The Budget is ready
The Budget is ready
The pundits have been anxious to tell finance minister Arun Jaitley as to what he should be doing, and have been doling out unsolicited advice rather liberally. Most pundits appear to be right-wing liberals—the new buzzword—who believe in the virtues of a free market economy and they want the finance minister to deliver big-ticket, big-bang reforms. What they have in mind is mega infrastructural projects and huge public investments to be given to private players. They feel that this is the best way of kick-starting economic growth after the UPA’s ignominious performance in running the economy aground with its scams and policy paralysis. Unfortunately, there is not much that Jaitley can do with these dollops of economic counselling. The Budget papers have been printed by now, kept under seal in the finance ministry. All that the finance minister has to do is unwrap the speech and read it out in the Lok Sabha on Saturday morning. There are really no last-minute changes in the Budget, except maybe editing, as shown in the customary photograph showing the finance minister turning the pages with a pen in hand. The pundits must also know that while PM Narendra Modi, Jaitley and the rest of the team want to implement the best of the economic ideas, but they also have to keep the ground reality in mind. Jaitley’s Budget has to be perforce realistic. His announcement of projects, schemes and tax proposals will depend on the actual state of the economy.
Roads of destiny
The moving away of Rahul Gandhi from the spotlight is perhaps a time to ponder at a possible turn the democratic ethos this nation is poised to take, after six decades of independence. How else do we see this gust of change blowing now. The scion of a dynasty that held sway through an exciting era since is going into deep political introspection and a fervent activist with no pedigree conjures up a political entity overnight that decimates a strong cadre-based party. Is Rahul Gandhi grappling with a far more complex socio-political conundrum to reach a fresh inner awakening beyond our ken or is simply overwhelmed by the tasks ahead? By the same token, is Kejriwal a passing phenomenon leveraging a transient public mood or an indication of a sea-change in political perceptions by the entire polity of this ambitious and restless nation? Between these two, would other parties continue with their cycle of appeasement and power without second thoughts, leaving the nation meandering? In any event, the nation needs to sharply change course. In fact, it is the insipid, insensitive and routine politics that has brought in an AAP and a dynasty to attempt reclaiming a much desired but fading political ethos.