Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Run up to Budget 2009-10

Will Budget Premier League deliver?
JUNE 09,2009
By Subhashree Kishore

IT is time to get glued to the electrified at times frenzied ‘knowledgeable’ gentlemen. They will tell us what to expect, when, why, wherefrom…… they stake their sleep and sanity to get our attention. The privileged few, as always will climb up Santa’s knee and whisper their wish lists during the consultations.

The Budget Premier League is set to kick off in the first week of July.

In 2008, we were booming and beaming and prayed for sweets from a rich uncle. FM - PC did deliver with income tax cuts and farm waiver. But now the mood is sombre and we are caught between the horns of fiscal prudence and fervent populism. At best we can hope that the uncle will be sweet and release a few riches.

The roar for reforms, disinvestment (in profitable PSUs) and jettisoning subsidies (leaving fuel pricing to gods) is deafening. Yes, they are a convenient way out to close the fiscal deficit without borrowing at interest as well as pleasing the industry. Interestingly America’s fiscal deficit is around 12%. But such deficits are dangerous for us - or so we are told.

Well, we can’t borrow, exports are down and we are finding it difficult to create jobs - without direct cost to the exchequer that is. Yet we don’t find homes being sold for one dollar or top industrialists bicycling to office. We find political parties spending hundreds of crores in ad campaigns alone in the just concluded polls. So, there is money somewhere and before reaching for the family silver we may ponder over these...

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