Budget 2016: Expectations of a working woman

Feb 24 2016,

 On one hand, the government is talking about Skill India, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi''''s aim of equipping 40 crore individuals with ''''skills''''. This will also go a long way in fulfilling his vision of making India into a ''''job creating'''' country from the current ''''job seeking'''' country. However, on the other hand, the debate of equality among genders in the workspace and women in the boardroom is an ongoing one.

Here are some expectations that a working woman may have for the upcoming Budget 2016 to ensure that her time in the workspace is well-supported by the government:

1. Tax exemptions for day-care expenses: Indian families have undergone a sea of change in the past few years. We are more inclined towards nuclear family set ups, with both husband and wife working full-time jobs in metro cities. In such a scenario, women have to play multiple roles, especially as working mothers.

Day care facilities are a norm with them since they have to depend on day care facilities that will take good care of children while they are away at their jobs. Since these are quite substantial amounts, a tax exemption for these expenses is definitely called for. An amount of Rs 3,000 per child per month is a fair amount of exemption to be expected considering current inflation rates.

2. Exemptions for employing house help: This is another reality of a working woman’s life. They employ house help, and that eats into a lot of their monthly expenses. Although this sector largely remains unorganised in India, a special allowance can be expected to be added to the salary that can be exempted up to a certain limit each month. An exemption of Rs 2,000 per month can be granted just like conveyance allowance is exempted up to Rs 1,600.

3. Deductions for expenses on self-defence training: India still remains unsafe for women who work in late night shifts and the first line of defence is your own self. In such a scenario, women are increasingly opting to learn and practice self-defence techniques. The budget needs to provide some deductions for expenses made for this purpose.

4. Separate deductions for expenses made on certain specified diseases related to women: Women particularly face some threats from various types of cancers that are akin only to them. Apart from this, they also suffer from hormone imbalance issues that need medical attention after a particular age. The incumbent taxman needs to provide them with a separate section in the Chapter VIA deductions that makes way for a specified deduction on the expenses made on the treatment of these diseases.

5. Single mothers need a higher tax exemption slab: Single mothers have a huge responsibility of bringing up and funding the entire expense of education and sustenance of her children. Given the dearth of opportunities for working women in the corporate sector of India, they have to work doubly hard to make ends meet. In such a scenario we need to provide some additional tax exemptions to women who are single mothers. An increase in the tax exempt slab from Rs 2,50,000 up to Rs 5,00,000 for single mothers would provide a great relief to them.

The Indian woman is breaking the glass ceiling each day, and she has a lot of expectations from the policy makers to help her pave her way forward with confidence. So here is another set of expectations for the honorable FM Arun Jaitley from a section that is slowly but surely becoming a very important part of the working population.

The author, Vaibhav Sankla is the Director of Tax Strategy and Business Development at H&R Block India. He is a rank holder chartered accountant and has more than 15 years’ experience in taxation.

Source: DNA India

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