20 September, 2020

Laundry Line Notes

The ‘animal’ spirits of enterprise meet ancien regime prolixity

Laundry Line Notes

Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has missed the last bus to history. A decade from now if someone were to ask what Pranab said this Friday while presenting his seventh budget speech in Parliament, few would be able to recall anything.

Not all FMs make it to history books. Morarji Desai, who presented a maximum number of 10 budgets, is best remembered for opposing bank nationalisation, not for proposing anything significant. Two decades later, Manmohan Singh is still remembered for his 1991 speech that ended with his using the Victor Hugo quote thus: “No power on Earth can stop an idea whose time has come, and the emergence of India as an economic powerhouse is one such idea!” Former finance minister P. Chidambaram is remembered for his “dream budget” that slashed direct tax rates and customs duties. What will Pranab be remembered by?

He got off to a good start, like the Ganga in the Himalayas, but meandered his way through 220 paras and, like a river running dry in the plains, so did he, sipping a...



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