Income Tax Relief to the Salaried Employees of India
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Hon. Finance Minister, Shri. Arun Jaitleyji,
I write this with a very heavy heart as a small representative of the salaried middle class of this lovely country.
Each year, before every budget announcement, like all the sectors/citizens of this country, we too look forward to the budget with great expectations in the hope that a little more money will drop into our kitty and there is an increase in our take home salaries, but each year we are left with the same disappointment and dejection, this year even more so, because there is practically nothing provided to the most honest citizens of this country who have been paying taxes diligently each year throughout the lifetime of their employment.
What hurts even more is when our own Prime Minister, Narendra Modiji makes a statement like this;
Quote " I express my gratitude to the Finance Minister for the tax relief given to the Salaried class. Congratulations to the heart of this budget, which once again raised the Ease of Living, to the Finance Minister and his team. I am sure India will scale new heights of progress in the years to come." Unquote
I am no financial expert, no economist, I do not understand GDPs and Growth figures, but I do look at what I am left with at the end of the month and I trusted you and this Government to make our lives easier by leaving a little more in our pockets to help us live our lives a little better. You are the financial expert and from what little I know and understand, with the income Tax changes that you have provided for in this budget, for a salaried person having a net taxable salary of Rs.10 lakh per annum, the effective benefit is a meagre Rs.35/- per annum (introduction of Standard Deduction of Rs.40000, is negated by the withdrawal of exemption on conveyance and medical reimbursement and increase in Education cess). Do you honestly feel that this “Raises” the Ease of Living as mentioned by the PM?
The salaried middle class had great expectations from this Government when we voted you to power 4 years ago and felt extremely happy that at last we had “Our” government in place, to run this country. I complement and appreciate Shri. Narendra Modiji and his entire team for having accomplished so many things in such a short span of time with not a single blemish of corruption against this Government.
Having said this, the pains of a middle class salaried class may not be unknown to you, but I still feel it is essential to point them out to you. This section of the society is majorly silent not because they don’t have voice, but because, it is always busy earning to fend for itself and its families who are completely dependent on the salary that comes home at the end of the month. This section of the society does not take to the streets to ask for Loan waivers, nor does it go on a rampage to protest a movie release or to protect a fake “Baba”. This section of the society does not give itself salary increases while also getting a huge number of perks on the side, but has to wait for the year end decision of its managers to see if they get a raise. This middle class also does not call for or organize bandhs knowing fully well how bandhs affect its own brethren and also the lives of poor daily wage earners, nor does it take advantage of such bandhs to destroy public and private property.
This salaried class, whose money has always been going to the banks, did not protest when the Demonetization happened even when they had to spend hours waiting in queues outside ATMs with no certainty that, there will be any money left by the time they reach the ATM for withdrawing their money because they believed and trusted you that you are working for the greater good of the country. This is that class of the society that gets its salary after duly and honestly paying its taxes. The trader class which has enjoyed all the benefits of all the Government schemes but did not bother to pay any taxes for years together because they had the choice of doing their business mostly by cash probably did not suffer much because they probably already had enough cash on hand to overcome the hardship of the Demonetization, unless they had larger denomination currency.
This salaried middle class bore the brunt of the onion prices reaching Rs.80 per kilo and also Toor Dal prices touching Rs.200 per kilo. This class of people also kept quiet when, during the drop in fuel prices, the Government hiked up the cess and did not pass on the full benefit of the fuel price reduction to its citizens.
The least that this class of “Silent“ citizens deserved for all the hardships that it has faced in support of a good Government, is some consideration in Income taxes in your last budget of this Government. While there was talk before the 2014 elections, that we could possibly be looking at an India where there is no Income Tax, we are not even demanding this.
We would gladly pay up more taxes had we, like some other developed countries been assured of maintaining our standard of living after our retirement and not have to save up on our own to live a life of dignity because we do not have a good pension scheme. We would have gladly paid up more taxes, if we did not have to pay through our noses for providing quality schooling and education to our children because the Government schools are pathetic. We would have also gladly paid up more taxes if we were assured of good healthcare without having to spend our last penny on treating/ saving the lives our beloved ones in private/ renowned hospitals because of the quality of our Government Hospitals. We do all of this from the salary we save after paying all our taxes.
Tweaking of tax slabs with a sense of generosity, doing away with only travel cost exemption on LTA that too only when travel within India, increasing the ridiculous exemption of Rs.100 on Tuition Fees (when parents pay up thousands of Rupees as school fees apart from the lakhs or Rupees spent as donation, just for getting their children admitted to pre-primary), and many other such changes would have made this salaried class a happy lot.
This salaried middle class only aspires to reach the upper middle class or the affluent middle class of the society and we sincerely hoped that you would help make that small aspiration come true with a small step from your side in your budget. Today, this class of citizens is very unhappy and disgruntled. You have left them extremely disappointed with your budget with not providing them any relief whatsoever, not in this budget nor in the previous budgets. While this class of citizens may still stand up with you for the honesty and hard-working nature of this Government in the 2019 elections, please do not take this class of granted. I can only hope that better sense prevails.
Please re-look at this and consider some benefits that would actually Raise the Ease of Living for the salaried tax payers.
A saddened, honest, tax paying, salaried class Citizen of India.
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