The Budget buzz

I notice the pandemonium before and after the budget. The noise is definitely more deafening these days what with economy being the buzzword everywhere. Come February and media starts building the hype. Come D-day and our FM becomes a hero (or the villain, depends). And then, the big story everywhere, budget budget budget.

I witness the drama every year and wonder about three things.

One, exactly how many of these reporters and commentators actually understand the concepts like fiscal deficit, tax exemption, VAT, currency convertibility and stuff. Tell me about those guys the TV folks catch on the streets and ask, “hey, so how did you like the budget?”. Wonder how many of them say, “sorry, I don’t understand it much”.

Two, if this budget thing is really that important for our country and economy, then why do they wait an entire year to decide and make these major policy announcements. Is inflation a problem? Alright, lets wait till February. Want us to cut subsidies? Sorry, got to wait till February.

Three. How the hell do they find the time to announce cuts and hikes in duties and tariffs for items as minute and elaborate as sewing needle, shoe laces or nail cutters. Okay, I did exaggerate that a bit. But why do they make a big deal of duty announcements on every atomic thing they can find? I pity whoever has to do the record keeping on those. You want to import brown nail polish, wait … still looking up … wait, that will be 13.3% for the first 100 grams, 15.6% for the rest sir.

PS: Oh yes, #1 is what we bloggers do on most subjects – a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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3 Responses

  1. not bad at all…i really appreciate ur humour and ur ‘i-shoot- my- mouth -and -care- a- damn” attitude…but to clarify things a bit…am a journalist and let me tell u i do understand fiscal policy, disinvestment, capital account convertibility and the rest…. so some of us…in fact most of us never venture in the field till we r dead sure of our facts, we can fall flat on our face u see…that too on national television, and yes u will be suprised at how accurately the roadside vendor has his pulse on the budget too….plus the budgetary measures need a year or more to show tangible and measureable effects so it is not possible to change policies every month or so…if u want that… then we would be in a dictorial state not a democracy.
    look don’t meant to be preachy or anything….
    take care and good luck!!!

  2. Well written Yani dear, fair enough. Many journalists do know the stuff they shoot about. But roadside vendor having a pulse on the budget, give me a break. You can do better than that.

    On the year long wait – after the budget, in a press conference, a bureaucrat from Finance ministry (forgot exactly who) explicitly said that we read a bit too much into this annual affair. He said that these days they keep announcing policy measures in significant chunks throughout the year.

    Your point about waiting for tangible results applies more to stuff like five year plan. Wonder why corporates with a few million shareholders tally their numbers and results every quarter. Ours is a company with a billion stakeholders :)

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