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Budget 2013-14: Dream budget or dream shattering for senior citizens?

At the age of 58 or 60 majority of Indians retire from public sector jobs. So in essence income stops from this age. For the senior citizen return on their investments is the main source of income post retirement however the price hike in almost all products in last few years have shattered their monthly budgets. Although their investments have also increased along;  it hasn’t kept pace with growing inflation. Besides this there are taxes to be paid. Taking these factors into the consideration when P. Chidambaram announced the budget; senior citizens had their fingers crossed thinking about the various benefits he would offer them. Let’s see if the minister has duly fulfilled any of the expectations.

Expectation 1:

 First & foremost, senior citizens were looking at an increase in the exemption limits. Currently only senior citizens (between age group of 60 – 79 years)  & super senior citizens (age of 80+) earning an income of less than Rs 2.5 lakhs and 5 lakhs respectively are exempted from tax.

 Well sorry to say, there has been no change in tax slabs for either senior or super senior citizens. Looks like you might have to wait for another year to see the slab getting increased.


Expectation 2

Secondly along with all other taxpayers, senior citizens too were looking for increased exemption under Section 80C. Currently almost everyone enjoys Rs. 1 lakh exemption over various investments; hence senior citizens were hoping for a slight relief.

Further tax benefits on Senior Citizens Savings Scheme in the form of tax exemption on the income from this investment would be an item on the senior citizen wish list. Currently, this investment falls under the ETT category, i.e. there is a tax benefit in form of applicability under section 80C only on investment. Thereafter the quarterly income or accrual income is subject to tax like any other investment and this can be quite an amount considering the maximum amount permissible for investment is Rs.15 lakhs.


Expectation 3

 Lastly, senior citizens were eagerly awaiting the New Direct Tax Code to see if there are any SOPs for them specifically.

Here also senior citizens have to face the disappointment as nothing has been changed. In a country where senior citizens do not feel safe, the government is adopting no strong measures for the security of the elderly, at least fulfilling a few wishes of the senior citizens in the budget could have brought smiles on their faces & would have given them temporary relief.

 All in all, on behalf of senior citizens I would give Thumbs Down to the budget 2013-14

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