[News Opinion] Indian budget 2008-09

Feb, 29 2008

As Kapil Sibal puts it, “Every budget it aimed at gathering votes, nothing special about this budget……did the BJP aim at agonizing the common man when it presented budget……. No… nor do we…. ….”—-must say, one man in the Congress led UPA government who has it in him to admit that yes, budget is one of the ways to garner public support!

So, what is the budget like? Does it have any catches, just like the railway budget?

Well, this is one budget where I am counting my losses and gains. You are most welcome to join me on this journey………

First of all, the income basic exemption has been increased from Rs.110, 000 to Rs.150, 000. So far, good news, but the better part of the news is that, I being a human of the female genre (no, that isn’t the news part, read on….), get an exemption of Rs. 180,000 instead of the 1, 45, 000 (those who are already cribbing about the railway budget being partial to the senior women citizens, can simply keep a couple of more tissue papers handy :P). And yes, in the case of senior citizens, it stands increased from Rs.195, 000 to Rs.225, 000.

Now that we have touched upon the senior citizens aspect, let us put it here itself that now, you can claim income tax deduction on the insurance amount that you have ‘invested’ for your parents. This is one good social security measure (hope, the young morons who have taken fancy to shooing away their old parents find one reason here….)

Yes, I forgot to mention the tax slabs. Would you like to google them out? Never mind, I shall copy paste them for you here……..

Rs.150,001 to Rs.300,000 10 per cent

Rs.300,001 to Rs.500,000 20 per cent

Rs.500,001 and above 30 per cent

The budget has got some good news for the individual. Did I mention that the excise duty on small cars, scooters (does it include bikes.. Or only those papa types bajaj scooters…), three wheelers, pharmaceutical sector, buses and their chassis, and a whole lot of such items has been reduced.

The budget allocated an increased sum towards social security, health, mid-day meals (hope at least now, the children are served some edible food), education etc.

But guess, the corporate sector has not taken it in stride that the corporate tax remains unchanged, i.e., when they were expecting that it would be reduced…..also, the surcharge remains…..

Another thing that did not go down well with most was the increase in the Short term capital gain tax from 10% to 15% (which, according to the finmin, is likely to inculcate investing habits), and no guesses, the stock market reacted strongly and closed lower.

And yes, the most watched defence sector of the world (Pakistan would have for sure waited for the moment when P. Chidambaram announced the following) got a 10% allocation of the budget outlay.

?I propose to increase the allocation for Defence by 10 per cent from Rs.96,000 crore to Rs.105,600 crore. I have assured the Raksha Mantri that any further amount needed for the Defence Forces, especially for capital expenditure, will be provided.?

Farmer! The issue that created much uproar! Why shouldn’t it, after all the most ?hot? topic in the session (all of a sudden every one ahs become compassionate towards them, surprisingly!)

The budget presented by the honorable finance minister in the lower house of the parliament, under different conditions, circumstances, gave a waiver of loans to farmers (different for small, marginal and large)……those poor farmers rejoiced…..let the feeling sink in, let them hear a re-play of what the finance minister had to say at a press conference…..

“The discussion has always been about bank loans, institutional loans…how do you expect anyone to identify the ‘unauthorized’ sector…….the waiver was never for those loans.”

Damn, Kishan, the farmer took the loan from a landlord…………..

Btw, where does he propose to get the Rs 60000 cr  from…

But yes, the moment this was announced, the banking shares went down! Poor sensex, must have been too tired to rise up at the closing time with so many ups and downs.

Did I tell you something? At a press conference hours after the budget, Chidambaram, when quizzed about ?isn?t this budget too populist…….he was quick to reply, “you have nothing to analyze in the budget, so you have come up with this”…………..

Well, now do you want us to analyze this? (I mean, should we really assume that this is not ?vote-bank oriented??) Ok, now let?s start the game and talk about how it is not growth oriented and how it is not a ?well thought about one? ?..in the comments section though J ?I mean, after all, let us not disappoint the honorable FINMIN.

If Munnabhai had to analyze the budget, he would have said, “maamu, economy ki to watt laga di, tere ko kuch to sochne ka tha na,”

Oh, before I sign off, let me tell you another one?again straight from the finmin”.one gentleman from a reputed business news channel tried to phrase a question….in English…..he did try his level best…..the finmin, didn’t get it””.so? he ‘rephrased’ it to suit his answer!! …….

NOTE: According to Fitch Ratings, the Indian budget for 2008-09 is disappointing as it has failed to achieve its widely expected zero revenue deficit target. Also, it included populist measures. And, lacked ?concrete measures? to tackle the fiscal problems in the country.

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