Budget 2015: Progressive steps to tackle Silver Tsunami
The Finance Minister has announced a slew of low-cost pension and insurance schemes, including Atal Pension Yojana and Universal Social Security scheme that would help to tackle issues faced by senior citizens
Union Budget 2015, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, was a progressive and visionary budget of PM Narendra Modi. There are short and long term proposal to ‘Make in India’.
This was time for government to honor its commitment for 104 million Senior citizens promised in Election Manifesto. While senior citizen numbers are on the rise, we have hardly got the infrastructure, policy and systems in place. 
The mood of budget was in right note and Senior’s Friendly, beneficial for Today’s Elders and Tomorrow Senior Citizens – the youth. 
The FM said, “Special regard needs to be paid to the population of senior citizens in the country which is now approximately 10.5 crore, out of which over one crore are above the age of 80 years. 70% live in rural areas and a large number are in the BPL category. A sizeable percentage of them also suffer from age related disabilities. Ours is a society that venerates its elders’.”
Some of Direct Benefit Declared/proposed are… 
  1. ‘For the nearly 10.5 crore population above 60 years, of which about 1 crore is above 80 years old, and 70% in Rural area, the government has decided to set up a Senior Citizens' Welfare Fund, which will derive funds from a corpus set up from the funds of the un utilized EPF and PPF.’ FM Quote ‘There are unclaimed deposits of about `3,000 crore in the PPF, and approximately `6,000 crore in the EPF corpus. I have proposed the creation of a Senior Citizen Welfare Fund, in the Finance Bill, for appropriation of these amounts to a corpus which will be used to subsidize the premiums of vulnerable groups such as old age pensioners, BPL card-holders, small and marginal farmers and others. A detailed scheme would be issued in March’. 
  2. Physically challenged senior citizens, living below poverty line will get assistance in terms of physical aids and assistance devices. 
  3. Another benefit for the elderly is in terms of the increase in deduction in health insurance premium and medical treatment. While tax deduction under Section 80D has been raised for individuals below 60 from Rs15,000 to Rs25,000, that for senior citizens has been increased to Rs30,000. 
  4. Besides, under Sections 80DDB, which allows a deduction of Rs 60,000 for treatment of specified diseases like cancer, AIDS, etc, the amount for senior citizens has now gone up to Rs80,000.
  5. Service-tax exemption on Varishtha Bima Yojana.
For Tomorrow Senior Citizens:
  1. FM Jaitley said, “A large proportion of India’s population is without insurance of any kind - health, accidental or life. Worryingly, as our young population ages, it is also going to be pension-less. Encouraged by the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, I propose to work towards creating a Universal Social Security System for all Indians, specially the poor and the under-privileged.” 
  2. Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana - Re1 per day premium, Rs2 lakh coverage, which covers both natural and accidental death risk of Rs2 lakhs. The premium will be Rs330 per year, or less than one rupee per day, for the age group 18-50. 
  3. Atal Pension Yojana, which will provide a defined pension, depending on the contribution, and its period. To encourage people to join this scheme, the Government will contribute 50% of the beneficiaries’ premium limited to Rs1,000 each year, for five years, in the new accounts opened before 31 December 2015.
  4. Limit on deduction on account of contribution to a pension fund and the new pension scheme is proposed to be increased from Rs1 lakh to Rs1.5 lakh. 
  5. Additional deduction of Rs25,000 is allowed for differently-abled persons, increasing the limit from Rs50,000 to Rs75,000. It is also proposed to increase the limit of deduction from Rs1 lakh to Rs1.25 lakh in case of severe disability.
Some of Indirect Benefit for Senior Citizen’s Declared/proposed are: 
  1. Housing for All by 2022
  2. Medical Facility for All Villages
  3. Increased Funding for MGNREGA
The FM said, “In sum, these social security schemes reflect our commitment to utilize the Jan Dhan platform, to ensure that no Indian citizen will have to worry about illness, accidents, or penury in old age. Being sensitive to the needs of the poor, under-privileged and the disadvantaged, we hope that with intention to provide social safety net and the facility of pension to all individuals will enable India to become a pensioned society instead of a pensionless society.”
Still lots to do… But a start has been made with positive mind.
(Sailesh Mishra is Founder President of Silver Inning Foundation)


Budget 2015: Here are the reactions
Amidst volatile session, banking stocks, especially private sector lenders ended the day in green. While most head honchos from India Inc welcomed the Budget, realty players have expressed disappointed so as opposition parties
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday presented the General Budget for 2015-16. After a volatile trading session, stock markets ended the day on firm note as investors cheered the Government’s pragmatic Budget.  Shares of private sectors banks including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC bank surged. These lender hope that Jaitley's proposal to simplify the procedures for local companies to attract foreign investments is likely to favour select private sector lenders who will now be able to raise additional money from foreign institutional investors (FIIs).
Opposition parties slammed as hollow and plain, the first full-year Budget of the Narendra Modi government, saying it lacked the vision and alleged that it was "repayment" by the BJP government to the rich and the corporates.
"The budget is only for big corporates and industries. It is not a pro-poor budget. This budget is a repayment by the BJP government to the rich and corporates who had supported them during Lok Sabha polls. The budget is all about promises," Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said.
Criticising the budget for failing to provide "acche din" to poor, BSP Chief Mayawati said, "budget is aimed at helping corporates. It has been made keeping in mind only the rich and big capitalists. It is not in the interests of common man."
Here are reactions from India Inc on the Budget proposals… 


Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India
The Budget has laid out a clear and tangible roadmap for the future. The decision to incentivise credit and debit card transactions coupled with the proposed new law on black money will bring down the social cost of unaccounted money, apart from adding to the bank bottom-line. The move to frame a Public Contract Bill will kick start activities in the construction sector plagued by disputes. The move to bring NBFCs at par with financial institutions will help banks to clean up their balance sheets by selling stressed assets at an early stage to ARCs. This apart, framing of Bankruptcy Law, sprucing up public investment to channelize private investment and monetisation of gold assets are positive steps.
Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank 
The Union Budget for fiscal 2016 is the Finance Minister's GIFT to the nation. There is a clear and sharp focus on the four key areas of Growth, Inclusion, Fiscal Prudence and Tax Rationalisation. The budget promotes Growth through its focus on infrastructure and ease of doing business. The theme of Inclusion is reflected in the measures taken to empower all stakeholders - there is greater devolution of resources to States and there are a number of measures for the poor, youth and senior citizens. The Fiscal target of 3.0% by fiscal 2018 articulated by the Finance Minister is prudent while at the same time balances the current growth needs of the economy. The clarity given on the Tax regime will go a long way in making India an attractive destination for investments, and encouraging domestic savings. The budget reflects the vision of the Government and takes India forward on a path of growth and inclusive prosperity.
TM Bhasin, Chairman, Indian Banks' Association and CMD, Indian Bank
This is a forward looking Pro-poor, Pro-Agriculture and Pro-Infrastructure Budget with focus on health, housing, education, social security and upliftment of under privileged sections of society. Setting up of Bank Board Bureau is a welcome step towards improving the Corporate Governance in Public Sector Banks which will bring transparency in appointing PSB Heads, Board Members and find innovative ways to raise the much needed capital by the Public Sector Banks. 



Arvind Sethi, MD & CEO, TATA Asset Management
Just as the RBI has been 'bullet proofing' the external balance sheet we were hoping that the FM would take steps to do that for the governments balance sheet. In that context the budget was disappointing because it assumes a questionable growth rate, relies too heavily on divestment to meet fiscal targets, does not address the revenue deficit issue head on and leaves the good things for the future!!
From the rate cut point of view the budget is a little disappointing because they have not dealt with some of the fundamental issues of revenue deficit and still relying too much on divestments as the means of meeting the fiscal deficit. Inflation may continue to come down, but RBI may continue to go slow on rate cuts. We continue to expect rate cut of further 50 bps in 2015.
Vikas Sharma, President & CEO for India, Nomura
The budget is a step to remodel India for the long haul. The three focus areas being infrastructure, rationalisation and co-operative federalism- laying the foundation for the India's road to economic success.
Vikas Khemani, President & CEO, Edelweiss Securities
The FY16 union budget is extremely favorable. First on the fiscal math, policy to relax the medium term path of fiscal consolidation is extremely favorable and is growth supportive, which is the need of the economy, given the health of the private sector. What's more important is that unlike the last couple of years, the fiscal math is extremely credible on tax revenues, disinvestments as well as subsidies. On the expenditure side as well, infrastructure seems to be the clear thrust area of the government with roads and railways expected to witness large capital outlays. Overall, budget addresses both the near as well as long term needs of the economy, with policy heading in the right direction.

Rohit Gadia, Founder & CEO, CapitalVia Global Research Ltd
Overall it was a dream budget Corporate taxes down, GAAR postponed, crackdown on illegal money, wealth tax abolished. Markets were up by a percent while the budget was on and later on slipped to the lows and remained volatile. It's expected to remain volatile as the budget announced was at par with the expectations of D-street and thus market has already discounted the noise going on in the market.
Rishi Gupta, MD & CEO - FINO PayTech Ltd
We believe it is a sensible budget with lot of focus on social security, rural development, employment generation and infrastructure. Creating an investment and infrastructure fund, providing access to formal finance for MSMEs and refinance of MFI through MUDRA Bank, skill development initiatives for unemployed youth to create employment as well entrepreneurial opportunities contribute significantly to the national GDP in the long run. Focus on cashless payments, support for technology start-ups, better infrastructure (power, road, broadband) are right steps in making Digital India a reality.


Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE  
The government has to work on resolving all these large important issues and a lot more. The Finance Minister communicated his plans to bridge the gap between India and Bharat, by introducing reforms to close the gap between urban and rural areas and by stating that all policies need to benefit the poor. We welcome the move to merge FMC with SEBI, which has been a part of the FLSRC recommendation.


Shishir Baijal - Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India
"Overall the direction that the budget has taken is positive with several macro factors making way for a better economic regime.  However, with three consecutive bad years for real estate that left developers and other stakeholders gasping for fresh air, the expectations were only building up by the minute for the last couple of months. Unfortunately, the budget has not given them anything to cheer about. Although the initial part of the budget did mention housing for all, it did not have a game-plan attached to it.   Additionally, no sops or exemptions for homebuyers have been addressed. There is little on easing liquidity for real estate with only partial relief to REITs.  All in all, there is practically no silver lining for stakeholders. With plugging of loopholes in the Benami properties act, stakeholders who used to rely upon it to make money will have a lot to worry about. An already comatose industry will have to wait a bit longer for succour."
Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India
The budget has not provided any additional relief via increased income tax deduction limit or on repayment of housing loans. The regime on these fronts which was announced during the previous budget from eight months ago remains unchanged. This is a disappointment, since there was expectation that the Finance Minister would further increase either or both of these limits and thereby address the reality of high property prices in India. The budget is low on big bang reforms and real estate is only an indirect beneficiary at best.





2 years ago

Why there should be any budgetted scheme for pro-poor ? Any special privilege can be given only as long as the beneficiary is stable, whereas the poverty-stricken population is multiplying every year because of uncontrolled population. Main reason for poverty is over-population only. When a poor citizen cannot adopt a small family, then why he should be given pro-poor doles every year ?

Booster Dose
Current government thinking appears to favour reflation; the belief that government spending on infrastructure and defence can provide a significant boost to the economy appears to have gained ground. There are indications that suggest the prevalence of a view that India can afford a fiscal expansion through increased borrowing to push growth. And so, public sector investment is likely to be the preferred mode of investment. This was the thinking behind this year’s expansionary Railway Budget. Green shoots of significant investments in infrastructure will, indeed, benefit the Indian markets over the medium term. As this Cover Story goes to print before the Budget is presented, we await evidence of whether the Union Budget will boost public investment through fresh borrowing. Read our Cover Story to know how government spending can have far-reaching changes. 
The leak of classified documents from the petroleum ministry may have stunned a few. However, those connected with the media, big business houses or government interaction know that far worse happens in government. In her Different Strokes column, Sucheta shares her own experience of such shenanigans—from the breathtaking e-stamping scam to the Sahara bubble and the various other incidents that show the tricks used by corporates and middlemen to gain unfair advantage.
Despite being the largest stakeholder in the banking system, the voice of bank customers is most feeble. In her Crosshairs column, Sucheta writes that neither the banks nor the regulators care about the bugs, or design flaws, in the use of banking technology that cause enormous hardship to consumers.
Registration for Moneylife Foundation’s International Women’s Day event on 8th March is almost full. This time, Union minister of state for commerce and industry, Nirmala Sitharaman, will be delivering the keynote address. This will be followed by an interesting music recital. If you have not yet registered, do so now at


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