Making the third budget for the second UPA government, Pranab da has brought cheers to many and tears to some. In what is widely considered as a safe play for the current situation before moving into elections in the year after next, he has played his role well. The road was laid before; the route clear; and the budget produced what it intended to do.
His opposition was silent and his opposition within the UPA was more silent; missing the opportunity to cry at any anti-popular pro-reform measure. On the tax front, a cut here and a cut there has someway absorbed a part of the hike in excise and services. The tax payers may not be extra happy of the raised exemption limit of Rs 2 lakh. But still the soap of deduction for equity investment makes them surprised of fun. Ladies beware!, there is a hike in gold, platinum, watches, washing machine and fridge, besides the higher exemption limit on income compared to men has been withdrawn. The corporate can’t be relieved because of the continuation of MAT. Tata and Ambani can fell success of their pressure tactis as the budget has provided endless concessions to the power sector. The trouble shooter has done it again playing the trump card. No subsidy has been cut, fuel fertilizer, food all remains at their high level; an unexpected one for those prepared for booing Pranab da. Fiscal consolidation is there of course, by taxing commodities and services. The trick has produced the desirable outcome- there is no gain and no pain.