31 October, 2020

The Ol’ Sop ’N Sink

The budget permits a voyeuristic pleasure in watching the rich squirm beneath a 10 per cent surcharge.

The Ol’ Sop ’N Sink
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

What can a troubled FM in troubling times deliver? Very little. But within the constraints, P. Chidambaram has been able to shoot for what he could. He’s been brutally honest: “Even a moderate incr­ease in the level of threshold exem­ption will mean that hun­dreds of thou­sands of taxpayers will go out of the tax net and the tax base will be seve­rely eroded.” No revision of tax slabs, no new exemptions. And barring a mere feelgood credit for 18 million tax­pa­yers—up to Rs 2,000 for incomes of Rs 5 lakh—no relief from rising prices, slow growth, high interest rates.

Beyond the inflation-infested real estate markets of the met­ros, though, there is respite. If you’re a first-time home buyer and borrow Rs 25 lakh, you will get an additional deduction of Rs 1 lakh above the existing deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh. But, a house with a carpet area of over 2,000 sq ft or pri­ced over Rs 1 crore will cost more—that’s nearly every apartment in the met­ros.

There were no additions to the 80C...

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