Budget 2021 to be announced on February 1: Here’s what could be in store for the Pandemic-hit middle class

The Pandemic-hit middle class is pinning its hopes on the upcoming Union Budget, that the announcement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may help them emerge from the impact of COVID-19 crisis.

Among several expectations ranging from healthcare to insurance to home loans, it is personal taxation aspects that will cast a major impact in the lives of the middle class people.

There has been a widespread demand that the FM should raise income tax slabs at least Rs 3 lakh so that the tax burden for those in the Rs 5 lakh p.a income group could have a little extra at hand. As per media reports, FM Sitharaman may announce something on this track.

In the last Budget 2020, Sitharaman had given an option to the personal income tax-payers to avail of lower rates for those earning up to Rs 15 lakh per year. 

FM Sitharaman had announced that the new personal income tax regime for those do not go for any deductions and exemptions, the rate will be 10 percent for those earning between Rs 5 lakh-7.5 lakh per annum against the present rate of 20 percent. Those earning between Rs 7.5 lakh to 10 lakh per year will be able to pay tax at a rate of 15 per cent against the current 20 per cent subject to the condition that they do not opt for any deductions and exemptions under the various sections of Income Tax Act. The new rate for those with between Rs 10 to 12.5 lakh will be 20 per cent against 30 per cent at present while those earning between Rs 12.5 lakh to 15 lakh will pay tax at 25 per cent against 30 per cent.

There is will be no change for those earning more than Rs 15 lakh per annum and they will continue to pay tax at the current rate of 30 percent. But the new tax rates will be available only to those who forego deductions and exemptions under various sections of the Income Tax Act. 

The Budget session of Parliament will begin on January 29 with the address of President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint sitting of both the Houses and the Union Budget will be presented on February 1. The Budget session of Parliament would conclude on April 8.

The Houses will adjourn on February 15 and meet again on March 8.

Like the previous session, both the Houses would sit in shifts with Rajya Sabha meeting in the forenoon and Lok Sabha in the evening between 4 pm and 9 pm as part of health measures adopted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Question Hour would take place in the Budget session. In the previous session, the Question Hour was not taken up due to paucity of time as both Houses met for four hours each. This time, the Lok Sabha at least, would sit for five hours instead of four every day.

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