Union Budget – my wish list

Financial Times, Business News channels and even my mailbox is filled with mails from several experts, industry leaders, industrial bodies, farmers associations etc. Taxpayers wish that taxes are lowered; farmers wish that agricultural Minimum Support Price (MSP) is increased, Vodafone wants ‘retrospective amendments stopped’ and so on.

Therefore I am not adding more burden with a similar wish list. My wish list is very simple and maybe silly!

Briefcase – I have been observing ‘briefcase’ business during the budget speech. Every Finance Minister gets down from the car; strikes a pose to the photographers showing a leather briefcase (brown colored one) in his hand, almost holding it up to his chest! I understand that this is a tradition continued from British days.

My wish – Mr. Jaitley, can you break this tradition? It is outdated. Your Government, headed by a tech-savvy PM may subscribe to my idea. In case you have to carry something, please take a laptop or ipad instead of a briefcase. You can read the budget through an electronic gadget. You can chant ‘go green’ mantra through the budget speech. Secondly, briefcase doesn’t carry a good meaning among people; we say ‘exchange of briefcase’ (bribe for favor), we have seen in Tiger Prabhakar movies (Kannada) that a diamond briefcase is exchanged for cash; kidnappers exchange ‘briefcase’ for people. So No.1 item in my wish list is to discard this briefcase business.

Secrecy of budget – Come on Sir, we are in modern India. There is no such thing called ‘secrecy in budget’. In the past (say, till 90s’) the increase in excise duty, increase in petrol and diesel, change in income tax rates and major policies were announced through budgets and only through budgets. So we were waiting to hear about the changes during budget session.

But, Sir, now the petrol prices are decontrolled; gets changed every now and then; diesel prices are increased by 50 paise every month, excise duty is increased or decreased anytime during the year; major policies decisions are taken outside the budget session; the people of this country are much more connected to what is happening in the country, thanks to private news channels. In an eagerness to become the ‘FIRST’ to report, the budget news also gets leaked to the media. They claim it as ‘EXCLUSIVE And FIRST to report’. So No.2 item on my wish list Item is ‘don’t make it a very secret affair’

Timing of budget – It was Mr. Yashwant Sinha who changed another tradition of presenting budget from 5 pm to 11 am. Mr. FM please present budget at a time convenient to you; needn’t stick to 11 am. Nowhere in the constitution is it written that it has to be presented at a particular time.

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About B E Kumar Prasad

B E Kumar Prasad
He is a Practicing Chartered Accountant in Bengaluru, India. He has 25+ years of experience in income tax, business setup, and NRI matters. He is also an Insolvency Professional and Registered Valuer (F&SA).Prasad welcomes your comments and questions. Please email him at [email protected]

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