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Urban India gives a thumbs-up

An opinion poll done in four metros finds people cheering and feeling richer after the Budget's release. A report by Yashwant Raj.Graphics
Hindustan Times | By Yashwant Raj, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2008 02:16 AM IST

An opinion poll done in four metros finds people cheering and feeling richer.

The Sensex didn’t play fair. But don’t worry, Mr Finance Minister. There is a massive chunk of Indians who cheered quietly, away from TV cameras, away from the spotlight. And they are the urban Indians.

A four-metro poll done for the Hindustan Times by C fore immediately after P Chidambaram was through presenting the budget showed a massive bank of support for him in these cities. An unbeatable 76 per cent of those polled found the budget excellent or good; 17 per cent said it was bad or poor and the rest seven per cent were confused – they couldn’t tell.

In all 527 people were interviewed in four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. These were people who could and did follow the budget and were all taxpayers.

So they know what they are talking about and were responding as people directly affected by Chidambaram’s budget proposals, and not theoreticians or talking heads tackling windmills.

Compare this resounding approval with the dismal showing on the markets —Sensex stayed in the red right through the finance minister’s presentation, wobbling a lot but never quite breaking through. These respondents were not those swayed by some of the talking heads, who, to be fair, also gave the budget a high approval rating – Kotak Mahindra’s Uday Kotak, HDFC’s Deepak Parekh and RBI’s Rakesh Mohan.

Sixty-six per cent of the respondents were very clear that the budget left them feeling richer – quite possible, if you do the income tax calculations and factored in the impact of excise duty cuts. And this is despite the fact that a majority of them felt that this was a political budget, designed to get the ruling coalition votes in an election year – but a massive 48 per cent differed, saying it was as much about economics.

Mr Chidambaram, you finally got lucky with Urban India.

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