The Budget demystified

Mar 02, 2013, 08:46 IST | Rohan Joshi

Your budget queries answered. Jargon-free. (Mostly because I don't understand that stuff)

Rohan JoshiThe Union Budget was announced this week, and like all budgets, it raises many questions, like “What about taxes?” and “Will inflation go up?” and “Where can I get the drugs that make Meira Kumar look so blissed out?”

Usually, budget analysis is a mix of jargon, confusion and a sense of wonder about the sheer size of Udayan Mukherjee’s head. But I’d like to cut through the hype to demystify things for you, so let’s begin:

Who presents the Budget?
The Union Budget is usually presented by the Finance Minister at a high-profile event in the last week of February. This year, the honours were done by Seth MacFarlane, creator of the popular animated series, Family Guy. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t as bad as previous hosts like James Franco and Pranab Mukherjee.

P Chidambaram
Why does the Finance Minister pose with a suitcase before the budget? Pic/AFP

What is the purpose of the Budget?
The budget serves an extremely important purpose; it gives newspapers the chance to show their ‘creativity’ in assorted front-page spreads which feature
P Chidambaram in a series of garish, ugly caricatures including the Gangnam Style, James Bond, and P Chidambaram.

Why does the Finance Minister pose with a suitcase before the budget?
Because Prem Chopra has kidnapped his daughter, and he has to stop off in 1974 to pay the ransom before going to the Parliament to read the budget off his iPad.

What does the P in P Chidambaram stand for?
Palaniappan, which is Tamil for “Looks suspiciously like Stewie Griffin”

People tell me that this was an ‘Election Budget’. What is that?
An ‘Election Budget’ is the money a Chinese man puts aside for Viagra.

Dude. Seriously?
Sorry. An ‘Election budget’ refers to the budget presented in the year just before elections. It’s a softer, please-all, rock-no-boats sort of budget, with an eye to not annoying voters before the 2014 General Elections.

Wait, we have elections next year? What are my choices?
Yes, we do. And in all probability, you’re going to have to choose between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.

My choices are poop and vomit? Who should I choose?

How will this budget affect my life at home?
If you want a new set-top box, it just got more expensive. If you want new marble floor-tiles, they just got more expensive. If you want a new cellphone, it just got more expensive. And if you want a new imported SUV, you’ve clearly never heard of global warming.

Did the budget have a massive impact on the stock market?
Yes. The stock market was less than impressed with the budget, and the Sensex, which is the key indicator of Gujarati blood pressure, dropped 291 points.

Wow, 291 points? Why?
Partly because the budget was bearish about growth in India, and partly because the FM announced a 10 per cent surcharge on individuals who have a declared income of over Rs 1 crore. Companies that earn over Rs 10 crore will also have to pay a 10 per cent surcharge.

What’s a “surcharge”?
A charge that was knighted for its service to queen and country, of course. Don’t be an idiot. Wait. According to the Finance Ministers’ speech, only 42,000 people in India claimed to have a declared income of more than Rs 1 crore. Wouldn’t adding a tax surcharge to that make even less people willing to declare their income? So isn’t that counter-productive and daft? 

Do you want me to set Kapil Sibal on you?
I mean, WOW, WHAT A MIRACLE IDEA! P CHIDDY IS BEST! That’s what I thought.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on

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