Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: BUDGET

FM HIS BUDGET & I

Yesterday was a leisurely lazy Sunday after ages. To have a hot cuppa chai in bed was amazing. The week gone by was hectic, not because of the budget and its analysis but due to many parties I attended. I walked out into my balcony to get a bird’s eye view of my garden. It was a pleasant surprise to see our mango tree in full bloom in the backyard. The sweet smell of the blossoms just took my breath away.

Be that as it may, I switched on the TV to catch up with the world. Lo and behold there were quite a few channels showing post budget interview with the FM. For me the budget came and went. Being a total zero as far as finances are concerned I go into a tizzy when I hear the financial jargon used to explain the budget. Our FM saab was throwing them one after the other like a volley of arrows at the anchors which were piercing through them and the audiences heads. To save me from the agony I switched on my mobile to catch up with what my friends had updated on social media.

In the background, the duel of words between the FM and the anchors kept running and I kept switching my eyes from mobile to TV and back. As soon as I heard the word “middle class” my ENT nerves awakened. It appeared as if lakhs of crores will flow down like a waterfall from the TV to my drawing room. Moment he said “gas” my stove lit up and started preparing breakfast. “Petrol” was a little confusing. He somewhere mentioned income tax, I raised my brows to listen keenly as if all my taxes will be washed away like my sins but then he mentioned the “tax net”. I found myself entangled in a fishnet with no way to escape.

He talked about miles of roads & rail, millions of houses, this subsidy and that subsidy. He also mentioned somewhere about the Sensex. My eyes sparkled again expecting my investments to double by the end of the interview. Then he brought in the long term gains. That’s where I switched off mentally. I lost patience when he started making comparisons of inflation, fiscal deficit and all those kinds of words. I switched off the TV and carried my cup of tea to my garden to watch my investment of time in the flowers which were paying rich dividends. I swear the smile returned to my face. Flowers were my gains, my achievement and my accomplishments.

In hind sight, I started to visualise the intelligent looking faces of those “clued-up” anchors. In garb of what the opposition says and critiques say, they were trying to weave a gauntlet around the FM. They were constantly trying to give a knockout punch as also check his knowledge and grip on the budget. I must admire the FM, he never lost his cool nor was he found lacking on the subject. With a calm demeanour he just counter attacked them with questions, facts and figures which under no circumstances could the anchors rebut immediately.

I was just thinking how much of research work these financial analysts do to cherry pick loopholes into the budget. There was not one word of praise by the anchors for either the budget or the FM. They were only there to strengthen the “chakravyuh” which the FM was well prepared to break. One by one, item by item he demolished and justified every pai that he allocated and was going to extract. The anchors must be worried about their own pockets as if the FM would tax every question they asked and levy GST on them. You pay and then proceed.

FM being a master of this subject knew the ropes well.  He also knew that these anchors come with a script and cannot deviate. He bombarded them with figures with a straight face; frankly the anchors would have had no clue of. Even if he told some untruths, I dare say lie, one can always cover it later. He justified every word which was in print and he did it with grace and finesse. I closely observed the FMs body language when a mention of Raga and his tweets on the budget came up.  His piercing look appeared to tell the anchors go teach him the table of two and the spelling of budget.

Finally, FM very well knows that this government needs to survive. Elections 2019 do matter and so do the people. My only fear is that my meager savings should be preserved. Will the FM shower his blessings on the common middle class man in the next budget? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BUDGET CAME AND BUDGET WENT

It was nice to hear about the increase of pay of the topmost people who are involved in governing India in this budget. I feel it is less. On deeper thought, this way it is the easiest for the parliamentarians to justify their salary hike. Actually, they don’t have to get it passed through the budget directly. All of them sit and decide, move a bill and the motion is passed by a voice vote as the “yay’s” always have it. FM is capable enough to cater for that amount without a bat of an eyelid.

Be that as it may, I would like to thank the government for whatever we got for the OROP and the serving people through the 7th pay commission. Yes, there are issues to be sorted out, let us give it time and I shall leave it at that. With this the armed forces have definitely been looked after. So “Jai Jawan” stands good. You may or may not agree.

This year’s budget also shows a quantum jump for the rural and the agricultural sector. “Jai Kissan” must be in mind while doing allocation.  People will always argue it is far less. Well, we are still a monsoon based agricultural economy. Come drought farmers are in for trouble, come floods the crop is washed out, come good monsoons, we have a bumper crop thus prices fall. Our “ann daata” needs to be resurrected.  If this budget can uplift them, nothing could be better.

Frankly, budget was “Greek” to me. My “Choti si asha” was to see my income slab shift a little higher but FM saab left it untouched. People in the tax bracket should not ask for more he means. For every hundred rupees we earn, you take back 30 rupees. My company pays me salary and government takes tax before I even see my pay. Yaar ye kya baat hui. For my services to the nation I earned a pension. You cut tax from my pension too. If I save and make an FD you don’t spare it either. I invest in stocks; you take the devil’s cut from it also. Catch 22 for me.

I pay GST on a sliding scale which goes up to 28 percent. So out of my 70 rupees left with me after 30 percent is cut, you snatch 28 more, so effectively I am left with 42 rupees. Overall what message does it convey that more you earn more tax you pay, right. Who will set out this definition of “more”? I don’t know.

I think let us forget about saving and shaving both. Enjoy what you get; blow it off today, tomorrow one doesn’t know what all will be taxed. I like this term “Cess” which pops up every now and then. If they find that the tax collection is lesser than expected, they levy a cess on it. Wah bhai wah, tax bhi lo aur cess bhi. Paisa bachao to tax, kharcha karo to tax, karo to kya karo.

On the eve of the budget I and my neighbours got together in our lawn to watch the lunar eclipse and there was an eerie kind of discussion on the budget. The gist of it was to hell with the budget let’s admire the moonshine. I was lucky, I was in office yesterday so missed out on the FMs bhashan. I was also lucky to have gone to attend the Raising day of the Indian Coast Guards in the evening and missed out on the discussions on the subject. Swear I am feeling relieved. As I don’t know what FM said and now I am not interested in what he meant.

I can understand FM saab, it is a tough job. You can’t keep everyone happy. To visualise it across the length and breadth of the country considering India’s diversity, must be a herculean task. I am also convinced that to dole out a financial system which will help this country grow needs a visionary with a third eye and a million brains. I also am convinced that one has to take risks and experiment. What might work, what may not, will only be seen in times to come? I fully understand that FM saab you also need votes in the next elections.

My wait for the next budget has already started. Let me assure you sir, just raise the tax slabs by five lakhs which is less than five thousand a month, more than 75 % of the salaried class will vote for you and dare I say you shift the slab by another five you shall have all of us in your kitty. Will the common man be “bambooed” too much this year? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

DREAMING OF BUDGET 2019

As budget is approaching I am getting a little excited. At least this year I hope to add a few bucks to my savings without the government poking its nose and sniffing out every rupee I save. Not that a single pai is hidden from them. Everything is in their knowledge and everything is taxed, my pay, my pension, my FDs, even my arrears too have been “axed” at source. I actually get a little sceptic when I do not see achhe din (AD) on the horizon even after being taxed so heavily.

Definition of AD will vary from person to person. A farmer will give you a very different story; a soldier will tell you his version. For an industrialist it is the EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation) or whatever that means, for me is what have I saved at the end of the month after paying all undy-fundy taxes and EMIs.

I, the common man needed a roof on my head that meant I take a home loan that meant I live from EMI to EMI. The bank is charging me exorbitant interest. After having paid my loan for ten years now I still find I have yet not paid the full interest back. By when will I pay the principal amount, intrigues me?

Just in case I kicked the bucket the banks insisted that you insure every EMI. I did that at a premium. Then one fine day the bank approached me that the interest rates have reduced will you be interested in changing your plan. My face lit up and I fell for it and I paid a premium again. When I checked the bank’s website recently it still doesn’t say that the tenure of your loan has been reduced. I spoke to my inner self and decided to just stay happy. At least I have a roof on my head.

The story doesn’t end here as I stay far away from my home. I pay society & maintenance charges every month. If I miss out they charge me interest. Besides they have installed an electricity meter recently, though I have yet not fitted a single light bulb but have to pay the electricity bill with a penalty. I think I will have to live with it.

The situation today is that during the good old days gol-guppa’s were ten to a rupee which is exactly the opposite today. I wish the value of my money too would have sky rocketed the same way. The only saving grace is that our thelawala doesn’t charge GST but go to a restaurant you have no choice but to pay for the sake of your country.

This is a crucial year for the government so I also expect it to be a popular budget. After all it is a question of our votes for elections 2019. I can be rest assured there would be some more taxes. I am hopeful though I should get some relief on the direct taxes that I pay. Some slabs will be tampered with, some good English will be spoken in the parliament, some boo-booing will happen and the budget will be passed. Rest of the sessions will be drowned in the usual hungama that happens. Common mans “uncommon representative” would do a “peaceful but boisterous” protest. Parliamentary proceedings will be disrupted. Sessions will be adjourned in the garb of democratic rights by loud sloganeering and walking out to have their hot cuppa tea, can’t expect much from them.

Cigarette smokers will stock up fags as they know particular brands will be in short supply. The pan wala will ensure more than adequate stocks are available including home delivery but at a premium. Same will be the case with wine shops. Everybody knows that these are two items will be taxed to the hilt. Will it reduce the number of smokers and drinkers is a different matter altogether?

Somehow, the common man is the biggest stake holder in the unorganised sector as per the PM. From a labourer to a fisherman, to a helper in a garment shop, to an outsourced housekeeper everyone has big hopes from the government. The industrialist, the entrepreneur, the auto wala to a bus river to a brick klin worker all want to live well, all want to educate their children, all want safe drinking water and good health services above all they all want to save a little for the marriage of their children, if not the rainy day.

If DAVOS will help I have no issues, if BHRAMOS will help I have no issues either but if every Indian has to vote for a “false promise” of achhe din then I have an issue. If communal politics will be the foundation of our democracy then I have an issue as well? Will someone clarify? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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