By M S Hussain
So, PranabJi has presented his six Union Budget. Big deal, compadre. Here’s why:
The budget, except for the 100 per cent salary hike to anganwadi workers, is full of the same old platitudes about how the government should fight ‘corruption’, drift and so on. But we have heard this song before, back in the eighties when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister. For every inconvenient question about corruption, Rajiv Gandhi (R.I.P.) would say: “hame dekhna hai, humne dekha, ham dekhenge” and so on, and move on.
Clearly, Pranab has picked up the platitudes of his former boss’s son, so it was as if I was in an echo chamber when I was hearing Pranab speaking with his heavy ‘macher jhol’ accent in Parliament.
Policywise, what can one expect from a Cabinet that is filled with old men like Manmohan Singh (78 years old), Pranab Mukherjee (I believe he is over 75 years old), A.K. Antony (70 years old), Veerappa Moily and their fathers. Just kidding.
Seriously, when you have dinosaurs running the policy show, then you get antideluvian policies as well.
So you begin to wonder when India will have leaders who are in their early to late forties (like David Cameron and Barack Obama), who can speak the language of a vast majority of Indians, who are below 30 years of age. The last time we had such a leader, Rajiv Gandhi, was back in 1984, and he became prime minister following the tragic assassination of his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Going back to policy, there is nothing new at all in the Union Budget for 2011-2012, because our Budget is now inextricably linked to the global economy. So if the Bahrain or the Saudi monarch become the victims of regime change at the hands of their own people, unsettling the global oil economy, then all of PranabJi’s calculations will be in the toilet. In the circumstances, I think he has put the Budget on hold mode, hoping for the best, while trying to spin a fairytale for the rest of us.
As the corporate India, you can be sure that most of them would be heaping absurd praise on the Union Budget and Pranab Mukherjee, while busy transferring their loot to safe havens in Switzerland.
God, I love this country.