Anil Thakraney: Budget: The Hard Ground Realities

01 Mar,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

I am no Nani Palkhivala. Therefore, if you are looking for insights on fiscal deficit and other such financial jargon, you are at the wrong place. Regardless, here’s my vishesh tippani on some of Chiduji’s outstanding proposals, all based on street logic. Which is actually the best way to analyze a budget.

 

10 percent super tax on the super rich: Good. As I said in an earlier post, if our bada seths won’t be generous voluntarily, they have to be compelled. The sad reality, of course, is that this will be a super tax on the super rich on their ‘white’ income. So you can well imagine what the fat cats’ POA will be to counter this new menace.

 

Cigarettes will cost more. Wow, that’s a new one! How imaginative, Chiduji! I think time has come to thank our smoker pals. Year after year they help to narrow India’s fiscal deficit. And we keep kicking them out of public places. Unfair!

 

India’s first All-Women Bank: Well, I can already see the bank robbers smiling. Jokes apart, this is not what India’s aam aurat needs. What she needs is things like public toilets, especially ladies from the lower strata.

 

Nirbhaya Fund of Rs 1000 crore for women’s safety: Firstly, it’s injustice to the dead girl that this is not being drafted in her own name, but in a pseudonym coined by a newspaper sub. Secondly, I don’t know if the fund will go into keeping our women safe, but it does sound like a lottery win for some netas and babus. Both, male and female.

 

TDS of 1 percent on property sales exceeding Rs 50 lakh: This will take us right back to the ‘B&W’ era. Even high end apartments will go for 49.5 lakh rupees.

 

Service tax in air-conditioned restaurants: You are all welcome home. And please invite me too.

 

My dream of owning an SUV now looks more unreal than ever. Nano, here I come!

 

One last thing: My maid was swabbing the floor when Chiduji was busy delivering his address to the nation. She asked how the budget will change her life. I said she’ll now have her own bank, so no need to mingle with us lecherous men. Her swift response (which I have politely translated from her Marathi): “But where’s the money to deposit, sahib? I am okay with lecherous men, give me some money instead. That’s more important.”

 

Good luck to the UPA for the 2014 elections.

 

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PS: While on the subject of budgets, I have just one thing to say on the railway one: The mantri forgot an easy revenue source. He should find a way to penalize passengers who litter the compartments and dirty the loos. This will result in many of us ditching air travel and returning to the trains. Make no mistake about this: Railway is the most beautiful way to travel in this country. Unless you own an SUV, which, thanks to Chiduji, is now way out of my league.

 

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