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08 January 2017

Budget Conundrum...

"Should the Budget be presented on Feb 1?", I asked MEMEHIF.
Remember MEMEHIF? I had introduced him to you sometime ago as My Engineer MBA Educated Highly Intelligent Friend. He has views on everything, this friend of mine.
Since this is the issue that seem to be bothering the country now, I wanted to know what he thought about this.
"No, of course not", MEMEHIF was quick and emphatic in his reply, "Government has unleashed demonetization on the country and we are going through a pain. With elections in key states coming up, a budget just before elections will only give this government an opportunity to announce some soaps to the electorates in these states that will tilt the election in their favour. After all Pranabda postponed the Budget in 2012 when elections were announced in UP."
"But people say that at that time India was going through some crisis and postponement of budget helped government avoid some tough decisions prior to the elections. That is not the case now. Economy is growing. At this time postponing the budget means other parts of the country will have to wait for UP Elections to be over. That is not fair on the country", I pointed out.
"But BJP had asked for postponement of the budget then?", MEMEHIF pointed out.
"Are you saying that any time state elections are announced, the budget should be postponed?", I asked
"Yes, of course. Budget gives an unnecessary advantage to the party in power", replied MEMEHIF.
"This is a vast country. At any point in time there will be elections to some states or other. Which means that some of the Central Governmental actions will always be at the mercy of some state elections.". I said
"So what?", replied MEMEHIF, "Heaven will not fall if budget is postponed. Haven't we managed for 70 years now?", he responded
"I think that you are making a case for combined election. Let us have State and Central elections together. That way we can avoid the confusion and constitutional crises. Are you saying that?"
"No, no, no, no....", MEMEHIF's reply was quick and vehement, "I am not saying that. Don't put words into my mouth. Single election to the state and centre will only give absolute power to the party in power. That is not a good thing. We need the checks and balances that we are having now"
"Let me understand this. On the one hand you are saying that Budget should not be presented since state elections are announced. You are ok with the ensuing crisis and the obvious lack of fairness of that action on the rest of the country. On the other hand, you are rejecting the obvious solution to the issue, vis. having a single election to both Centre and State Governments. Am I correct?", I asked
"Yes, I guess you are", replied a sheepish MEMEHIF
P is for Paradox...

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