Memory and Discourse: Budget Beyond Numbers

My memory of the Indian Budget Day during growing up years whether in Mumbai or in Muscat was spent in front of the TV waiting for a middle aged man, with a black briefcase to orate the nations vision in an economic sense. Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh were very good, crisp and to the T. P Chidambaram was fluent with Thirukkal quotes punctuating the speech. The last day of February was the day to calculate tax slabs. The middle class wage earner is a genius in saving her/his tax rupee in all sorts of strange nomenclatures 80 A, 80 D and what not. The salary earning middle class is complaining all the time.

Now a days, the budget day is February 1st. Jaitley ji is a veteran presenter, with the obvious verbal precision of a lawyer. The first of the lot, in terms of being a technocrat, Jaitley ji will hope to present a few more budgets in the future.

With digital mediating our discourse, tomorrow will be a day when everyone will have an opinion and a hashtag to boot. #budget2018 will trend on Twitter, and smart phones not people will buzz with stock market updates all the time. During my teens, the stock market direction was a validation of the Street sentiment. The same is true now a days as well. Some things never change, although the Sensex is not a particularly democratic barometer to gauge perceptions. May the bull run continue. I hope for a populist budget prior to the general election next year.