Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Budgetary woes!

Not mine, if I did start on that, it would just be a fusillade against credit card companies and my inherent consumerism, but on the entire Budget tamasha on TV. And find the entire thing fairly fascinating, at a time as India gets more and more corporatised, people are still going bonkers over the Budget. I mean what is the worst that can happen, Chiddu can tax our pants off so that he can fund Loha Lady's pet projects of handing more money to her operatives in the rural areas in Congress-ruled states, but at the end of the day the BJP-ruled states end up dispersing the money the best. Anyway, this isn't about politics, but just the insanity about Budget reporting.
Back before the 1980's actually, back before 1991, the second-most powerful person in the country was the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission as we lived in our socialist utopia with a degree of controlled growth. Even though Maruti's sales were shooting through the roof, nobody could see (and this despite MUL being a government-owned concern back then) that there was a need for opening up the economy.
1991 changed that.
And for a decade after that budgets became sacred, but as the government decontrolled more and more of the economy and duties and taxes became more rationalised, the last few budgets have been rather boring. But don't tell the media that! half the budget reporting you will read is just hyperbole and even more hyperbole, to the extent that they make Elizabethan playwrights and poets look silly. However, that doesn't mean I will forget my first ever budget as a reporter, for one very particular reason - Godhra. I think the 2002 Budget was the first one that papers had to take a call on, and they took the right call.
From what I have heard, some dailies are reducing their coverage (not ET, because they are still in Papermint battle mode), because they've realised that it is Reddy's pronouncements at the RBI are inherently more important than Chidambaram's Tamil quotes. And that, is the way it should be. Now, if we could decontrol petroleum and we'll get somewhere!
Anyway, I've been pretty tied-up, but that should ease up in the coming few days, and you should see a few more posts. And anyway, for the first time in years, I don't have Budget duty! There is a good guy somewhere up there!


thalassa_mikra said...

But the American media is all over the State of the Union address here as well, which is sort of a budgetary statement.

I might just catch some of the budget analysis this year, because I've been so woefully out of touch with how the Indian economy is performing.

Anonymous said...

T_M: awwww, wrong time to miss updates on the Indian economy !!!

- Bonatellis

Prudent Indian said...

I have been reading you for long,in fact you are on my 'must read' list at my 'sordid' blog...Wahan Jahan Koi Aatia Jatai Nahin...this time I couldn' resist myself commenting,your take on "loha lady" is fabulous.BTW,I too am (?) from a paper whom a friend call,Chennai based Chinese national newspaper.

livinghigh said...

lol. Budget Day.
*laughs himself mad from memories*