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Women should be given more tax concessions

It is well recognised that unless the women in our country are empowered in the true sense, including financially, the India growth story would be lop-sided.

business Updated: Feb 22, 2010 15:38 IST

It is well recognised that unless the women in our country are empowered in the true sense, including financially, the India growth story would be lop-sided. Though the percentage of women joining the workforce has increased in the past few decades, it only represents a small percentage of the country’s overall women population.

Under the existing tax law, there are very few concessions provided to women. A few additional steps, if taken on policy support would go a long way in accomplishing the desired outcome vis-à-vis changing the socio-economic imbalance that exists in our society today. In this context, the following points merit attention:

Girl child education

In spite of the encouraging schemes launched by the government and various development sector organisations, education for the girl child still continues to be a distant dream. Two steps in this direction could help fill the gap albeit to some extent. First, a special education deduction could be allowed say up to Rs 2,000 per month for the education of any girl child in a family with an annual income of less than Rs 5 lakh per annum. Second, a 100 per cent tax deduction could be allowed u/s 80G, against the current 50 per cent, for donations made to charitable organisations engaged in promoting girl child education, especially in the rural areas.

Deduction in Housing loans

At present, a housing loan deduction could be claimed for interest paid on housing loans of up to Rs 1.5 lakh for a self-occupied house property and up to Rs 1 lakh for repayment of the principal amount of housing loan u/s 80C of the Income-tax Act. There are a negligible proportion of women who have a house property in their name. Further, in many cases, after the demise of the husband there are a lot of issues pertaining to the legal title/ownership.

To encourage households to buy a house in the name of the women members or at least in the joint name, an enhanced deduction of say Rs 3 lakh should be allowed for interest paid on housing loans. To avoid any misuse of this beneficial provision, this deduction may be restricted to only one house.