the trouble in Orissa (Jan 11). It seems both of them are either ignorant of the actual state of affairs leading to the trouble.

Conversions and foreign funding to NGOs for this purpose are reported to be the reasons behind the communal riots in Kandhamal. The conversion of Dalits and tribals were made by allurements like money and jobs. Mostly Hindus are targeted for conversion. This is going on almost all over the country.

Dr R.K. SHARMA, Faridabad



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