ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Budget Without a Difference

The Union Budget for 2007-08 was initially criticised for a variety of reasons – that it had no “reform” in it, that it did not push fiscal consolidation much further, that it did little to fight inflation, that it added to the corporate tax burden and many complaints that only reflected the self-interest of the lobbies. As always happens the morning after and once the spin doctors have had the chance to convince the detractors, much of the criticism has since died down.

The Union Budget for 2007-08 was initially criticised for a variety of reasons – that it had no “reform” in it, that it did not push fiscal consolidation much further, that it did little to fight inflation, that it added to the corporate tax burden and many complaints that only reflected the self-interest of the lobbies. As always happens the morning after and once the spin doctors have had the chance to convince the detractors, much of the criticism has since died down. What is amazing about the 2007-08 budget and its manner of presentation is that it has been able to politically sell the message that it is designed to facilitate “inclusive growth”, when in fact it does nothing of that kind. If anything, the budget only pushes further on the road decreed by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act and in the process has stifled whatever promise there was of a different growth orientation in the first year of the Eleventh Plan.

It has become a pattern of recent years that the budget of the government of India can contain one set of proposals but its image-makers get away by giving it another sheen. This is, of course, an inevitable consequence of making the budget a grand media and political spectacle in which the government, media and political establishment are all complicit.

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