Budget Bytes: “3 Budget-day ideas the media didn’t push hard enough”
Increasing duty on cigarettes, dealing with retrospective taxation, and promise of prompt decision-making offer a lot of hope for the nation. However, these very issues didn’t get enough focus from the media, says Rohit Bansal
Nobody who smokes will be happy paying more taxes. The beauty of Finance Minister Arun Jaitely’s decision to increase duty on cigarettes and tobacco products is that his revenues will increase too as the smoker will revert to just as much smoking as he did. Only, the family will have lesser money to eat, pray, love!
For me, the move against cigarettes isn’t, therefore, about the additional tax on someone’s family budgets – it's the no-nonsense message that the FM has sent out amidst millions of his voters hooked on to tobacco.
The other good idea today is against retrospective taxation.
India is well served by the FM’s announcement that he’ll keep his right to roll back, but then leaving the matter to a committee, which will address the tricky terrain that Pranab Mukherjee, his grand predecessor, left the country mired in.
India’s reputation is at stake; hope Jaitely’s committee firewalls the country from the vagaries of her individual taxmen.
Finally, the third thing I really like.
This one isn’t even within the text that Jaitley read out in his Budget speech; it’s what the PM did with 77 secretaries to the Government a few weeks back.
As a result of the pep talk, billions of rupees of our tax money are being spent a whole lot better. That’s because decisions are being taken a whole lot faster. Risks are no longer the strict ‘no-no’ that they had become in the last 3-4 years of the UPA Government. The fear of CAG isn’t all pervasive. The ministries are pushing themselves a whole lot more.
So, with a bit of luck, a few promises in the Budget may even become a reality – we can live in hope!
(The columnist works at the intersect of media, strategy and regulation for #RIL. Views are personal. Tweets @therohitbansal).
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