Unlike other countries in India, during the Budget time, speculation is rife.
Nobody can remain unaffected by it whether corporate executive or housewife.
‘Gareeb ke pet me daana, grahrani ke tukla mein anna’
‘Kelkar saab ki baat ko nahi maana,
long term me naani ke saath yaad aa saktee hain naana’* budget 2002-2003
You *have stated that this is a budget for ‘India that is on the move’
If India really has to get moving,
the populist tendencies in the budget you have to remove.* Finance Minister
You have stated that for the economy to get going, the thrust has to be provided by Spending
Why not curb non-development govt expenditure as well ; there you are not bending.
Though the continuation of many a subsidy may make an economist giddy
You want to continue with something which is a disguised perfidy.
Liberalisation was also introduced when there was a paucity of foreign exchange reserves.
Forceful measures at the last moment is the last thing this country deserves.
In election years when so many issues and compulsions are pressing
Which political party will not indulge in a bit of window dressing!
Economy can also be revived by the development of Infrastructure,
It is better to devote more time to that then delivering such a long budget lecture.
Since the elections are near, to popuslist measures your response had to be ‘Of course’
Then what was the need to form the National Task farce, the National Task Force.
When you knew that it won’t be too long before we have an election.
What is the point in such appointments, why waste time and money in such a selection.
Everybody knows that with elections on your head
If you don’t take populist measures, you are as good as dead.
Since elections are near, you had to be on your guard.
Then why did you make poor ‘Kelkar and Company’ work so hard.
One hopes that someday on such populist measures, there will not be much reliance.
You will pull out all stops everwhere just the way you do to ensure tax compliance.
One hopes that someday, you will do so well on good governance,
While framing the budget near election years, you will not have to rely on deceptive performance.
Mr Kelkar apart, what was the point in coming out with any committee report
When you knew that such a step practically you were not going to be able to support.
You may be thinking that I am trying to be smart and witty or indulge in repartee.
Hard fact is that needing votes in your kitty, you could not afford to follow any committee.
It is good that at least you agree with Mr Kelkar in spirit.
Wonder when the day will come when leaving populism, you too will form a budget on merit.
If this causes discomfiture, the fact remains that unless you drop the populist feature
In the eyes of some NRIs, India shall forever remain the land of the future.
It unfortunately becomes an election gadget with which any finance minister can fidget.
We can hope that someday, election years too shall have a genuine budget.
Dividends have been once again made tax free
This will enable small investors to feel care free.
The government keeps doing flip flop, Dividends oscillate between corporates and citizens
Why not concentrate on the big picture and expand your horizens.
To avoid double taxation, it is better that dividends are taxed on the Coprorates
It will reduce administration ; they also know well how the government operates.
It is better if the government introduces a permanant Corporate dividend distribution tax
For small investors, it would be as welcome as Mandira Bedi was on the TV channel Max.
Another laudable step is the abolition of long term capital gains tax.
Housing being very costly in India, it shall genuinely enable budding house owners to relax.
It would not be out of place to mention the facilitiation of housing loan repayment.
Funding for housing for ordinary citizens is a permanant lament.
One thing that nobody can ignore is the rate on inlation.
In case it goes out of control, eyebrows get raised even in a rich nation.
It is even more significant to people who do not earn,
They really have to keep their eyes open on their real return.
The striking feature in the budget is always in the fiscal deficit.
It draws as much attention as an American president’s visit.
Although it has to be kept within a certain percentage of the GDP.
In actually doing so, all finance ministers have been sloppy.
Speaking of GDP, how can one avoid talking obout GDP growth.
Expenditure has to be curbed instead of merely augmenting output, you have to manage both.
In fact if you are really concerned about accelerating the GDP growth rate.
FDI has to make headway like China; it is now no longer dependent on the vagaries of fate.
After Independence, where enonomics is concerned, liberaliszation is our second tryst with destiny.
Bureaucratic hurdles must be removed to prevent foreigners from reorting to mutiny.
If they get annoyed and there is a capital flight.
To all this talk of development, you can say good night.
There is nothing new in framing new budgets many will compliment
However remembering the late and great Dhirubhai, the more important thing is to implement.
The government simply has to be less profligate and curb governement expenditure
Otherwise, Innovations may prove ineffective
although they may be as promising as an Ambani venture.
You really dererve kudos on the way the govt as a whole has handled disinvestment.
If only in all the other aspects as well, I could make a similar assessment.
So many negative tendencies could have been checked had you followed Mr Kelkar
It reminds me of the catches that used to be taken by cricketer Eknath Solkar.
Nobody can deny that on subjects like education, we needed an introduction of rebates.
Education of the public at large is a must if; its high time tendency to persist with populism abates.
It is now increasingly possible to fill the returns on line,
As a result, it is a foregone conclusion that govt officers will lose their your gold mine.
There is no doubt about the desirability or popularity of the Public provident fund.
You would be even more popular if you could ensure a hassle free Income tax Refund.
Retired people have no option but to hold on to their National savings Certificates.
They have to be as careful as Rahul Dravid is to prevent the fall of wickets.
Budget not being able to ignore the middle class is not just a presumption.
That is why every year, you have to introduce some or the other tax exemption.
What other option is there but to rely on Government relief Bonds.
When every now and then, there is a share market scam and the culprit absconds.
In reality, if the govt really wants to encourage the small investor to invest.
Scams in the sharemarket are anomalies the govt simply has to arrest.
While you show a lot of zest in collecting the Advance tax,
Curbing expenditure is something on which you continously tend to be lax.
For collecting revenue, there is close monitoring of every target.
However when it comes to reducing expenditure, you conveniently forget.
Some light has to be thrown on the cost of borrowing
Instead of narrowing, it is conitnously harrowing.
If we really want to prevent falling into a debt trap.
Certain populist steps we must forbid and wrap, such short term measures are crap.
Sometimes the government has no option but to resort to an aribitrary surcharge.
When very few pay taxes despite the population being so large.
The government simply has to curb expenditure in addition to generating more revenues.
If additional funds are going to be wasted, there is no point in exploring such avenues.
Similar to high taxation, there used to be certain policies
that used to induce people to indulge in hawala.
Still so much remains to be done, no one can warn as the late Shri Nani Palkhivala.*
*Was famous for his speeches on the budget.