To encourage more women to join the workforce, industry body Assocham has suggested that the government should announce a 10-fold increase in children’s education allowance and offer tax exemption to creche facilities in the Budget to be presented on February 29.
The proposals formed part of its pre-Budget recommendations to the Finance Ministry. An allowance of up to Rs 2,500 per child every month for up to two children should be provided, it added.
“While we are confident about a positive multiplier effect of leaving more money in the hands of tax payers, a lot of women-specific proposals should be brought in the Budget so as to empower them economically,” Assocham President Sunil Kanoria said in a statement.
“To supplement household income, more women are entering the job market. With increased phenomenon of nuclear families, working women need support in terms of care of young children while they are at work.”
“Hence, to encourage more women in the workforce, it is desirable that a specific provision be introduced for allowing exemption for creche provisions,” the memorandum on direct tax recommendations stated.
The chamber wants the children education allowance exemption limit hiked to Rs 1,000 per month from the current Rs 100. Also, it has demanded that the hostel expenditure allowance, which is exempted up to Rs 300 pm per child for a maximum of two children, be increased to Rs 3,000 per month.
“The limit for children education allowance is too low as compared to the prevailing school fee and was fixed in 1988-99. Also, the limit of hostel expenditure allowance was fixed in 1988-89,” it noted.
Besides, Assocham said the medical expenses reimbursed by the employer are currently exempted to the extent of Rs 15,000 per annum, which needs to be revised significantly to at least Rs 50,000, as the limit was fixed 17 years ago and extended to retired employees as well.