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flow of gratuitous, unsolicited advice to the FM in the media and other fora. Fortunately for us—with his extraordinary intellect and reserves of (uncommon) common sense—he will ignore 99% of it. Thank heaven that for this Budget we have an FM in situ who understands intuitively India’s globalised economy of the 21st century much better than his ‘stuck-in-the-1970s’ predecessor did, and better than most of the Opposition still does. This FM knows what he is doing. He is acutely aware of how dependent and interdependent India is on global cross-border trade, investment and capital flows. He realises, as a consequence, how much harm or good even the slightest inflection of his eyebrows, leave alone his utterances and actions, can do at home and abroad. Any FM who is ignorant in that respect is a clear and present danger to India.
Since he resumed an office he should never have left (typically, those responsible for shifting him will never hold themselves to account for the damage they have done as they should be, because the cost of such malfeasance has been enormous) the FM has pursued an exhausting schedule of single-handedly trying to revive faith in India—i.e. resuscitating the belief of those abroad for whom the India story has soured. More importantly, he has been resurrecting the faith that India has so obviously lost in itself (certainly in its government and political system) with growth imploding from 9% to 5%; resulting also in India’s increasingly fragile social fabric threatening to unravel—not just at the seams but at its heart.
The price India has paid for not having an FM who understood what he needed to between 2009 and 2012 has been a heavy one. Blaming the pathetic global economy for India’s growth implosion is an excuse no one believes. Neither should they, because it is patently false. The wounds India suffered were self-inflicted. The consequences of the damage done in that span, in the cavalier, almost callous, way in which investors (domestic and foreign) were treated, is now palpable as those same investors indicate that reviving the India story won’t work any