I love watching the budget presentations and the debates thereafter. Even if one can’t understand – or don’t care – the debates that follow explain such a lot.
Every budget has an interesting angle to it. If there is an election somewhere you can bet there will be a populist slant somewhere with a whole lot of sops and freebies.
And of course, the opposition will always cry foul. “It’s a terrible budget”, “It’s going to hit the common man who is already hit badly”, “the rich will get richer” and so on, so forth. I’ve never ever heard of the opposition parties have a good word even if there are some good initiatives. I suppose that’s why they are called the ‘opposition’; doing their job.
Have you ever seen a politician with a shopping basket in the vegetable market?
But what gets my goat is when people denounce the budget because, “Shit man, cigarette prices are up again”, “Rail fares have gone up”, “Bloody hell, they’ve increased Air fares too”, “What? A/C’s are costlier too? This summer will be hell.”
Life-threatening, isn’t it?
If I’ve got the money to spend on flying, will another 200-300 bucks make me poor? If I don’t have an A/C, will I catch fire if I venture out? Does that mean that I must stay at home all summer in my A/C room and do no work at all because I could get hit by sunstroke?
We, the middle, the upper-middle, upper class are such a bunch of hypocrites that we make such a hue and cry if something is going to cost a few rupees more.
India’s poor are still poor, budget after budget, but no one is doing a damn about it. Budgets affect the business class a bit, but they’ll pass the increase on to the consumers, like they always do year after year.
Now, for those who live in air-conditioned comfort, are we going to deny our bawling child that chilled Coke or the ice cream because it’s costs two rupees more?
I doubt it!