Rural Residents and Tennis Fans Reap a Bumper Crop of Pre-Poll Sops
Digitisation is seen as being the best way of showing tax evaders and hoarders of black money the sarkari oongli, in more ways than one
In what could be described as an athletic poll-vault, finance minister Arun Jaitley presented a Budget with ayes firmly fixed on the ballot boxes, particularly those located in the boonies, which witnessed much rejoicing at the largesse doled out to them.
The various rural uplift schemes announced by the FM were applauded far and wide from those who deemed themselves beneficiaries of these pi-in-the-sky programmes. These included the inhabitants of a village called Greenwich, located in the talukdar of Lower Manhattan.
As one local put it, “Though the guy didn’t specifically mention us, I guess we’re entitled under the Universal Basic Income wheeze, since Universal by definition includes us, as does the Basic necessity of having an Income.”
Meanwhile, the Tennis Association of India heaved a heartfelt sigh of relief. As a spokesperson for the organisation said, “This talk about raising the tax on services really had us worried. I mean, it’s the thin edge of the wedge, isn’t it?
“You tax services, and before anyone knows it, you’ll start taxing forehands, backhands, volleys and lobs too. Then where’d we all be? Certainly not at Wimbledon, or Flushing Meadows, for that matter. Fortunately, sanity — or Saniaty — has prevailed and services are not to be penalised.”
The affiliates of the Indian Tennis Association, the Badminton Board of India, and the Squash Sammelan of India, also voiced their approval of an FM who had taken note of the fact that not all rackets are anti-social activities that needed to be busted.
However, the FM didn’t provide fun and games for all. While animal rights activists exulted at what was obviously an endorsement of their views, proponents of Jallikattu were chagrined at the FM’s decision not to put a dampener on the stock markets by imposing further taxes on them.
“He’s obviously not a sports lover, for he’s done nothing whatsoever to tame the bulls, who’ll have a field day romping about with no one and nothing to restrain them. What a wimp!” said a Jallikattu fan, on condition of anonymity, adding that this was yet another instance of the North-South divide, with northerners of the Hindi heartland lording it over southerners and their age-old culture, customs and practices.
The corporate world of India Inc remained underwhelmed by the finance minister’s avoidance of a core issue of concern. As the CEO of a company (name withheld at own request) commented, “He’s ensured that we continue to have what IT tax by not cutting the rate of corporate imposts to 25%.”
However, the proposal to dismantle the Foreign Investment Promotion Bored was greeted with enthusiasm by the corporate sector. “By doing this, the FM has removed a major factor that was keeping foreign investors completely disinterested in upping their ante in India,” said a market analyst who did not wish to be identified.
Revenue officers in charge of indirect taxes were also upbeat that little mention was made of goods and services tax (GST), a measure which would marginalise them. “GST? VAT nonsense! It’s a total excise in futility,” said a spokesperson who asked not to be named.
The push towards a fully digitised India was also warmly received by all those involved in revenue collection. Digitisation is seen as being the best way of showing tax evaders and hoarders of black money the sarkari oongli, in more ways than one.
An ace Budget, sort of