Mine, everyone’s or partly others’

To have an annual budget, without knee-jerk, even thoughtful criticism, takes away the spice of Democracy. In India it is a ritual.

A budget in post Covid times is not an easy task in any country. This time it is in PDF, so the IT cells of each party shall have to activate, or borrow such expertise.

A citizen, by priority sees what is there for him, in cutting expenses on day to day living.

Next, will the present measures, though not as expected, ease out taxes and elevate quality of life in future. Finally, few would think if there is a blend of some lobbies in moulding government policies. For instance, socialist or capitalist influences.

This government started with its known image of right of centre. As much was being spent for infrastructure for expressways, short connection flights, faster cleaner and prompt trains. Came the global Tsunami of Covid. The lockdown was essential to save lives, though predictably it led to negative growth, loss of jobs, and a devastation if judged entirely from the balance sheets. Those countries who dithered, are fighting to keep the economic and human wolf out of the door.

The quick move on vaccines, despite the expenses, are now in demand in the west, including US. Though it is not a matter of trade or profits, India stands to its neutral, human image, glimpses of which you see in the freedom struggle.

Taking the fiscal deficit as a crucial marker, her are the figures on expenses, and expected revenues. Infrastructure takes the front seat at 34.5% (1, 42,151 Cr). This is Rs 7,69,975 Cr more than provisional actual of 2019-20.

The total revenues being transferred to the states including their share, subsidies, and on-going welfare schemes as MNREGA is Rs 13,88,552 Cr, which is 754,566 Cr more than 20-21. A key aspect worth discussing is that monetizing and dis-investment. Infrastructure though under a very able minister, needs a lot to cover. The budget anticipates revenue from monetization of use. This would be a long-term revenue for the government for years to come.

Low revenues, expenses on defence, pandemic losses, forces the budget to generate money by dis-investment.

Indian PSUs are held in high esteem, and are major revenue generators, as well as employment opportunities. The sum total of dis-investment should not be such, that for a few dollars more, one ends up on the losing side. Our need for immediate cash for infrastructure should always be to keep a majority hold over our assets. Those who shall come to buy stakes, would also be doing so for their own revenues.

I believe a few insurance companies, top public sector banks as PNB, IDBI, non-banking financial institutions are on the list. These have stood by the country when the Reserve Bank had restrictions on contribution. They have saved smaller banks (OBC PNB merger) and saved investor money.

The Indian investor being smart, knowing how to play Yo-Yo at the Dalal Street, may be asked to invest via IPOs, That, may be slow but sure. A certain reprieve in taxation, or delay in imposition can be allowed by Indian citizens abroad to invest in such ventures. There may be an amalgam as RIL-Futures for a larger retail market.

“Atmanirbhar” now an Oxford dictionary word, “Swadeshi” by which independence was gained, are motivating, and are not likely to lose on wisdom. Economic sovereignty in every aspect cannot be set aside. Allocation for MSME, is encouraging, and focus key sectors that save imports, and have a potential to grow big in revenue and employment. Healthcare comes into focus, but needs help both in reducing tariffs, as well as third party backing India’s big houses are our assets, and sources of revenue. When a farmer buys a share, he goes for the very company he fears shall buy him out. The government can coax him to realize the value of his hard work. He knows that when he takes a resident visa to Canada.

He knows what would be the consequences of blocking the Parliament at Ottawa. His behaviour, giving full respect to his perceived cause, is a split between old, re-enforced “parent” rules, and the clash between the “adult” he is now. Once a very sensible analysis of human behaviour in what was: “Transactional Analysis.”

At the ground level, petrol is dearer by a few rupees, diesel a bit more. Shall have inflationary effects, but the easiest way to jack-up revenues. The Centre as well as the states get a share. Hopefully with a certain corpus collected, matters shall ease out. The argument is, cut in travel time, low maintenance due to better roads, shall compensate the excise hike on gas.

If one was to talk on mental balance sheets, much more was on display than ever before.

First the watery eyes of Mr Ghulam Nabi. Then the unexpected outpouring of the gentleman, ex -career commercial pilot Dinesh bhai Trivedi who apologetically announced his resignation from TMC.

What was equally astounding, was the FM, Nirmala Sitharaman, come out with adjectives as “doomsday man”!

From an economist by training, to defence, to finance, you can never win an argument against a Palghat Iyer, or beat them in Carnatic music!

Economists, never run out of arguments, and I am no competition for their scholarly backgrounds!

“It is not necessary to do extrordinary things to get extraordinary results”

Warren Buffet



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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