Falling rate of interest on fixed deposits in banks
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In recent months, the rate of interest payable on term deposits with banks has come down progressively. From a high of 10% pa a few years ago, to 6.00 to 6.5% per year. This has adversely effected the lives of millions of senior citizens all over the country. Added to this over last few years, the cost of living has gone up substantially.Prices of vegetables, fruits, and essentials like milk, grocery and electricity has gone up at least by 15 to 20%. The cost of engaging services of domestic help, electricians, plumbers etc have sky rocketed during this period. Doctor's consultation fees, cost of medicines hospitalization and health insurance premium too has seen substantial increase in recent years. With the introduction of GST recently, the prices of meals and other snacks at small eateries has gone up by 18% A masala dosa costing Rs. 50/- earlier costs Rs. 59/- now. A plate meal which was costing Rs. 100/- now costs Rs. 118/- Lots of senior citizens who can not cook themselves depend on the small eateries who supply them meals and breakfast.
This has put millions of senior citizens to great hardship. Their income has come down by 20 to 25% and will see downward trend in coming years as the deposits carrying higher rate of interest will mature depending on the maturity dates of these deposits.The cost of living on the other has seen a upward move by 15 to 20% and it will be impossible to balance the budget. The hard hit are those who depend only on the interest from their savings with no other income to fall back upon.Government therefore needs to help these hapless segment of society in a big way in mitigating their woes.
What is the need of the hour is give them some financial instruments with a cap on upper limit and with higher rate of interest to begin with. Increase the exemption limits on the income tax. Waive off the GST on health insurance policies and on the hospitalization of this category of citizens.:
1) A fixed deposit scheme for a period of 5 to 10 years carrying an interest of 9% p.a. With a minimum of Rs. 1,00,000/- and in multiples of Rs. 1,000/-. Maximum amount under this scheme to be Rs. 25,00,000/-. Interest to be paid on monthly rests.
2) Increase the income tax exemption limit for senior citizens between 60 years and 70 years to Rs. 5,00,000/- and for senior citizens aged 70 years to 80 years to 10,00,000/- and for the senior citizens above 80 years to 15,00,000/-
3) Waive off GST on medical insurance policies of the senior citizens.
4) Waive off GST on hospitalization of senior citizens
5) Bring in law to reduce the consultation fees of doctors by 50% and on medicines by 20%
6) Increase number of seats on priority for the senior citizens in railways, airlines and buses and reduce the fares by at least 40%
These steps will help the senior citizens a great dealt to manage their finances well and live their lives with dignity and respect. We also urge the Central Government to formulate a suitable geriatric policy to protect the rights of the senior citizens.
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