Union Budget: I-T limit raised to Rs1.80 lakh, very senior citizens category introduced

Unveiling the Budget proposals for 2011-12, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today proposed to raise the income tax (I-T) exemption limit for general tax payers to Rs1.80 lakh. He also introduced a high new tax slab for very senior citizens of 80 years and above

 New Delhi: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today proposed to raise the income tax (I-T) exemption limit for general tax payers to Rs1.80 lakh per annum from Rs1.60 lakh at present and introduced a high new tax slab for very senior citizens of 80 years and above, reports PTI.

 Unveiling the Budget proposals for 2011-12 in the Lok Sabha, he also proposed to reduce the age limit for consideration as senior citizens from 65 years to 60.

 Senior citizens will get tax exemption for income up to Rs2.50 lakh, higher from Rs2.40 lakh now.

 As per the announcement, the increase in the income tax exemption limit for general tax payers (excluding women and senior citizens) to Rs1.80 lakh per annum would translate into a benefit of Rs2,000 for all tax payers.

 At present, the general tax payers earning more than Rs1.60 lakh per annum are required to pay income tax.

 Introducing a new tax slab for very senior citizens (80 years and above), Mr Mukherjee said, they will not have to pay any tax for annual income up to Rs5 lakh.



Union Budget: Direct cash subsidy on fuel, fertilizers to BPL families

The government, which has set up a task force under Nandan Nilekani, presently the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to work out the modalities, is expected to present its interim report by June this year

New Delhi: Concerned over the misuse of subsidies provided under various schemes, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the government will provide a direct cash subsidy on kerosene and fertilisers to the poor from March next year, reports PTI.

"... To ensure greater cost efficiency and better delivery for both kerosene and fertilisers, the government will move toward direct transfer of cash subsidy for people below poverty line (BPL) in a phased manner," Mr Mukherjee said during his presentation of the Budget 2011-12.

The system will be in place by March, 2012, he said.

A task force headed by Nandan Nilekani is working out the modalities for the proposed system of direct transfer of subsidy for kerosene, LPG and fertilisers, he said.

"The interim report of this task force is expected by June this year," he said.

At present, the government provides kerosene at subsidised rates to families living below the poverty line through the public distribution system (PDS). Furthermore, LPG is provided at a subsidised rate to households.

As regards fertilisers, the government provides subsidy to companies so that farm inputs, which include urea and imported fertilisers, can be provided to farmers at cheaper rates.

Earlier this month, the government set up a task force under the former chief of Infosys, Mr Nilekani, who at present is Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman. The panel also included secretaries from the ministries of finance, chemicals and fertilisers, agriculture, food, petroleum and rural development.

The need to set up the task force arose in view of "overwhelming evidence that this (current) policy is resulting in waste, leakage, adulteration and inefficiency. Therefore, it is imperative that the system of delivering the subsidised kerosene be reformed urgently," the government had said.

Besides designing an IT framework, the task force will align the systems with the issuance of the UID numbers and suggest changes in the administration and supply chain management.

The recommendations of the task force will be implemented on a pilot basis by the concerned ministries and the final report would include the results of such projects.


Union Budget: Highlights 2

Here are some more announcements made by the finance minister during the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament today.

  • Public Debt Management Agency Bill in the next fiscal.
  •  Indian mutual funds to get direct access to foreign markets; FIIs to be allowed to invest in MFs.
  •  Investment limit for FIIs in corporate bonds to be raised.
  • Government to put in place framework to safeguard small borrowers in the micro finance sector.
  •  Current account deficit and average inflation in 2011-12 likely to be lower than in the current year.
  • Total food inflation down from 20.2% last year to 9.3% in January; continues to be matter of concern.
  •  RBI measures to help further moderate inflation in coming months; high current account deficit also poses concern.
  •  Economy estimated to have grown 8.6% in 2010-11; growth expected at 9% in next fiscal.
  •  Corruption identified as a problem that needs to be fought collectively.
  • Union Budget 2011-12 a transition towards more transparent and result-oriented economic management.


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