Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal
India in future is going to be a younger India with nearly 70 percent of India being of working age in 2025. Its demographic dividend of a relatively young population as compared to developed nations is an opportunity in the offing. The budget has addressed the higher education and skill development needs by a substantial higher allocation of funds, though no direct tax benefit has been given.
The budget also offers rich dividend to the senior citizens so much so that senior citizens can feel the saying ‘old is gold’. The Budget has offered a three fold bonanza to senior citizens – lowered the qualifying age from 65 years to 60 years, enhanced he basic threshold exemption limit from Rs 2.40 last to Rs 2.50 lakh, an increase of Rs 10000 yielding tax benefit of 1000 and added to this is creation of a new category of ‘very senior citizens’ who are octogenarians (80 or more years of age) who will be eligible for a higher basic exemption of Rs 5 lakh from next assessment year. Such numbers, however, would be in few thousands only but the FM earns the good will.
If one looks at exemption limits, no specific favor has been done to women assessee as their exemption limit remains the same at Rs. 1.90 lakh whereas general limit goes up from Rs 1.68 lakh to Rs 1.80 lakh. However, women senior citizens will be covered under the benefit dolled out to senior citizens.
Very senior taxpayers generally have income from pension, rentals and interest, dividend already being tax free in assessee’s hands. Very senior citizens will not have to pay income tax up to income of Rs 5 lakh but will have to pay 20 % tax on income between Rs 3 and 8 lakhs. Thus, no part of their income would be subject to 10% tax. Certainly, the grey gets the golden edge in this budget, making their sunset years happier.