THE government has added to the woes of pensioners by re-imposing property tax on them with effect from 2009-2010 which was waved off by previous governments.
This is contrary to our expectations. I was shocked to receive the bill of property tax after four years. I approached the Excise and Taxation Department, Hyderabad to inquire about the reason of issuing such a bill to me, as I am already exempted from property tax under Section 4 (g) of the Property Act.
I was informed that after 2009-2010, this exemption has been withdrawn by the government. It was no less than a bolt from the blue.
There are women pensioners with no male members to support them. If there are any, they are jobless. They need to be facilitated.
There is a council headed by the prime minister which is working for making provisions for the Welfare Act-2007 for elderly persons which provides elderly people with privileges like 20-50 per cent discount in transportation by road, train, air and sea, and a ten per cent discount on telephone, electricity, gas and water charges. Apart from this, there is a provision for one-time Hajj under the fixed quota of the elderly with the permission of one-accompanying attendant, if needed.
Last but not the least is a 50 per cent concession in income tax where the annual income does not exceed Rs400,000.
On the one hand, the government is making laudable efforts for elderly people. But, on the other, it is withdrawing the benefits already bestowed upon them, which is likely to throw senior citizens into a whirlpool of economic worries.
I request the president and the prime minister to earn the blessings of the elderly people in the coming elections by kindly reviewing the notification in which this tax has been imposed upon them.
LALA FAZAL BALAEE Hyderabad