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The budget FAQs

Here goes my interview with a newspaper editor after the Union budget. Manas Chakravarty writes.

india Updated: Mar 05, 2011 22:45 IST

Here goes my interview with a newspaper editor after the Union budget:

Manas Chakravarty: What does the government do with taxes in the budget?

Newspaper editor: It tinkers with them, pockets them and eyes them. Sometimes it gives them a holiday.

MC: What do taxes do?

NE: They pinch, they give a taxing time.

MC: What are the various positives in the budget?

NE: Positive vibes, positive steps, huge positive, long-term positive, positive surprise, positive headway.

MC: Could you explain the last one?

NE: Yes, the opposite would be negative tailway.

MC: Ah. What does the budget draw?

NE: Flak.

MC: And how does it draw?

NE: On expected lines.

MC: Are there any navigational aids in the budget?

NE: Yes. It has road maps, it charts out direction, it draws up a fiscal consolidation path, it is on track, but it could be derailed.

MC: By what?

NE: By a shock.

MC: What kind of shock?

NE: The crude kind.

MC: What did the markets do during the budget?

NE: They zoomed, they lost steam, they vaulted, they were relieved, they cheered, they gyrated, they rebounded, they spiked, they reeled, they yo-yo-ed.

MC: What did the budget numbers do?

NE: They didn't add up and they flattered to deceive.

MC: What kind of reforms do people expect?

NE: Big ticket, sometimes big bang.

MC: Does anything else happen to reforms?

NE: Yes, they are rolled out, rolled back, backpedalled. They also get a leg up.

MC: Where was the finance minister during the budget?

NE: In the saddle.

MC: What was he high on?

NE: Rhetoric.

MC: What happens to duties?

NE: They are hiked or slashed, prices harden or are cushioned, oil prices are hiked, rates get a boost and exports spurt.

MC: What do price hikes do?

NE: They loom.

MC: What do you do to the fiscal deficit?

NE: We rein it in.

MC: Anything else you rein in?

NE: We keep a tight leash on expenditure.

MC: What do subsidies do?

NE: They outgo.

MC: What does the finance minister seek?

NE: Nods.

MC: What else does he do?

NE: He unveils.

MC: What do you raise on budget day?

NE: Doubts. Also red flags.

MC: What kind of potato are reforms?

NE: Political hot potatoes.

MC: What does the finance minister squeeze?

NE: Expenditure. Also margins.

MC: What does the devil do during the budget?

NE: He lurks.

MC: Where does he lurk?

NE: In the fine print.

MC: What happens to growth?

NE: It is bet on, gambled with. Also pushed, driven and powered.

MC: By what?

NE: By the engine of growth.

MC: What does reality do in a budget?

NE: It bites.

MC: How do you gather taxes?

NE: By a net. Sometimes you use a kitty.

MC: Who in industry talks about the budget?

NE: Honchos.

MC: What kind of honchos?

NE: Head honchos.

MC: Any other factors you saw in the budget?

NE: The wow and feel good factors.

MC: What does inflation do?

NE: It spooks us.

MC: What do you take the wind out of?

NE: Inflation.

MC: And lastly, what demon did the budget slay?

NE: The recurring demon of unspent capital funds, according to the Times of India March 1 edition.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed by the author are personal