(This article was originally published on DNA)
Every year, with unfailing regularity, there are at least a couple of articles in the media explaining why the annual Budget exercise is a waste of time. Every year with equal regularity, however, editors in newsrooms across the country insist on filling pages with experts talking about how the Budget has had an impact, good or bad, on specific sectors – women, farmers, unemployed, entrepreneurs, SMEs, big corporations and so on.
This year, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman put an end to much of this pontification. A strong hint about what she intended to do was in her choice of carrying the Budget documents – a bahi-khata instead of a briefcase. The traditional red bahi-khata is known to most Indians as holding a ledger – a statement of profits and losses.
Budget announcements are fine as a statement of intent. But real economic movement and progress comes from the far more low-key policy announcements and rules and regulations that the government frames from time to time. Therefore, while key announcements from the Budget tend to hog most of the media limelight, many sectors that seem ostensibly ignored by them benefit from other policy measures through the rest of the year.
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