Benefits to be considered for differently abled in upcoming Budget 2015
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As per estimates more than Eighty million people in India suffer from some or the other form of disabilities. Approximately Ten million out of this eighty is independent while the rest is dependent on their family members for their basic necessities including recurring medical and rehabilitation expenses. The Government of India has provided various concessions and reservations to empower such differently abled persons and their families.
The constitution of India has granted equal rights to every citizen of India. To provide a level playing field and to compensate for additional expenditure incurred by differently abled person and their family members certain benefits in form of additional deduction/tax concessions are granted. The government revises the basic exemption limit every year. However, deductions/concessions for the differently abled have not been reviewed since the last decade. The same requires fresh consideration in light of rising inflation and high increase in cost of medical facilities. We request the Finance Minister to review the below mentionedprovisions in the upcoming Budget in Feb 2015:
1. Increase in deduction granted under Section 80U and 80DD
At present, a person with atleast40% disability can claim a deduction of Rs 50,000/- and a person with severe disability of 80% or more can claim a deduction of Rs. 1,00,000/-under section 80U. Thelimit for person suffering with 40% disability has not been revised since 2004. We request you to increase the limit to Rs 2,00,000/- and Rs 3,00,000/- for person suffering with 40% disability and 80% disability, respectively. Similarly, we request you to increase the limits under section 80DD to Rs 3,00,000/- so that a family member of differently abled person can be benefited.
2. Increase in deduction under Section 80DDB
Presently, a person or family member who pays for the medical treatment of differently abled person or for one who is suffering from an ailment is allowed a deduction of Rs 40,000/- (Rs 60,000/- in case of senior citizen). This section was introduced in the year 1997 and additional limits for senior citizen were introduced in the year 1999. However, the same have not been reviewed till date. We request you to consider revising the limits to Rs 2,00,000/- and Rs 3,00,000 for senior citizens.
3. Increase in Exemption for Transport allowance Section 10(14) read with rule 2BB
Presently, transport allowance of Rs 1600/- per month is granted to employees who are blind or orthopedically handicapped with disabilities in lower extremities since 1999. However, no revision has been made since then. Further, you may appreciate that the public transport in India is not friendly enough for the differently able. Considering the same we request you to increase the limit of transport allowance to Rs 5000/- per month.
4. Additional Avenues of Tax concession for minor child
At present, income of a minor child is not clubbed under Section 64 if such minor child is suffering from any form of disability specified in section 80U. Given the current trend of nuclear families with one child, a parent finds it difficult to ensure adequate funds are saved for the future of such a child. In this regard, we request you to grant an additional exemption of Rs 1,00,000/- for investments made by parents on behalf of a child suffering from severe disability.
5. Insurance coverage under section 10(d):
In the Finance Bill of 2013, it was provided that exemption will be given for sum received under any life insurance where premium payable is not more than 15% a year.We request you to consider a larger view and provide additional deduction of Rs 50,000/- per year for insurance taken for differently abled person and encourage LIC and other insurance companies to simplify the rules for such people.
6. Scheme for private sector to encourage employment for differently abled
The Government of India has introduced a scheme in the year 2008 which directly provides for EPF and ESCI for employees who are disabled, if they are appointed by private sector with some conditions. The scheme has encouraged only few hundreds of private sector to employee such person with disability compared to initial target of one lakh a year. We request you to provide for EPF and ESCI for all differently abled employed by private sector without any condition.
7. Simplify process for availing Custom and Excise exemption
The Central Government providesvarious exemptions like excise exemption for vehicles which are used by differently abled, custom duty exemption in case of import of aids and appliances which are used by differently abled etc. The process to avail these exemptions are very cumbersome and time consuming, so most of the individuals are not able to avail these benefits. We strongly request you to simplify these process and rules such that the differently able can avail such benefits.
8. Making India Accessible
Accessibility is one of the basic issue in India. Most places in India are not accessible by wheelchair users. It is very difficult to attend school, colleges and public places, including government offices, public transport and tourist place in a wheelchair. Even most of the websites of the Government are not accessible for differently abled. We request you to allocate Rs 1000 Crore as part of the budget in first year to make India wheelchair accessible.
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