PM Imran Khan often talks about compassion for poor, the elderly and those who suffer from permanent disabilities, but same is not exhibited in Federal Budget announced by his FM where 17.5% Withholding Tax has been levied on returns by Non-Filers on investment made in National Saving Schemes such as PBA or Behbood if annual return exceeds Rs 4 Lakh which amounts to Rs33,333 per month. In case of Filers the Withholding Tax is 10%. Both these schemes are for senior citizens above 60 years.

A State that does not cater to welfare of its senior citizens because of financial constraints has no moral right to levy taxes on their investments made in National Saving Centre schemes. The irony is that the State because of inflation and rising cost of living raised pensions to its paid civil and uniformed paid employees which are exempted from tax in addition to other benefits such as allotment of subsidized plots and housing schemes. Inspite of financial constraints the State in its benevolence has raised pensions of elite to substantial amount ranging from Rs 70,000 to almost Rs 2 Lakh per month, but same compassion is not for those senior citizens working in private or public sector who paid taxes on salaries they earned while employed. This dual standard is visible when the State charges nominal taxes on crores of profit earned by powerful land developers on commercial sales of land and houses and also beneficiaries of subsidized plot allotment given to paid public office holders.

The State must exhibit its benevolence and compassion by tax exemption on all investments made in NSS by senior citizens, widows, orphans and handicapped, who rely solely on meager monthly returns.


Lahore, January 5.