Ho-hum. So, where is the bold vision, Mr FM? news
02 March 2013

A budget that cautiously preserves the status quo does not occupy mind spacefor long, since neither the aam admi nor businesses care much for the tweaks and tricks woven into it. By Lavanya Rastogi, president, global operations, OSScube.

Lavanya RastogiWhen there is turbulence in the air or waters are choppy – what do you expect the captain to do? Steady the vessel as best he can…and have a calming effect on people when he speaks about what lies ahead.

Honourable Finance Minister seems to have followed a completely different play book. Granted that the weather is not his mandate but imposing a ''Weather fee'' – to be paid by anyone who ''the Captain thinks'' can afford it – is hardly a solution!

Strange as it sounds but this is precisely what seems to have happened with the budget 2013. The economy has been softening with every quarter and inflation has remained  high, job growth has slowed, the agrarian economy has not seen the famer's fortunes go north, currency has lost shine, capital has been fleeing… and of course, it been raining scandals after scandal. Just when you think you have seen the worst – the next one surprises you.

As a die-hard optimist, for long I have fought the urge to accept this senses of policy paralysis and social chaos as the ''new normal'' – but budget 2013 has set me thinking too.

Speaking of specific policies – increasing of excise on Mobile phone to 6 per cent (a whopping 500 per cent increase) and imposing of 12.36 per cent service tax on a vast majority of food outlets – both having an effect of 5-10 per cnt on price - is going to directly hit the pocket book not only of the well-healed but also young professionals, house wives and even students. 

Combine this with the high 3G pricing and both rural and urban India will pay dearly. I can't seem to find any silver lining in this one.

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Ho-hum. So, where is the bold vision, Mr FM?