The Damned Senior Citizen
This is a letter to all the netas and babus who pay lip service to senior citizens (SCs). An SC is usually a retired person, usually someone who has no regular earnings except from his savings and investments. We work, earn and save till we are 58 or 60. Sometimes, in the private sector, we can work till we are physically able to. Even post-retirement, some take up some part-time job, in order to keep our hearths warm. All of us live in different circumstances.
 
Those of us who have saved and invested all our lives are now at a stage where we cannot take risks with our capital. Preservation of capital becomes important. (Of course, everything depends on how much one has and our lifestyles). Not many will be in a position to still ride the vagaries of the financial markets. 
 
At this stage of life, where no more capital is forthcoming, one can be paralysed by fear. Opportunities do not seem tempting enough and risks seem magnified. We are seeing the return on our money diminishing rapidly. At the same time, the risks are increasing. In our early days, we had learnt that higher the risk, the higher the reward. However, the government seems to think that higher risk is offset by lower interest rates.
 
Some frequented cooperative banks to get that extra return. Now, we are afraid to go to any private bank. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gives banking licences and is supposed to supervise them. It approves the appointment of managing director and directors. It does regular inspections. And, still, depositors’ money is at risk. Something is clearly wrong with the role that RBI is playing. 
 
One thing policy-makers must understand. All our savings are from ‘tax-paid’ money. Now, if you ask us to pay taxes, once again, on the fixed deposit interest that this money earns, it is very unfair. If the same finances were recorded on a business account, the business would get tax deductions. Here, we buy our car with post-tax money. We do not get ‘depreciation’ or ‘repairs’ or ‘fuel’ or ‘driver salary’ as deduction from what we earn. A businessman will simply charge all of this and his household expenses to his business and pare his personal taxes. 
 
Some of us were able to invest money in stocks. As far as I remember, taxation on dividends and capital gains has been ‘capricious’, at best. For most years, dividend was taxed in the hands of the shareholders; for some years, this was removed. It has come back. Then came ‘securities transaction tax’ (STT) on every trade. So, whether the investor makes money or not, the government keeps making money. This is clearly not government ‘for’ or ‘by’ the people. And when STT was introduced, the government told us that there would be no more capital gains on investments sold after one year of purchase. And STT would take care of everything. Alas, this promise was broken. Not only STT, on every component there is also a GST (goods and services tax)! The brokerage I pay my broker goes up by nearly half, thanks to all these levies. I would say that the government has cheated me and is robbing me only because it has the powers to make the law.
 
Those of us, who had ‘salary’ income through our working career, have paid our taxes. Now, giving me a certificate through an email is of no use. It cannot even be used as toilet paper. It hurts because you, in government, get benefits that are unheard of in the rest of the world. You keep your jobs irrespective of how well you do the job. You get pensions. Some of you get pensions that are linked to inflation. And some of you, who may be in your chairs for just five years, get pension for life. 
 
Of course, you guys are doing yeomen service for the nation and I do not grudge the goodies that you get. All I am saying is that all these goodies come to you from taxpayers like us. And you guys have the unique distinction of voting yourself your salaries and the hikes therein. So your treating the minority—us (if we were a significant vote bank, you would not have neglected us)—is a reflection of your character. 
 
I was very happy when you introduced discounts on railway tickets for SCs. Of course, you guys do not need any, since you never pay for anything from your own pockets. Everything was fine. Then, some bright chap in the ministry decided that we could ‘give up’ our concessions if we are ‘shamed’ for using it. This is brutal. 
 
As a politician, you have nothing to gain by giving us some financial support in the form of tax exemptions. You give tax breaks to businessmen because they contribute to your election funds and party money. You give concessions to this group called ‘farmers’ with four hands, no matter how rich some ‘farmers’ are—two from the Centre and two from the state. When I see that crowd standing in a queue at the neighbouring liquor shop every day, I realise it is a bigger game. They are buying liquor at the government shop which stocks liquor made by families and friends of the politicians. 
 
You do not even care about our health. Health insurance premiums are very expensive for us. And if we switch to a cheaper option, the new fellow will say ‘pre-existing’ conditions not covered till four years. And on the medical insurance premiums we pay, you have no qualms in applying GST at usurious rates. We are truly an ignored lot. Many of us are not financially ‘aware’. We go to someone who tells us that we can get a higher return on our savings. Yes, it’s our fault. But when the cheat is caught, you could at least help us with a better redress system. 
 
We are not asking for too much. We do not want certificates and hollow words of gratitude. We spend less on food and more on health. So, if you have to do anything, help us in a way where you spare us further taxes in life. Some of us have paid taxes for 40 years (more than most politicians will ever pay) and have done our bit for ‘nation-building’. The tax collection to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio is so low that we are only a small fraction of who you can target. 
 
One day, we will be a large part of the vote bank. At that time, we hope we can get some justice and fairness from the ruling elite. I suggest that you take a paper and pencil and find out what will you give up if you exempt us from taxes. It is not going to break the nation. You can easily make up for it by taking back some exemption that you have given to your friends who do business. You give yourselves a goal. Instead of saying ‘thank you’ to the taxpayers and others, do something that will make us say ‘thank you’.
Comments
ajithk303
2 years ago
Why only SCs almost all citizens are suffering except Adanis ,politicians and ambanis
mathurgcpta
2 years ago
We need to take in to account for government security of Senior Citizens, the ground realities of this class of the society who are damned by the young generation. Why the young generation does not and would not be able to take care of their parents and grand parents? This generation has to meet with the high cost of medical health care, education and social inter-related activities of their own children besides their own . The growing up age with linked wear and tear resulting in diminishing out put in terms of income and de-valuation of the currency is leaving hardly any money for the care of their own parents. The GoI has not thought on these lines at all. Instead, it is working on converting the recovered personal money assessed as overcharged by way of taxes on sales or more than the MRP , including he Integrated CGST/GST as state revenue as would be clear from the CENTRAL BOARD OF INDIRECT TAXES AND CUSTOMS' NOTIFICATION
New Delhi, the 18th April, 2018, No. 21/2018 – Central Tax. This is bad in governance and bad in law of administration.
sameertiwari
2 years ago
Excellent to the point article. I doubt now days Govt listens to citizens , they are Atma Nirbhar from citizens only nirbhar when elections are their
murugeson.s
2 years ago
valuable and useful
bhavnani2007
2 years ago
Excellent article!
Question - Can senior citizen start his own company with a Joint Family to avoid taxation ? the same way the business person does currently
vmahesh9
2 years ago
Wow! The Language!!
cvkakatkar
2 years ago
Excellent ! Why not go on Youtube?
Making it viral - is one way to gather public opinion and touch the policy makers.
You will be doing a great service to all salary earners.

Ramesh Popat
2 years ago
excellent! superb!
(got this weekly updates, but not getting regular newsletter
since a month. pl. do the needful)
tovpkumar
2 years ago
Excellent .The government should at least keep the interest on FD's to about 10% and not keep on decreasing the interest. Income tax should be exempted for SC. as we have paid tax throughout our earning life and now have to depend on the interest from our savings.
neela
2 years ago
Excellent article! Absolutely dot on! I sincerely hope, that those in power take note of this. It feels like its almost a crime to be a taxpayer!
sactel
2 years ago
I realized not only Senior citizens this article applies in general to all the middle-class salaried tax-payers. I would request to tweak this article by replacing the word 'Senior' with 'middle-class salaried tax-payer' for larger reach. Hypocrisy well articulated that must reach the people concerned. Can I refer this article or use it contents with due credits to author on social media platform ?

This was long due..... you could have chosen to be more harsh but that would have been the anti-nature of all of us helpless souls surrendered to whatever govt of the day !

Thanks
vijay_balasubramaniam
2 years ago
Sir, excellent article which puts light on the way this Atma-Nir-Bhar government is making us Atma-Sarkar-Dar. However on a funny note, are you planning to move to Pakistan, any one who raise such succinct analysis backed by fact is generally branded senile leftist,communist, desh droghi.

We thought a majority government is best for India, now we know how dangerous that is laws are rewritten, policies and jhumla becomes business ethics narrative.

Our vote bank is polarized even within the senior denizens, unless affiliations are driven of ease of living, moral righteousness to question the government and is bcrat aparatus.

Region, caste, religion, customs still drives vote banks sir, unless those lines are broken it will be pappu jamaii to chowkidar to pappu grind, self appointed secretaries who know nothing about economics and life.

May the FM will say, I dont go to hospitals, I eat healthy, most of the millennials in the country are healthy, eat right and never get old.

Great read Sir, please keep writing, Please!!
renukaviru
2 years ago
all the addressee should find little time to this genuine call from the painful heart.
let us hope-- so---
sundar_ramang
2 years ago
Superb article and very well said..so very true..All governments are the same..no exception..maybe that is why many in the middle class do not bother voting !
dog2on
2 years ago
Kudos Mr. Balakrishnan for a well thought out and enunciated article.
Where I disagree is with your ending statement. You wish our senior citizenry to be grateful to the thieves who return what in the first place they have stolen from us, with a 'thank you'?

No sir and to all those others who mention that a movement be started. The movement can start with all of us old codgers demanding with one voice, the immediate abolishing of the Income Tax on all Senior Citizens, within 5 years for all Individuals and within 10 years for all Businesses/Enterprises of any kind and passing a legislation (if required by altering the Constitution) that no government either at the Center or State can ever introduce any personal tax on any individual.

What the State will loose monetarily by these steps is a laughable amount compared to the other nefarious means it adopts to fill its coffers but will entail in vast savings of disbanding the monolithic Income Tax Department with its personnel and properties and give such a fillip to the economy (psychologically, if nothing else), that observers might be left aghast, i.e., if we as citizens are ever ready to prevent the crooks from re-entering through some back-door.

Would it be in the interest of people to start such a movement which emasculates the State as we know it? Abolishing any individual from being ever taxed is but the first step, the long term goal being the State only being in existence (that too maybe?) to protect the life and property of its citizens from physical harm.

The present construct has only seen to it that like lambs to the slaughter, it is we who have abdicated and abrogated our rights to the rouges gallery of politicians and bureaucrats. It is high time we took that back and be ever vigilant to protect and keep those rights for ourselves and for the generations to come.
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