Ever since I gained sense, I have followed, at least attempted to follow, Budget proposals closely. And the one constant has been this: whatever the announcements, by whoever, it invariably never ever makes any positive difference to my own budget. I don’t gain a penny, but lose many.
Amazingly, whether it is Yashwant Sinha, P Chidambaram or Pranab Mukherjee, after no Budget have I, or some People Like Us that I know, rubbed two hands in glee and said, ``Wow, this year’s gonna rock for us.’’It is the best budget I had ever seen.
Somehow, in the end, we end up spending a bit more than the last year. If LCDs become cheaper, the cable guy jacks up his rates. If tea becomes cheaper, milk gets dearer. If cars cost less, petrol costs more. If a common man save Rs 3,000 at the end of 365 days because the income tax exemption limit has been raised, he spends Rs 6,000 more because transportation charges have gone up and my subzi walla says he’ll have to take a little extra for that tomato, potato, bhindi and lauki.
For the bulk of people like us , especially those employed by others, which is almost all of us, the bottom lines, more or less, remain what they are and life goes on in exactly the same manner after the Budget as it did before it. If anything, you should be happy when the Budget guarantees status quo. Because, come to think of it, the Budget seldom has anything for the people like us
So you peer close to the TV as the finance minister makes his grand speech, quoting from everybody under the sun – from Gandhi to Mandela, Kabir to Nanak, saint to scoundrel – to make the boring exercise sound interesting. And you look busy as hell as you turn away the mummy n dadi when she asks if the Budget will make any difference to her life. You don’t take the unimportant calls, and the important ones you try to cut it suitably short, making sure the sound on your TV is loud enough to reach the guy on the other side of your phone. You skip your breakfast and delay your lunch. And you discuss with everybody the various things that were announced by the FM but are actually of no use to you – like branded jewellery being fully exempt from excise duty.
But when you get out of your office at the end of the day – with most of your proposals on hold because your boss, too, was busy with the Budget – and hit the hard road home, you realize nothing has changed for the better. The edgy cab driver suddenly charges you more because fuel prices have gone up, the pirated CD you pick up is rented out at Rs 5 plus and the gardener you pass by makes a quick request for a wage hike because he’s just heard Budget se bhao badh gaya hai.
And so, what did I gain from Pranab da’s budget? Zilch. As usual. And what did I lost?
My electricity bill of four hours to watch pranab da making promise over promise.But why do I forgot? The aam budget is not for aam janta