New Delhi. Union Budget, as inscrutable and insipid as it has been for years, proved to be of some difference this year when MPs could actually make sense of one sentence in the speech of the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. As soon as the minister said something about restoration of basic duty and enhancement of Central Excise duty on stuffs like petrol and diesel, the opposition MPs could understand that it meant price rise, and walked out of the Lok Sabha.
“It was awesome! I always thought that no one in the parliament understood a thing about Budget, because I always saw people sleeping during the previous speeches. But boy, don’t they know what is being talked about?” said Ravinder, a final year MBA student at FMS Delhi.
The move by the opposition parties has also come as a pleasant surprise to many other people, who thought that budgetary and financial matters were beyond the ken of parliamentarians, and such decisions were taken by bureaucrats and technocrats. But parliamentarians have disapproved of such points of view.
“Yes, there are some things that we don’t understand, for example, I have no idea how does finance ministry budget for non-planned expenditure, when they are non-planned by definition. But we understand things like petrol and diesel. We also understand sugar.” said a walked out BJP Member of Parliament.
But many members of the parliament were candid to admit that Budget remained a mystery to them.
“I thumped the benches whenever I saw someone like Chidambaram or Madam Gandhi doing the same, but honestly, I don’t really know what does all this mean.” said a Congress MP on conditions of anonymity.
Not only MPs, many people outside the parliament too thought that they never understood a thing about budget, maybe with an exception of income tax rates. Others thought that the whole exercise was meaningless.
“We too make plans and budget for our company and within a couple of months everything goes for a toss. How can they plan for the whole country?” said 37-year-old Karthik, who runs his own toy manufacturing company, adding, “some news channels are saying that toys will cost lesser; no way I’m going to lower down the prices.”
Meanwhile a lot of peopled searched for images of solar rickshaw after the budget speech, as they are supposed to cost lesser and bring relief to the common man among rising prices. In an exclusive interview to Faking News after his budget speech in the parliament, Pranab Mukherjee was kind enough to explain the rationale.
“A rickshaw peddler would need lesser muscular energy to drive a solar rickshaw. We want all rickshaws to be converted into solar powered ones, so that the demand for muscular energy, which is derived from nutrition and food, goes down. This would mean lesser demand for food, which will bring down the rising food prices.” said Pranab Da.