The maiden annual budget by the newly elected Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance dispensation was an obvious choice for the Amul ad.Partly for the significance of the event and partly for the balancing act the Finance Minister (FM) was required to do (as depicted in the caricature above).In the process there were some nuggets of humour embedded for us- Aam Admi -the common people!
The Union Budget for 2014-15 was due two days after the shocker of a semi final –Brazil vs Germany- at the FIFA 2014 World Cup.Similar expectations were there from the Union Budget being presented by the FM, Arun Jaitely.Not so much for the bitter pill that was promised by the Prime Minister (PM) but for the fact that the previous government of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had been comatose for so long that nothing other than a jump start can revive the Indian economy.
But what was going to be in it for me and the common masses?All that I was interested in knowing was how much was the tax slab reduced by and what became expensive and what got cheaper.Somehow by whatever amount the tax gets reduced I have never felt the extra wad of notes in my wallet? Have you?And when cigarettes become expensive and matches become cheaper – well that’s what has happened – I am inclined to think that the black humour iinstincts of the FM are now firmly out in the open – at our expense!!!
You know how the economy functions? I dont either except for the very obvious And thats how it is for most of our politicians.The criticism & the accolades ,by political figures, for the budget are on party lines & not based on an objective assessment & turn out to be an exercise in hilarity. Without going into the merits and demerits of the budget i would like to take on what probaby went on through the minds of the regular opposition.Though most of it is a work of fiction yet the theme is based on the reactions of these leaders to the Budget Proposals of the Narendra Modi government.
Starting with the Indian National Congress (INC/ Cong (I)).
They have been asleep for a long time, overtaken by a thought paralysis (why else would they project Rahul Gandhi as their choice for PM!!!).They never understood the budget process when in power so the prospects dimmed further, now that they are all but wiped out at the hustings.After the hiding in the General Elections 2014 ,Congressmen have been hoping that the next five years would be like a dream and they would want to continue with their slumber.However, sleeping pills haven’t formed part of the free medicine package being unveiled by the Government and will get more expensive.Now the worst nightmare of the Congressman will come true – Rahul Gandhi will stay awake and make sure that the INC doesn’t remain a force to reckon with within its own office premises let alone anywhere outside its confies!!!Hence its a bad budget for the INC and they have stated as much.Some of the Congressman have come under the scrutiny of their High Command for pitching for a waste management plant in the Congress Head Quarters!Any guesses why???
Other than the Cong (I) a certain Mr Arvind Kejriwal was expecting a few concessions of his own as well.
He was expecting that the Government would cap lawyer fees and make them affordable for him to hire for his numerous litigations.That didn’t happen.He was also expecting property rentals to come down so he could rent one now that he is out of the Government alloted residence.That didnt happen either.He was expecting victims of ink splattering , shoe throwing and slapping to be elligible for added tax exemptions.That too didnt happen.By the way, secretly Mr Kejriwal had pitched for an income tax waiver for the top 10 individuals who can make the most vacuous claims and get away with it.He of course bags the first five ranks amongst the ten!!!Overall a poor budget for Kejri dear.
Coming to a very lonely and unusually quiet certain Ms Mayawati.
In the run up to the Union Budget she had canvassed for a hefty allocation of funds for the conservation of wild life!!!Wait a sec…why his turn around in Ms Mayawati’s portfoilo especially as she authored the infamous Taj Corridor Plan which would have ruined the ecology of the area.It’s likely because the Elephant (the BSP’s electoral symbol) is nearly extinct in the political jungle of Uttar Pradesh! Reports also came in of an elephant being held illegaly at Mayawati’s residence. BJP MP, Maneka Gandhi wasnt too amused about this and ordered confiscation of the tusker. When the inspectors reached Mayawati’s residence they realised that she had none and was now herself wearing a costume to look like one!!!!The extent that people can go to for their political fortunes!!!
Spare a thought for the senior members of the BSP forming the hind legs of the dummy elephant.Wonder if they are expected to produce elephant shit too..same colour,volume and stink as well!!! So a bad budget for her too and a horrific one for her party colleagues.
Akhilesh Yadav of UP is not amused with the budget as well.
This inspite of heavy allocation by the NDA government in his pet projects such as the Metro Rail & Ganga Action Plan.Though Akhilesh too has been decimated in the General Elections 2014 he is not pitching for a special cycle factory to revive his political fortunes.He had expected massive financial concessions and grants as well for states having inefficient Chief Ministers (CM), lawlessness and Jail Ministers themselves being claimants of life imprisonent! This didnt happen as other states too would have immediately replaced their CMs with inefficient ones and rushed to meet the criterion as well.( Infact the INC was supporting Akhilesh’s demand as in Haryana they already had met the first two conditions).When Yadav saw none of his demands being met, he made a call to the FM,Arun Jaitely to atleast grant him enough funds to buy a lap top so he could play his favourite games since there wasnt anything much he could do while in office!!! I believe even this was turned down.Bad budget indeed.
Similarly other political outfits too have spoken against the budget provisions and if their contentions are anywhere near the ones listed above then we might as well skip them.The Left Parties and the likes of Sita Ram Yechury are in agreement with me as what they had to say they themselves couldnt bear to hear!!!Jayalalitha has come out in support of the Budget as ,though not known to many,there were embedded provisions for research & development of a machine which turns your political adversaries into whatever you want them to turn into (Alagiri into an Ostrich and Stalin into a raven- and Karunanidhi..well thats classifed!!!).
Coming to the Amul Ad.
It depicts a very portly individual seated on a desk (typically seen in government offices with green velvet cloth stuck on them).The gentleman is balding and is wearing a kurta-pyjama along with a sleevless jacket.He has a briefcase on to his left and is poring over some documents.The brief case is synonymous with FMs as when they enter the Parliament House on budget day they show the brief case to the waiting media as it ios supposed to have the future of the country locked in it.The portly man depicts India’s FM,Arun Jaitely and the Amul Girl is shown depicting a bureaucrat getting some documents signed.The scene is typical of budget days when FMs are shown leaving their offices and signing last minute documents.Its a scene that most of us can relate too.
The Tag Line…Budget utterly bujaitely delicious hoga?..is a spin on the Amul tag line of ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ used for years to describe the Amul Butter.The ‘Butterly’ has been replaced by ‘bujaitely’ to factor in the FM’s name.The tag line asks a simple question that will the budget live up to the pre budget expectations & be delicious enough for investors to bite into it??? (Luis Suarez, dont get interested please!!!)
The Punch Line..Bank on it !…pitches the credibility of the Amul product line against the budget and emphatically established the reliable credentials of the brand on which millions of Indians can bank for its quality products.
Not-with-standing-the above,the Union Budget 2014 has been a balanced budget with the Government laying equal focus on growth, fiscal discipline and reigning in inflation.The middle class being encouraged to save as well as spend more by enhancing returns on savings as well raising tax slabs.The manufacturing and infrastructure sectors have been given due concessions and certain policy measures have been put in place to reduce government and increase governance.There was much more that could have been accomplished but then this budget was saddled by the previously presented Interim Budget of the UPA and the state of the economy.
Well the FM was the first ever to take a break on account of a backache while delivering his speech!!!If preparing the budget broke his back then whats going to be the fate of he people carrying its burden?Hope its all just the fault of the speech writer of the FM & not associated with the provisions of the budget.
Some interesting trivia.This was the second longest speech by an FM while presenting the budget.It generated 119000 tweets in a single day, surpassing the 84000 on the day of the results for the General Elections 2014. The FM used the word ‘I’ once in 81 words, up from once in 55 times for his predecessor P Chidambaram (no wonder there wasnt much else in his specches).And the FM ended up allocating the same IIM to two states.To Maharashtra in the English version of the Speech and to Rajasthan in the Hindi version.Smart thinking for sure! Kill two birds with one stone!And this was the first time that a FM finished his speech sitting!!!
Keeping in mind that there were suggestions galore after the Budget the FM should seriously consider allocating funds for a National Institue for Suggestions, where flights of fancy could be turned into reality such as turning Rajnikant into an un-sinkable air craft carrier!
By the way the FM treated himself to a Chicken Curry and Roti lunch after the Budget speech.Well, Mr Jaitely not the right kind of dietary discipline for your health condition (bad back).Hope you are more disciplined when it comes to the finances of the nation!!!And next time don’t forget to provide concessions to the spinal pain relief industry so you can complete the speech standing!!!!