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Provisions for the differently-abled in Budget 2003-2004

Relevant extracts from the budget speech on the provisions for the differently-able are provided below:

  • To assist citizens with impaired vision, the basic customs duty on rough ophthalmic blanks shall be reduced from 25 to 5 per cent, and the basic excise duty will be reduced from 16 to 8 per cent.
  • For income tax purposes, it is proposed that the physically handicapped or persons with such dependents be entitled to a deduction for permanent physical disability of Rs.50,000, and an enhanced deduction of Rs.75,000 in case of severe disability.
  • Customs duty for the following items is reduced to 5 per cent.

    • hearing aids
    • crutches 
    • wheel chairs 
    • walking frames 
    • tricycles 
    • braillers, and 
    • artificial limbs
No Special Additional Duty (SAD) will be applicable on these items. They will be exempt from CVD, and the domestic manufacturers of these items will also be exempt from excise duty. Customs duty on parts of hearing aids and wheel chairs has also been reduced to 5 per cent without CVD and SAD.

  • The Government will establish a college of rehabilitation sciences at Gwalior, and a national institute for empowerment of persons with multiple disabilities at Chennai.
Since EnableAll community members are computer users, we feel that budgetary provisions impacting the pricing of computers are also of relevance.

  • Until now, excise duty was levied on pre-loaded software in the case of computers. From now, the value of pre-loaded software will be excluded for the purpose of charging excise duty on computers. This should reduce the price of branded computers.
  • Customs duty on specified electronic components for IT industry is being reduced in conformity with our WTO commitment. Full impact of this will be known only after details are provided by the Finance Ministry.
  • The following items, previously attracting 4 per cent excise duty, have now been fully exempt:

    • Walking sticks
    • Glasses for corrective spectacles
Besides this, Recorded audio compact discs (CDs) will be now be fully exempt from excise duty.

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