Spelling out the Budget – where highlights of the finance bill live up to FM’s name


There are 16 letters in Nirmala Sitharaman’s name. Among her predecessors, they are matched by TT Krishnamachari, but pipped by the likes of RK Shanmukham Chetty, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, the two Chavans, Yashwantrao B and Shankarrao B, and Sachindra Chaudhuri. One may note that Our Lady of the Hour has five ‘a’s in her full name. Would that make her the top A-Lister, since the Maha Mantri boasts merely two, as does his partner in the ruling Gujugalbandhi?  Nah, let’s not go by this since Madam FM may have twice the number of ‘i’s, but we all know who has twice the ego. Instead, let us see how the letters, ‘N-i-r-m-a-l-a-S-i-t-h-a-r-a-m-a-n’, uncannily encompass the main points of Budget  2021-22.

Newness, for which this edition has been much rah-rahed. It is also a ‘Nifty job’ as one expert cleverly called it. Nationalisation has been given the danda, even if Nationalism is BJP’s most-waved jhanda.

Infrastructure is one of this Budget’s two main pillars. The building block of progress, a fiscal multiplier, a jobs-provider – and, most of all, an election winner.

Radical reforms, long overdue. They will rev up Recovery/ Revival/ Resurgence.

Modi guides our FM’s hand, so it’s lucky that she has this letter in her first name as well as surname. It also stands for Mutual Funds, a Budget must-mention. Courtesy this one, avoid them like coronavirus if you are a 75+ pensioner and want to avail of her kind waiver on filing IT returns.

AtmanirbharBharatKaBudget was Almighty Amitbhai’s tweet #. Btw, in a doff to our slaying of the pandemic with the sword of self-reliance, ‘Atmanirbhar’ has just been anointed the OED’s Hindi Word of the Year.

Local is same to same as this maha-shabd, so all output of this provenance has been deemed worthy of Nirmala-ji’s largesse. The letter also stands for Loans: the proposed Development Finance Institution has a target of lending a whopper Rs 5 lakh crore in three years.

Allocations are the dal-chawal of any budget.

Spender, Madam has finally been that, Big-time. Her liberation from financial prudery aroused the Sensex and Start-ups alike.

Insurance will lose its PSU cover. Immunisation won Rs 35,000 crore.

Taboos have been broken so as to Turbo-charge the economy. ‘T’ is also for Taxes, the puri-tarkari of all budgets. This time – surprise, surprise! – there’s Transparency, which takes us to…

Honesty. No Hera-pheri on subsidies, no fiscal sleight of hand. Hurrah! Healthcare is the Budget’s second pillar; sadly, it took a pandemic to lift it out of long-neglected shallows to flood-tide.

Asset-monetisaton prioritised. Air quality indexed.

Realty cheque given. So too a Rescue plan for Railways.

APMCs stocked up as a sop for aggroculturists. Also an Agriculture cess. But apparently there’s minimum support for prices in Madam FM’s Bill.

Markets sang the loudest ‘Happy B day’ in 22 years; Sensex shot up by 5%, Nifty by 4.7%.

Ah, the Audacity of this Budget.

Nutrition got a dietary supplement via Poshan 2.0.

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Alec Smart said: “Is the Burmese coup a Myan-mari of the (Ran)goons?”

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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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