The following is a personal interpretation of how India’s budget presented by finance minister P Chidambaram could have read:
“The going has been good, honorable speaker madam. The government kitty is flush due to income tax (from the hard working salaried middle class) and indirect taxes (that burden the poor the most) collections.
Thus, we intend to further increase social sector spending via bigger anti-poverty, food security programs aimed at boosting the image of the Congress party among the poor, who it is important continue to remain poor.
This justifies more pro-poor expenditures that actually benefit crooks, middle men, subcontractors, petty bureaucracy and some among us politicians destined to be in power as the voters don’t have much choice.
Western analysts speak about India’s population dividend. This is hogwash. Our government believes in populism dividend.
The anti-poverty schemes sustain our pro-poor image while re-distributing income among our core crooked supporters, thus killing two birds with one-money wasting scheme.
Two decades back 10% of money intended for the poor actually reached the beneficiaries. My aim, honorable speaker madam, is to reduce this figure to 5% over the next year and to 0% over the next five years. We also hope to open one million bogus bank accounts to move cash directly to the beneficiaries.
(Loud thumping of tables by the Congress MPs follows. The BJP MPs furiously text to Narendra Modi on latest development so that his PR machinery can fine tune the Gujarat model to be applied to rest of India. Lalu Yadav stands up to say that he achieved the 0% target as chief minister of Bihar and later as Railway minister. He is motioned to sit down).
The FM nods a smile at Lalu, an ally, and continues: “we believe in backing our aims with hard figures. Statistics with the income tax people highlight our success. Random secret surveys of petty government clerks, referred as babus by some, have revealed robust results.
The number of babus officially earning Rs 6,000 per month but actual Rs 40 million and owning assets 10 times continues to grow at the fastest pace globally, even more than China. My aim is to double the number of such individuals in FY 2013-14. (Thumping of desks by Congress MPs.)
The achievements, I have to re-iterate here, is due to guidance of PM, our chairman and her son who should, as all Congressmen (read not Indians) believe, is future PM of India. There are not too many 40-year-old’s in this country who can guide the world’s biggest democracy so well with zero work experience. (The chairman smiles, so do all other Congressmen on cue, including the PM, who never smiles otherwise)
Madam Speaker, we want to encourage our middle men, clerks and bogus contractors who have mastered the art of implementing employment schemes and road projects that exist only on paper. We are completely self-reliant in this indigenous ingenuity.
We have decided to introduce a special cess (we are calling it the superrich tax to fool the gullible English language media manned by idiots who disappointed their parents by failing to make it to IIT’s, IIM’s, IAS or medical school and vent their frustration on TV). This surcharge will be imposed on the 42,000 honest idiots in India who report their income as more than Rs 10 million.
It will be an incentive for the many many more tax evaders, who earn in multiples of Rs 10 million, to continue to stay away from the tax net.
I must add here, madam speaker, that it is important to back India’s black economy that the TV anchors, who failed every exam, do not understand. It is this money that fuels real estate, the high growing construction sector, stock markets, retail and electronic sales. Imagine what would happen if we moved towards accountability?
The economy will collapse? Wal Mart would refuse to invest in India? The government will cease to exist as nobody would want to become politicians or bureaucrats. The babus of India will disappear. We need to promote the culture of corruption for our collective survival (there is a collective murmur of approval all round, including from the opposition benches.)
This, madam speaker, brings me to the most difficult part — dealing with the irritating middle class who ask too many uncomfortable questions.
Ideally they should have remained poor. Despite best effort by our brave and heavily armed policemen in bashing them to pulp, these unarmed middle class fools keep launching protests against silly issues such as corruption and rape.
We need to teach them a lesson. And, we have done so as our government believes in action. The affluent among the middle class confabulate against the government at air conditioned café shops. This coffee culture is pulling down our under the table growth.
Hence I propose to tax coffee outlets to make simple conversations bitter and difficult. We have already made petrol and diesel unffordable. Combined with our non-existent public transport we hope that the affluent middle classes are stranded for good.
As for the less rich among the middle class, we need to distract them. I propose to make cheap cell phones dirt cheap. The aim of this government is to implement the right to cell phone and cell phone for all Bill that will replace the failed right to education and literacy programs.
This will also win us a new class of voters. We can call them the poor illiterate handset caste. Dalits, minorities and backwards will be eligible for free talk time.
This madam speaker concludes my budget proposals for the year.”