India, Feb. 15 -- In the Union Budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, with great flourish, announced a new personal income tax structure. This was touted as yet another "significant reform" that would simplify the income tax regime.

Currently, there are three income tax rate slabs; there will be six in the new structure. There are exemptions for savings and home loans in the old structure; there will be none in the new structure, in lieu of reduced income tax rates. There is one income tax framework now; going forward, there will be an option between the old and the new structure. Sitharaman claimed that this "new and simplified" personal income tax regime will bring "substantial benefit" to a "vast number of middle-class Indians". ...