TODAY -

Of TDS and tale of senior citizens' woe

Kamal Baruah *



The budget 2018-19 introduces various welfare measures for senior citizens. However in the pay slip, the reintroduction of Standard Deduction of Rs 40,000, hike on Medical Insurance premium of Rs 50,000 (another Rs 50000+ for parents) and other provisions for exemption are not yet updated. That had resulted non returnable TDS to PAN account for who do not file ITR in the assessment year.

Now exemption from interest earned upto Rs 50,000 from Fixed Deposits is to be seen on the first quarter. Senior citizen need to produce email ID as another hurdle while submitting 15H. Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill 2018 amidst a din and protests.

However it is yet to reach Rajya Sabha as opposition deadlock the parliament proceedings. Nevertheless citizen just can't suffer from that unholy behaviour of our representatives. Where MPs are set to get 100% salary hike in just 2 months before rule on automatic revision comes into effect. The other day it welcomed govt initiative without any criticism by who shouted democracy be saved.

As per Bank instructions, the March pension use to credit on the first working day of April. This time pensioners were shocked at TDS deduction for the F/Y 2018-19. That never happened in the past. Pensioners are given the month of April to invest for that F/Y. A couple of years back there were even three months time slot for investment that means no TDS deductions till Jun.

State govt employees deducted TDS in their habitual positions of filing investment during February. The direction cannot be decided by mere an SMS to government pensioners at the eleventh hour. Baring SBI, other banks do not deduct TDS from pensioners. Such dissimilarities between banks come as a complete surprise. Although interest income is taxable but there is no tax-deducted-at-source at Post Office. To add to their woes, pensioners are pushed from pillar to post.

February is the last month of salary and pension for the end of F/Y. A tax payer just can't submit ITR even in the month of May since TDS amounts are not updated in 26AS by ITO and agency concerned. So does non availability of F16/F16A till Jun.

People wish to visit abroad get rejected VISA for non availability of ITR for A/Y 2018-19. Income tax slabs of Assesses CIFs are yet to be synchronized by the Core Banking Solution (CBS) resulting less deduction of TDS from FDs, RDs and SCSS say 5% despite falling in a higher slab.

Surprisingly bank deducts 20% TDS for non-availability of PAN at account and pension software as well. This time salaried/pensioners account put on hold causing great convenience to customers since payments get delayed due to March financial year ending. Even there were cashes of double debit of EMIs in a month. Interestingly out of 125 crore Indians only 1.5% (1.9 crore) pay income tax.

Nowadays, manual ITR has been abolished. Online submission is difficult in rural areas for India has the lowest 4G download speed in the world. Now India committed to finalizing its 5G roadmap. Non availability of Aadhaar could bring troublesome during submission of ITR.

ITO organises special counters in other metros for filing IT returns which are not seen in the North East. Since STs living of NE states are exempted from TDS. The tactics of delaying revision of pension followed by huge arrear accumulated fat amount of TDS for the receiving year.

Arrears are to be reflected in bank pass book year wise for easy distribution of income and deduction for tax. There is no uniformity of meagre medical allowances between the central and the state govt. In the same time our representative got benefited higher perks and exempted TDS from pension/salary. There were gruelling difficulties for non-holding of UIDAI from senior citizen for going check-up outside Assam.

The enrolment of Aadhaar in Assam is still a fry cry. Only a few banks have just started the process. The govt is keeping a mere spectator in this regard. The other day I come across a senior citizen who is displeased over the way of functioning Aadhaar works. Should government consider total exemption of TDS from senior citizen?

In the name of Digital India, customers are charged for the automation of banking services. But queues are still longer at single window counter. Why can't there be a separate senior citizens queue in banks. RBI has stopped printing of higher denomination notes. Passbook update is harrowing time on the name of Swayam. It often gets disconnected.

ATMs are filled with higher currency notes. It is often unavailable during festival. Online payments through POS are unpredictable. Shopkeepers show reluctance of receiving payment through online. Even many don't have POS machine. Fake media is active by spreading rumours. After the controversy of Facebook data in Cambridge Analytica breach that influenced US voters, Mark Zuckerberg faced tough question from Senators from Congress in Washington.

Senior citizens are often lured by online hackers. RBI asks banks to provide doorstep services to senior citizen. A few mobile ATM will not able to serve in a city. Much to our surprise, there is no elevator and wheelchair services in many banks and other public dealings premises.

India did not learn lesson from Kingfisher that debts of Rs 9000 crore from flamboyant Vijay Mallya. Nirav Modi has finally opened up the loopholes of the system that RBI failed to monitor so far. The Central Bank put gag order to PSU Banks to disclose the names of defaulters who owe 9.5 lakh crore to the nation. The higher officials of Banks, RBI and Income Tax are quizzed by CBI over recent scams.

Demonetisation failed to eliminate black money. CHF 1.95 billion Indian money deposited Switch Bank alone. Banks have no option left other than provisioning and insolvency proceeding. The other day, an old lady was complaining for not receiving any gift, diary, calendar on the New Year.

Probably it would take a hard look at a new round of cost-cutting. A healthy balance sheet is most important for banks for the development of a nation. So does to continue corporate responsibility towards the society. But pensions shouldn't be an easy target on the name of TDS.


* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on April 26, 2018.


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