Budget and my family…

Budget and my family

On 28th February 2011, I sat glued before my TV set, waiting for the goodies from FM’s bag. As a retired person of 62, I had hoped, he would bring down the age for senior citizen as per IT Act from 65 to 60. He did. I was happy. I had also hoped for increase in TDS limit for fixed deposits parked in banks from the present measly Rs.10,000/- to at least Rs.50,000/-. He didn’t. I was not happy. Thus, ultimately, he made me 50% happy. I also felt let down by the meat-less bone he threw at me-an aam aadmi or a common dog- by way of raising income tax exemption limit from Rs.1.60 lacs to Rs.1.80 lacs. Yet, I reconciled myself by saying that something was better than nothing. Seeing me smile, my IT savvy son said: “Pop, it’s all gas. Let the fizz settle down. See the fine print in the papers tomorrow morning.” 

On 1st March 2011, with Shakespearean “Beware of the ides of March” quote echoing in my mind, I glanced at the head lines. “Good on intent, short on delivery”, ”Balance between growth and prudence”, “FM’s head and heart both are in the right place”, “Tie between deficit and growth”, “High on promises, no remedies”, “Not a pocket friendly budget”, “Nothing khaas for the aam aadmi”. Each news-paper had a different head line but the story was the same. Picking up a magnifying glass, I patiently went through the fine print. This is what I found: 

“Sanitary napkins/diapers-excise duty reduced from 10% to 1% “

Well, these will become cheaper for the users. Unluckily, I am not a user so far! The elderly (80 plus) who have bladder control problems, can stock a few packs of diapers for their “rainy days” (read bed-wetting days), for may be, next year, the next FM may roll back ED again to 10%, if he has no users in this category in his home. One good point about napkins-even your maid servant Kantabai, can be educated now to switch over to hygienic options. 

“Branded jewellery – 1% ED added”.

I don’t know about Pranab da’s wife, but my better half loves branded jewellery. She brands me a not-so-romantic a person if I don’t buy a new branded pendant on our anniversary for her to pamper her penchant for such items. However, with gold  prices having gone up, 1% doesn’t matter enough to bring the craze down. 

“Branded garments- 10 % ED added”.

The garment manufacturers have since gone on a day’s strike but I feel he will not roll it back. FM perhaps doesn’t wear branded garments, so he seems to be jealous of those who wear them (natural human tendency). My son loves branded garments. I don’t, because one size doesn’t fit all. Invariably, a ready made trouser needs to be got altered at the seat or at the feet. Switching over to the good old friendly neighbour hood “tailor-masterji / darzi, would be a better strategy to save some bucks. Moreover, the darzi, makes garments as per your measurements (and earns a livelihood, too). 

“Hospital services will become expensive, specially the air-conditioned ones.”

Hospitals should now go for cheaper rooms with antique “coolie-pankhas” of those good old days, when a large sized fan made from palm tree leaves was hung from the ceiling and a person kept on pulling a string to work it to and fro. I am sure it will be a novelty for the new young generation. 

“Food-mixes, ketchups, R-T-E foods – 1 % ED added”.

These items are now branded as convenience foods, which have really made women’s lives easier. No cutting, chopping, grinding, mixing etc. If the duty loaded now makes them beyond your reach, try switching over to ancient methods of using mixers, mortar and pestle or grinding stone. I loved my late dad who was an expert at making tasty green chutney manually, using what was popularly then called “langri sota” – a must in all Punjabi homes. It was a good exercise too for my dad. Now, such ancient equipments are probably fit to be “museum pieces”. 

“Service-tax now to be levied on coaching classes.”

This is really a good revenue generating measure for the Government. With such centres mushrooming literally in every gully / mohalla, of our cities and towns, with hardly any consideration for quality education or faculty, I think only those centres will survive which are serious about their objectives. Coaching centre owners haven’t yet aired their views on this levy or downed their shutters for a day in protest, since in all probability, the poor students / their parents will have to pay higher fees to cover up the levy! Thankfully, at this age, I have no family members to attend such classes. By the way, at my age, I have to re-learn so many things in life and my wife and children give me free classes, so the FM’s move  doesn’t affect me! 

I will now take a break, with a brand of my favourite snack, whose name rhymes with Tit-Tat. I think the FM has spared such snacks from taxes, for the present. Having spent so much time with the magnifying glass, in this back breaking scrutiny of fine print, you will agree that break tau banta hai ! No ? Certainly !

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10 Responses to Budget and my family…

  1. Raj Nandy says:

    A nice hilarious write Broca ji ! The bank had already cut my income tax (TDS) even before the Budget got announced ! So have to wait for next year ! The cooking gas is expected to rise by Rs20-25/- wef from April ! Petrol has already risen !Gold has become only a dream , – like the Golden Age of king Asoka or Chandraguta !The Govt has not done anything to reign in the ‘black money’ to generate revenue ! So the’Am admi’ has to face everything ! Thanks !

    Raj Nandy , New Delhi
    Mar 11, 2011

  2. mamta agarwal says:

    Jatinder ji, You are wise to read the fine print, and make my task easy. I still have the papers safely stored to read one fine day.

    These measely condescending exemptions are really like gentle slap on our face. Now sanitary napkins should attract no duty; it’s a necessity.
    thanks, a good laugh before retiring at night is jusy what the doctor ordered.

  3. Alpha Beta Gama says:

    Dear Mr Broca, I loved and really enjoyed your take on the budget. I had warned you earlier too that readers on this forum don’t care for such light hearted stuff but then you didn’t listen to me. See the results? No responses after one Mr Raj’s. I will keep visiting this site and be your guardian/guiding angel sort of ! Hey ! Hey !!

    (You are wrong, Alpha Beta Gama. Many humorous articles, poems, sanryu get very good comments and people enjoy reading them – Editor)

    Alpha Beta Gama, Timbuctoo
    Mar 11, 2011

  4. J S Broca says:

    Dear Alphabetagamma (whosoever you are),thanks for your discerning views.The Editor has suitably clarified to your observations.Writers/poets do their job of expressing their views creatively in their own ways mainly for giving a vent to their thought processes-whether readers respond-favourably,un-favourably or not at all to their views, is not their main concern.Loved your “chchupa rustom” style,though ! A nice mystery about your identity !!

    J S BROCA, New Delhi
    Mar 12, 2011

  5. manmeet chaddha says:

    Broca Sir, a nice dig at the FM’s budget .I did not get the time to go through the details, but reading your humourous opinion, gave me a fair idea of the same. Enjoyed !

    Manmeet Chaddha, Chandigarh
    Mar 12, 2011

  6. Radhika says:

    Respected Broca Sir, another funny one from your store house of smileys ! Loved your exposure on the fine prints of the budget with examples from your own family! A nice read! Thanks a lot for making my day start with a huge grin like that cat who lapped up all the cream ! M…e…o…w…!!

    Radhika Sabharwal, Faridabad
    Mar 13, 2011

  7. Raj Nandy says:

    Broca ji, our ‘Museindia’ Editor should not post remarks if the person concerned donot provide correct name, place and identity! In fact, that is what I was given to understand when I joined this site initially! Person giving name as ‘Alpabeta’ and ‘Timbuctoo’ as address should not be entertained! In fact this is the request I would like to make to our Editor! In fact the person using ‘Timbuctoo’ as an address may not be knowing that this place is located in the African nation of Mali near the Niger River, once a thriving trading city of the 14th century! Best wishes and happy writing,

    Raj Nandy , New Delhi
    Mar 13, 2011

  8. J S Broca says:

    Dear Raj,Manmeet,Radhika and Alphabetagama (whosoever you are)-thanks a lot to you all for taking out time to read this opinion and favouring me with your valuable comments and insights.

    j s broca
    new delhi

  9. seshu chamarty says:

    That was hilarious, Broca. Thanks for sharing. Your take on (taking on? J ) the recent Union Budget is laced with humor and sarcasm in right doses. Kudos.

    Seshu Chamarty, Hyderabad
    Mar 14, 2011

  10. Marina says:

    You really have an interesting blog.keep posting such informative posts!

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