Dear fellow Moneycontrollers,
I understand life has been rather unbudgetary for most of us in this pandemic. Hence, we feel the need to control our money because of falling household incomes. But the people who control the money have let money run out of control. So we are all staring at inflation. Inflation means things that were cheap earlier have become more expensive. Luckily for Moneycontrol, this columnist has not accounted for inflation in the cost per word.
As per an article in an online publication, “Almost a week before the Union Budget 2022-23, expectations are high. Experts say it is especially because there have not been too many reliefs for the common tax-payer in the last 2 years.”
This is true. The only relief has been the new income tax portal. But enough about Info Seas. Which seems all at sea in recent times. Just like the goods stuck at various ports around the world. But that logjam should hopefully clear before your Income Tax Refund.
There are expectations that investment deductions under 80C will be raised from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh and 80D for medical insurance from Rs 25,000. To make up for the revenue forgone under this account, I propose a surcharge under section 80-3 on anyone who continues to commercially exploit India’s World Cup victory in 1983.
It is natural that people expect relief and support from the government in times of high medical expenses. Mainly on therapists. But one can expect increased allocation on healthcare to combat the 3rd wave of Tiktok videos on the 3rd wave. To make up for this additional spend on mental health, I propose a surcharge on anyone who calls himself content creator, influencer, finfluencer or crypto bro. And a surcharge on the surcharge if their video starts with “Hi Friends, aaj hum baat karenge…” Waiting for a finfluencer to tell the Nasdaq Chairman: “Sir, opening bell toh theek hai lekin bell icon dabana naa bhoolein.”
People are also hoping for the deduction on interest from home loans to be increased. Because if you are going to be stuck at home, what could be better than to add a home loan EMI to your mental health? To make up for the revenue forgone on this account, I propose a surcharge on all builders who put names of Greek Gods on buildings in Versova. And a surcharge on the surcharge on all builders who had the audacity to come up with the term “New Cuffe Parade” for Wadala.
Everyone is saying we need to boost disposable income. Frankly at this point, the personal finances are so bad, I consider myself to be more disposable than my income.
But we hope the government will be spending on infrastructure and put in place a monetization pipeline for national assets. With the sale of Air India, at least we have managed to get rid of a demonetization pipeline. But enough about BPCL’s stalled disinvestment. Perhaps the problem is the term disinvestment. The government seems to be utterly disinterested in disinvesting itself of its interests. So let’s all look forward to the LIC IPO.
Let us acknowledge this government has become much more transparent about off-budgetary items. All the damage is now transparently shown in the budget itself. Especially the projections for receipts from disinvestment which are usually only off by 98-99%. Hopefully with that score, at least the finance minister can get admission in Delhi University.
Let’s be honest. Regular readers of Moneycontrol have seen more variants of equity analysts than Covid-19. And just when you think this variant has seen its last, it gets revived by a booster dose.
But the way things are going, even equity analysts may be clamouring for the Urban Job Guarantee scheme followed by the staggering success of its rural version. Okay, maybe they have been more successful at the staggering part.
But Telangana's Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development K.T. Rama Rao has urged the Union government to introduce a MGNREGS-like scheme for urban poor to strengthen social security measures in urban areas. The urban poor here are people who have to use Ola Share even in a rickshaw and hope to order a vada pav in Starbucks. Except they would not want the barista to call out their name so everyone knows their urban poverty. Which means urban poor is a lot about the anxiety around your social credit rating. Nobody wants to be seen as below investment grade by society, or your Tinder match.
This year, unlike other years, there won't be a halwa ceremony as the Budget document doesn't get printed. Our FM is not like the boss who asks you to get a print-out of a linked 27-sheet excel file. And down with Marie Antoinette, who once said “If they can’t afford bread due to inflation, let them eat Halwa.”
Now, I would like to add more words to this article so I can better manage my own fiscal deficit. But unfortunately, editorial control of my money is in the hands of Moneycontrol. Hence, I hope, you will allow me this last extra paragraph so this year, I can at least afford Halwa.