05 August, 2021

Figure It Out: The Official Cookbook

The Union budget, it turns out, is a document that is based on a tissue of imaginary figures

Jitender Gupta
Figure It Out: The Official Cookbook
Yashwant Sinha's ambitious reform proposals in the 2001-02 budget, which surpassed all expectations and returned the feel-goodness to the economy, have been unsettled by the stockmarket scam that followed. Yet a scandal in the actual budget figures themselves is waiting to erupt—one that may remove all faith in the way budgets are put together and prime economic targets met.

This is the ugly truth our investigations have unearthed: that year after year, the Union budget documents have been carrying utterly and transparently fictitious figures. We have enough—and incontrovertible—examples of this, enough for the Indian citizen to rightfully demand to know whether any of the budget figures presented every year have any relation to the truth.

For the past four years, North Block seems to have been working in the belief that all's fair in love, war and budget-making. In the universal rush of adrenaline triggered by the Budget 2001 speech, hardly anyone noticed that the receipts budget document is much thinner this year. Gone are the individual break-ups under...

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