The Union budget is pragmatic in the sense it does not contain any major policy change. It is text-bookish. After seeing the fate of recent reform-oriented proposals, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has perhaps tried to play safe to clear the negatives and pave the way for confidence-building. The budget contains more of wisdom in the context of coalition politics, without being sensational.
The revision in the Income Tax exemption limit is dismal. More sops for infrastructure, hospitality, etc., will mean more privatisation of public assets. The increase in the rate of service tax is a blow to consumers and small traders. This will again lead to black-marketing, second billing and so on.
Amid the hype on budget presentation, it may not be out of place to spare a thought for Pranabda, the man behind the daunting task. The job of the Finance Minister is unenviable as it is getting more complicated and onerous with new challenges every year. At the end of the thankless exercise, the Minister will get more brickbats, and yet he will have to maintain his composure.
Keywords: Union Budget 2012-2013