Citizens' Issues
A letter to the FM, from those with disabilities
People with disabilities are possibly the most unheard minority in our country. Ms. Ketna Mehta writes an open letter to the Finance Miniter, about her own and others' hopes and disappointments from Budget 2014

Dear Mr Jaitley,
Congratulations on presenting a very sensible budget. I was excited to see you in a yellow jacket, you may not know this, but it is one of our disability colours. I became optimistic! During the course of your speech when you had to sit down due to a back ache, I became even more hopeful, as more than 30 million of us sit and conduct our lives on wheelchairs! I looked forward to empathy from you for us – the community of people with disability (70 million)- and was hopeful that this year we indeed would be Included. 
Do you know that me and several of my friends with disability are regular and timely tax payers? Some of us have our own enterprises and pay service tax, VAT and corporate taxes! Some of us also sponsor and donate for education of able bodied children, contribute towards cleanliness of our localities and cities, create NGOs to motivate and inspire all citizens. We go beyond our abilities and capacities to bring about equality in our lovely country, India. In most of my international conferences on disability, unfailingly I meet at least one person who praises the benefit and use of our Indian Jaipur Foot, that enabled them to walk with dignity!
We do understand that India has myriad problems and limited resources. But sadly, issues faced by people with disabilities never get the importance it deserves, year after year! The government's job is beyond instituting and giving away awards on 3rd of December  (International Day of the Disabled) every year.
In our optimism about your Budget, we hoped for at least some of the following:
1. Higher tnterest rate (similar to the benefit for senior citizens) on Fixed Deposits and 
long term investment instruments held by People with Disability (PWD). 
2. Free education for PWDs upto SSC in all schools. This would bring real change in exchange for the 'lip service' of inclusive education. 
3. With an increase in the number of accidents in the country, all public hospitals to set up spinal injury rehabilitation units, which will enable them to once again integrate PWDs in society and economically contribute to India's growth story. 
4. Rehabilitation insurance to cover all expenses (medical, assistive technology, therapy etc) of daily life with permanent disabilities. 
5. Access Tax of 2% to be levied on corporations for a period of 10 years to make the public infrastructure in the country barrier-free and accessible for people with disabilities. This could includes educational institutions, government offices, commercial establishments, leisure spaces including sports and recreation, and of course our Parliament. 
6. In the Railway Budget, we expected a substantial allocation in the budget to make platforms, railway stations and compartments truly disabled friendly.  I am sure most Government of India officials have experienced inclusive travel abroad. Some application of these foreign trips in India would have helped.
7. 100% FDI in the manufacturing of products and assistive technology for the disabled. We have excellent innovators and minds to replicate the success with the Jaipur Foot I mentioned earlier.
Based on your speech on TV, as I have not yet read the Financial Bill in depth, there are only a a few things in this budget for PWDs: 
1) Govt will print special currency notes for the visually challenged.
2) The general provisions that will impact PWDs along with the other citizens like raising of income tax exemption limit, PPF, housing loans and if we survive till old age for senior citizens.
3) Four new AIIMS in India is a welcome step for the grossly neglected healthcare sector.
4) Hopefully the new IITs, IIMs and National Sports Academies would be designed on Universal Design principles to coach future Tecnocrats, Entrepreneurs and Paralympic winners.
5) We also hope that the new "Expenditure Management Commission" to be set up would recruit maximum PWDs, considering that living in India is full of obstacles, struggles and frugal resources; who knows how to stretch limited money better than us?
Our Nina Foundation has been, over the years, sharing in the expectations of People with Disabilities from our own annual budget.  This year we were looking forward to a new beginning with a new government. We are sadly disappointed; the Government of India ratified UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) on the 1st of October 2007. In short, it states that PWDs have the same human rights that everyone enjoys. Yet these purported rights never translate to action-oriented policies and measures.
We want you to 'Look' at us, 'Hear' us and 'Walk' with us. We will take you far, far ahead on the global map.
(Dr. Ketna Mehta is an educationist, editor, author and the founder of the Nina Foundation that works for the rehabilitaition of economically and socially disadvantaged people with spinal injuries.)



Jagdish Motwani

2 years ago

Dear Nina Ma'am
Thanks for putting all demands of PWDs in nut shell. As one differently able person myself, I feel from FM most prominant demand was to raise Sec 80 U & 80 DD from current Rs.50,000 which was fixed over a decade back. Second Exempting Any Duty (Customs, Excise, proposed GST, etc.) on Mobility Equipements for PWD like wheelchairs, Callipers, Earing Aids, etc. Further, under CSR allowing employment expenses of PWD.


2 years ago

disappointing budget for differently abled. I urge all concerned NGOs , Trusts to raise their pitch for them. They need more. Thnks to Dr Ketna for raising such a issue in a wonderful maner.

SP - Bhubaneswar


2 years ago

Thanks Dr. Ketna Mehta for taking up the issues of PWDs & also thanks to Ms Sucheta Dalal for providing the platform.
Ms Dalal, how can you help this very important letter to FM make it an online petition, where PWDs, their parents & well wishers can sign for onward transmission to both FM & PM to highlight this critical issue in public domain?
My bind son Krishna (student of SYBA) was refused issuing Jeevan Anand (Plan no.149) insurance this March, after taking the premium in Dec. 2013 by GOI's own LIC in spite of taking up the matter with Chairman of LIC in writing, discriminating in such blatant manner.
Chairman of LIC refused to intervene even when we pointed out discrimination by the management of LIC of India against a Person With Disability in issuing insurance policies in contravention of The Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 & under the Article 14 of the Constitution of India– Right to Equality. Chairman of LIC is emboldened as he is aware of the cost of engaging a lawyer & the cost of Writ Petition under Article 14 of the Constitution of India– Right to Equality is too much for the parents of blind to afford; as the Chairman of LIC is aware of the fact of the much higher expenditure the parents have to incur for bringing up their Children With Disabilities.
This was on the ground of his blindness alone. Students not earning and premium paid by parents as was in Krishna's case would have been, normal students are issued this Jeevan Anand policies (Plan No. 149).

K Majumdar

Narendra Doshi

2 years ago

Dear Dr Ketna Mehta,
Excellent summary. I too do hope Mr Arun Jaitley attempts and implements most of your suggestions sooner than later.
best wishes to your efforts.

Jagdish Chavan

2 years ago

Very rightful expectations from listening government ! Hopefully come true.

Ramesh Poapt

2 years ago

Great Dr.Ketna! Great Moneylife!!

Budget 2014: Tax concessions and other highlights

In his maiden Budget, Jaitley aims to revive investment climate in the country, lays emphasis on fiscal consolidation and also provides some sops for the common man in the form of Income Tax rebates

Her are the Highlights of the Budget:



  • • No change in Income Tax rates

  • • Tax exemption limit increased from Rs2 lakh to Rs2.5 lakh; Tax exemption limit for senior citizens increased to Rs3 lakh from Rs2.5 lakh

  • • Increase in investment limit under Section 80C to Rs1.5 lakh from Rs1 lakh

  • • Housing loan rebate has been hiked to Rs2 lakh from Rs1.5 lakh for self occupied property

  • • Public Provident Fund (PPF) investment limit increased to Rs1.5 lakh from current Rs1 lakh

  • • Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) is being re-introduced to encourage rural people to invest in this instrument

  • • Special scheme to encourage saving for girl child education and marriage to be introduced

  • • 60 more Ayakar Sewa Kendras to be set up across the country



  • • Government committed to providing stable and predictable tax regime that will protect investment and spur growth

  • • The govt will not ordinarily change policies retrospectively which creates a fresh liability

  • • Govt proposes to strengthen authority for advance ruling in tax, set up more benches.

  • • All future indirect transfers under the retro tax regime will be scrutinised by a high level committee of CBDT before action is taken

  • • Expenditure Management Commission will be constituted to look at expenditure reforms

  • • Changes in transfer pricing regulation proposed



  • • Government committed to achieve fiscal deficit of 4.1% for 2014-15: Fiscal deficit target of

  • • 3.4% in 2015-16 and 3% in 2016-17 to be set

  • • Revenue deficit pegged at 2.9% of GDP

  • • Non-plan expenditure pegged at Rs12.2 lakh crore for 2014-15, including fertilizer subsidy and defence spending

  • • Gross tax receipts pegged at Rs13.64 lakh crore; non-tax revenues Rs2.13 lakh crore; capital receipt Rs73,000 crore in 2013-14



  • • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayin Yojana" to be started for irrigation development

  • • Technology driven second Green Revolution with focus on “Protein revolution” to be implemented

  • • Government proposes to provide finance to five lakh landless farmers through NABARD

  • • Govt will initiate scheme to provide a soil health card; Rs100 crore set aside. Rs56 crore for soil testing labs across country

  • • A new urea policy to be formulated

  • • National Adaption Fund for climate change to be set up

  • • Agriculture University in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Rajasthan, and Horticulture University in Haryana and Telangana proposed. Rs200 crore set aside



  • • Rs14,389 crore outlay for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana for development of rural roads

  • • Rs3,600 crore set aside for National Rural Drinking Water for providing safe drinking water in 20,000 habitations

  • • Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana to be launched to augment power supply in rural areas

  • • Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission will be launched to deliver integrated project based infrastructure in the rural areas

  • • "Swach Bharat Abhiyaan” to be launched aimed at total sanitation

  • • National Rural Internet and Technology Mission to be started



  • • FDI in Defence sector raised to 49% from 26%

  • • War memorial to be set up along with a war museum; Rs100 crore set aside for this

  • • Rs5,000 crore set aside for defence outlay over and above amount provided under interim budget; Total outlay Rs2.29 lakh crore



  • • Definition of MSME to be revised for high capital ceiling

  • • Rs10,000 crore venture capital fund to be set up for MSME sector

  • • Investment allowance at 15% for three years to manufacturing companies which invest more than Rs25 crore in plant and machinery

  • • 10-year tax holiday to be extended to companies that start power generation by 31 March 2017

  • • Biotech clusters to be set up in Bangalore and Faridabad to take science and technology to new heights

  • • Eight mega Textile Clusters at Varanasi, Bareily, Lucknow, Surat, Kuttch, Bhagalpur, Mysore and one in Tamil Nadu to be set up

  • • Trade facilitation centres will be set up at a cost of Rs50 crore to help hand-loom development

  • • Basic Custom duties reduced on certain items to encourage investment and domestic production, they include LCD, LED TV panels, machinery required for setting up Bio-CNG plants

  • • Basic customs duty reduced on items used in chemical and petrochemical sector to encourage investment

  • • Manufacturing units will be allowed to sell their products through retail and e-commerce

  • • Apprentice Act to be suitably amended to strengthen the Apprentice Training Scheme



  • • Institutions to mainstream PPP projects to be set up; priority being given to shipping, inland waterways, airports and road development

  • • National Industrial Corridor Authority, with its head-quarter at Pune, is being set-up with an amount of Rs100 crore, to coordinate the development of industrial corridors with smart cities

  • • Rs4,200 crore set aside for Jal Marg Vikas project on river Ganga connecting Allahabad to Haldia, a distance of over 1620 kms

  • • Namami Gange", an integrated Ganga Development Project announced; Rs2,037 crore set aside for this

  • • NRI fund for conservation of river Ganga to be set up

  • To complete gas grid,15,000 kms of additional pipeline to be developed through the PPP mode

  • • Metro rail services to be launched in Lucknow and Ahmedabad; Rs100 crore set aside for it



  • • Rs7,060 crore outlay for the development of 100 smart cities

  • • Urban renewal to address drinking water, use of recycled water,solid waste management, digital connectivity

  • • Mission for low cost housing proposed to incentivise development of low cost housing; Rs400 crore announced

  • • Slum development to be included in Corporate Social Responsibility activities

  • • National Housing Banking programme announced with an outlay of Rs8,000 crore



  • • A Financial Inclusion Mission will be launched from Independence Day this year as a time bound programme to provide all households in the country with banking services

  • • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to Create A Framework for Licensing Small Banks

  • • Six new Debt Recovery Tribunals at Chandigarh, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ernakulam, Dehradun, and Siliguri to address the problem of Non Performing Assets (NPAs).

  • • FDI in insurance sector is being increased to 49% from the current level of 26% with full Indian management and control



  • • A national multi-scale programme called Skill India to be introduced to provide training and support for employment

  • • Five new IITs in Jammu, Chhatisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala to be set up

  • • Five new IIMs in HP, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra to be set up

  • • Four new AIIMS to be set up in AP, West Bengal, Maharashtra (Vidarbha) and Uttar Pradesh (Purvanchal)

  • • Jai Prakash Narayan National Centre for Excellence in Humanities to come up in Madhya Pradesh



  • • Rs100 crore set aside for Community Radio Centres; 600 new and existing ones to be supported

  • • 'Kisan' TV channel to be launched by DD at cost of Rs100 crore: Rs100 crore for Community radio stations proposed

  • • 24 x 7 Arun Prabha channel announced for the North Eastern region



  • • Govt to set up national sports academy for different sports in different parts of India

  • • Sports University to be set up in Manipur; Rs100 crore provided in current financial year



  • • In order to give major boost to tourism, e-visas would be introduced at nine airports. This facilitates visas on arrival

  • • Rs200 crore set aside to support Gujarat govt in the Sardar Patel statue installation



  • • Subsidy regime to be made more targeted to provide full protection to the marginalized, SCs and STs

  • • Rs100 crore allocated for the modernization of Madarsas; Program for up-gradation of skills and ancient arts for the minorities to be implemented

  • • Rs50,548 crore proposed for SC development

  • • Fifteen new Braille presses to be established to produce literature for visually impaired; Govt to print currency notes with Braille like signs to help the blind

  • • “Beti padhao, beti badhao yojana” announced to promote girl child education. Outlay Rs100 crore

  • • Crisis Management Centre for women to be set up in Delhi   



DEVENDERDAS Valiyaparambath

2 years ago

The below mentioned will be applicable from this fiscal 2014-2015 or from 2015-2016

Tax exemption limit increased from Rs2 lakh to Rs2.5 lakh
Increase in investment limit under Section 80C to Rs1.5 lakh from Rs1 lakh
Public Provident Fund (PPF) investment limit increased to Rs1.5 lakh from current Rs1 lakh
Housing loan rebate has been hiked to Rs2 lakh from Rs1.5 lakh for self occupied property


2 years ago





2 years ago

In Income Tax Act Section 142A has been replaced by a new section entirely. New S/s 2 gives unbridled power to AO to refer cases to DVO without recording his satisfaction as to correctness or completeness of books maintained.

Memorandum explaining the provision says the rejection of books of accounts was never envisaged by this section

This is an attempt to override the decision laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court in case of Sargam Cinema - 197 Taxman 203

BUDGET 2014: Govt hopes to finalise GST by this year

Jaitley said, the Modi government hopes to bring a final solution this year and approve the legislative scheme which enables introduction of GST across the country

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said a solution to the issues relating to expeditiously rolling out goods and services tax (GST) may be finalised in the current year itself.


While presenting his maiden Budget for 2014-15, the finance minister said, "I do hope we are able to bring a final solution in the course of this year and approve the legislative scheme which enables introduction of GST. This would streamline tax administration and avoid harassment of business and result in higher tax collection both for centre and states."


The GST regime aims at subsuming most of the indirect taxes at the central as well as states' level. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2011 introduced a Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha to pave the way for introduction of GST.


The debate on whether to introduce GST must come to an end now, Jaitley said, adding, "we have discussed the issue for past many years. Some states have been apprehensive about surrendering tax jurisdiction others want to be adequately compensated".


He assured all states that government would be more than fair in dealing with states.


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