Finance Minister Jaswant Singh announced special sops for India's 76 million senior citizens whose number is expected to reach 100 million in the next decade.
While presenting Budget 2003-04, Singh said the government would seek to ensure that they would have regular income for life after 55 years of age.
He said income tax exemption limit for senior citizens has been enhanced to Rs 1,53,000.
Singh said the state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) would be soon starting a Varistha (elderly) pension scheme that would give special nine per cent returns on lump sum payment.
The objective would be to ensure minimum returns of Rs 250 per month and maximum income of Rs 2,000 per month from the following month after the lumpsum deposit has been made.
Keeping his assurance of ensuring more comforts for the aged, Singh said the senior citizens would be allowed to make voluntary disclosure of their taxable income.
Singh announced setting up of a Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority to chalk out the roadmap of development of pension schemes.*