Yeah so, even as Budget 2020 is waiting to be ripped apart mostly for what it’s projections for the year ahead are, I am worried how little we care about the past when it comes to the budget.
Hey, what exactly is budget anyway? Just a simple record of what the government earned and spent in the previous financial year and what the government intends to in the next financial year. But you would realise how much drama this whole operation entails, and how many hours you will spend just listening to the finance minister read out from the budget document. And you will also realise how much we talk about what’s going to happen in the next financial year, and not what really happened in the past year.
Now, like a budding economic historian, that worries me. We fuss so little over the past and so much more about the future. Right, we should all worry about the future but shouldn’t past be a matter of debate too? Wouldn’t the governments spends and earns tell us where exactly the economy stands, better than some vague assumptions about future? Don’t ask me how the projections have gone grown weirder over the last few months, but projections and assumptions are like notional money, while the past is the penny in your hand – the only concrete fact in your hand – take it or leave it, but you won’t be richer without the past.
Now, the Budget my dear – I will suggest you read today’s edition of this fabulous and my favourite always newsletter on all news and analysis from India – Nutgraf – to ponder over everything that’s wrong with the obsession with the Budget, for perspective. I can’t find the link to share, I subscribe to it via email, but a newsletter must have sharing link, IMHO.
But even the past can be questionable in India, as the Economic Survey released yesterday is anything to go by. Refer to this Twitter thread where economist Vivek Kaul explains this rather succinctly –