So another vital week is winding down. Sadly the World Cup is coming to an end. (What will we now do at 1.30 am?) And Arun Jaitley’s new budget ‘promises’ to give us some acche din. My friends, four things are abundantly clear to me.
Illustration / Amit Bandre
1. Messi is more popular than MS Dhoni
2. FIFA is the new IPL
3. Neymar wins hands down over N Srinivasan as a popular choice for BCCI chief
4. Union budgets continue to be unfair to the super rich.
The first three points you can’t disagree with, right? So let me try and explain point 4 before you argue aggressively.
The media and finance experts seem to suggest that this budget suits the middle classes the most.
(No government has ever cared for the poor, so let’s not go there). Let’s focus on this major neglected segment — the super rich
So tough being moneyed today. This year, they’ve had one setback after another. First, liberalisation policies allowed for foreign cars to be imported into the country. But the customs duties levied on them are prohibitive. Most of them are forced to scale down from a Jaguar to a BMW. I mean, is this fair?
Then, when the driver wants to speed and happens to cause some civic damage, you blame him. I blame infrastructure. Build wider roads, I say.
And to top it all, you charge unreasonably high service tax on them. VAT the hell?
Then, when the poor rich try and transfer some loose change to Swiss bank accounts, you send snoops after them. Surely, a Swiss Bank account is equivalent to the middle-class man’s mutual fund?
There are more difficulties — when the jet-setting minorities have requested for a miniscule strip of the racecourse to land their choppers, they have been refused. It would just mean displacing a few joggers and some horses. Surely, the budget should account for helipads for the affluent.
Man, the dollar, the pound, the euro, the Turkish Lire are all rising.
How do you expect them to have a decent holiday? Airline fares have gone through the roof, so if the poor super rich traveller wants go to South America, you make him cut Argentina out of the itinerary.
More so, with the astronomical business fare hikes, how will he take his maid along to take care of the bacchas?
Jaitley saab, there are some things that should never change in the country. And that is the rich getting richer. It just changes status quo. I mean, how many reforms can one accept in a lifetime?
Next, you’ll create measures to abolish bribery and corruption! What would happen to our economy? It’s a scary thought. It’s like Brazil without Neymar. We all saw what happened there.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.
Photos: Shah Rukh Khan, Shweta Bachchan at Karan Johar's book launch
Photos: Sunny Deol with sons Karan and Rajvir at Mumbai airport
Photos: 10 beautiful moments that capture winter around the world
Photos: Karisma Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Shraddha Kapoor at Mumbai airport
Spotted: Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh at Mumbai studio