Women empowerment through taxes??!!

(Before I proceed let me announce to the world that it is my 305th post in this blog 😀 “80% Attendence” being the 300th one!)

Yesterday I read an article in ET, which talked of how the the taxation measures adopted in the recent budget would empower women. Budget and particularly Income Tax have been in the air of the country recently and so I believe most of you would know the measure it was talking about. Still for the uninitiated these measures basically ensure that women pay lesser Income Tax on their Income. As per the article this would ensure that more property is there in women’s name for tax-saving etc and would help in women empowerment.

Now, I would not criticize the intentions of our Finanace Minister, but would it not be little simplistic to put too much of hope on it (I am unable to locate the article on the online edition, else I would have given the link. The article seems to be putting all hopes of amelioreting women’s situation on this one tax-measure!).

Probably it will indeed help in transferring some property to the female members of the family, but there are several issues to it. Legal entitlements does not lead to empowerment by itself. In fact even now, to put certain kind of income out of tax-bracket such tricks are used (showing the income in the name of someone else in the family, who is paying income tax independently, but would not cross the tax-slab by inclusion of such income). It would not really ensure any benefit from the property flowing directly to the women, if it has not been happening already. The practical ownership will remain with men. It can at best help in the pathological situation if a women is thrown out, really needs the property and is even able to fight for it!

Secondly, showing some income in women’s name is all it can possibly encourage. Would it encourage the participation of women in workforce by itself? I doubt! I mean, how many women are not allowed to work because of what percentage of Income Tax is being charged??!!

Further what strata of women would it have any effect, whatsoever, on? Certainly not the poor people, who might very well be out of income tax bracket (and are still poor!).

Last but not the least, given above is it philosphically right to charge less income tax from women? In case of transfer of property it only gives a way to legitimately evade tax. If poor women were left with higher income, it would have helped, particularly those with say a drunkard husband! But they are most likely out of the income tax bracket. And for others, middle class women working in various jobs or women professionals, more often than not, their male counterparts have bigger responsibilities to handle. (As much as I would not have liked it to be so, it is still there. There might be deviations, still it is true of large population!) Is it fair to tax these men more (their families will be affected) than women, who are most likely the second earner in the family?

Or am I overlooking something?


6 thoughts on “Women empowerment through taxes??!!

  1. I guess the article you speak of puts a lot of (high?) hopes for empowering women on the decrease in taxes. It might not solve the problem completely, but at least its a beginning? There are definitely more reforms needed, in more places than just the tax structure, but I am glad that atleast something somewhere has started.

    Also, I haven’t really gone over all the clauses, so I am wondering whether the taxes men have to pay have been increased? If they have, then that could be bad for the situation you point out where the woman’s job is the secondary one. But if his taxes remain the same, and hers are lowered, then its a winning situation for the family.

  2. No, I do not think they have been increased. But that does not affect the argument. Given that certain amount of tax revenue will be collected, the question of who is taxed more still remains. And this question comes in the context I have put there, i.e. it is not likely to have any substantial affect on empowerment!

  3. I read an article about it soon after budget was announced and I guess this is an extention of the the already exisiting norms like in some states, women have to pay less/no fees while registring property which directly encourages people to shift property to women’s name.
    Saw this interesting fact on TV:
    “Women form half the population of the world, do 2/3 work of the world while earning “some single digit” percentage of the total income and owning around 1% of the total property.” (figures may be slightly off)

  4. Would it help? I think it will in middle class at least where all the money you can save is welcome. But would it improve the situation of women? I doubt because the important thing is not to have the power. The important thing is the realization that you have the power and can use it. Otherwise it will also end up like the law about succession of property where most of the women end up wrting their part off in favour of their brothers.

  5. I do not think there is any other incentive but to evade tax, because by the time you (girl) graduate and become taxpayer you are independent and at par with other men! (well, i assume that Education can do that much atleast)

    And if your source of earning is different such as business etc, probably the family will leverage on your benefits.

    How’s that to empower women!

  6. We are human first of all. Too many people forget they are human first of all. So please don’t go global with all that ‘rights’ and ‘class’ and ‘sex’ stuff, cause we are individuals, not statistics. I don’t really care about what sex or class someone is, I care about Personality. People usually tend to go global with blaming when they want something and fool themselves with
    ‘I can’t, cause…’ – and this is self-destruction. So if you think you don’t get some particular rights, don’t wait for someone or something – go get it and fight for it, non violence style is the best. Because those rights we already have right have been fought for long before your birth. Each one of them.

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