New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the eighth budget of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at a time when the economy is reeling under the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Several sections were hit hard by the pandemic-induced lockdowns and therefore hold high expectations for Sitharaman's third budget.

The pandemic job cut hit women harder than men, leaving 17 million unemployed in April 2020 alone, according to a report by Oxfam India. Women expect the Central government to announce steps to push women labour participation rate in the forthcoming budget.  

Tax concessions remain the primary expectation for working women across the country, according to a report by Dainik Jagran. However, experts believe that the government is likely to keep the existing tax slabs intact and instead expected to enhance the Income Tax deduction limit under section 80C of the IT act from the current Rs 1.5 lakhs to Rs 2.5- 3 lakhs in the forthcoming budget. 

The existing limit of Rs 1.5 lakh had been revised from Rs 1 lakh back in 2014, after being kept unchanged for over 18 years. In a survey conducted by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Dhruva Advisors, as many as 40 per cent of the participants felt the key theme for the direct tax proposal in this year's budget should be personal tax relief. It may be noted that women and men had different income slabs until Financial Year 2011-12. 

Financial planner Shilpi Johri believes that stamp duty on immovable investments should be reduced for women. This will create a sense of ownership of assets among women, plus, the middle class family will be able to save some money and spend on other things. 

Gayatri Vasudevan, chairperson and co-founder of LabourNet Services, noted that a significant percentage of women are employed in the informal sector. She feels the government should take steps such that the Indian women are not left begind in the age of information technology. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja