(This piece was written quite a few years ago, some 7-8 to be precise when Jaswant Singh was the FM, for my blog Anonymuncle. At that time, I was with a financial newspaper and was overwhelmed with the importance and coverage that media gave to the budget. This piece is a subtle reminder of the same.
When I look at it now, I don’t see much of a difference in the way Union budget affects us. I still am non-chalant, a little morbid and a little unsure now)
Year after year, me, my ma and dad used to sit glued to the television set listening with rapt attention, how the finance minister would shape our destinities. Budget times were always something different and all purchases were either hurried or delayed depending on the probablity of it being good or bad.
The finance minister all of sudden seemed to acquire a halo, like those potraits of gods, with the sun shining behind. Manmohan Singh used to be pretty entertaining, with his couplets and straight-faced humour. Then, there was Chidambaram, humble and up to the point. Yashwant Sinha, there was always something menacing about him, with him around, good news always seemed far away. Cut to the current incumbent Jaswant Singh, dont know how he is, neither do I care anymore. Simply because the budget doesnt interest me anymore.
A sense of forebrooding envelops me, I have an inkling of what is their in store. It is more or less the same, mobiles, PCs, Tvs, et al get cheaper and LPG, kerosene, petrol get dearer. The income tax slab is raised or retained. The fiscal deficit increases by a hundred thousand crore, the defence sector goes richer. Some new surcharges are introduced, be it Kargil, Gujarat or now Infrastructure.
What bothers me no end is the tax slab, simply because I constantly try to evade it. I simply cannot come to terms with the thought of wasting my hard-earned money on some 500 nincompoops who already make millions under the board. As a citizen of this nation, it is our duty to pay taxes, we are reminded again and again. Yeah, so that all our honourable leaders can lead a life of more comfort, as it is, they move in cavalcades, with glaring red lights and lead a life which would embarass even the Maharajahs of yore. No, give me a better reason.
I pay the taxes nonetheless, the goddamn sales tax, professional tax, direct and then indirect tax. And sooner or later I will be in the net of Income tax too. Some 40 percent of what I earn, I really find it outrageous, the billionnaires dont pay and us middle class is screwed.
Anyways, the budget has come, as always it does. Liquor is cheaper, how does it matter, I aint gonna drink more. Cigerattes costlier, ditto, I aint gonna smoke less. Tv, fridge, cellphone, all I already have so no good of them getting cheaper. Diesel costlier, Petrol costlier, no problemo, let the car owners go to hell.
Thus in all technicality, I am immune to the budget, hence least interested in it. Sorry, god ol Jas, for all your brilliance, I couldnt care less, and believe me every thing personal about it.