24 January, 2021

Cut Price Ticket

The FM has staked budget-balancing on growth. It can be tricky.

Cut Price Ticket

“I guess we’ll have to wait 12 months for a Big Vision,” hdfc chairman Deepak Parekh said as Arun Jaitley finished India’s longest budget speech ever. My sentiments exactly. Stockmarkets didn’t quite know what to make of Mr Jaitley, and on Budget Day, the Nifty was all over the place, from below 7,500 to above 7,700. Closing at 7,570, the Nifty logged three straight days of losses. I hope the budget puts an end to the cheerleading that accompanied Narendra Modi’s ascent to power. Those who were expecting him and Jaitley to work magic in the budget proposals weren’t dealing with the reality of either the Ind­ian fiscal situation, or of its politics. The fact is our government’s fina­n­ces are stretched after 10 years of reckless populism. The first years were made easy by the global financial boom. The fin­ancial crisis and business downt­urn that followed created a piq­u­ant situation—on the one hand, financial stimulus was required; on the other hand, it was difficult to fund. Fin­ance...



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