Rohan Dua spoke to people on the streets of New Delhi as Pranab Mukherjee tabled the 2010/11 Budget in parliament –
For the first time in parliamentary history, the entire opposition led by the BJP walked out during the Finance Minister’s budget speech.
The walkout was to protest against the hike in petrol prices.
The opposition is saying the government move adds to the burden of the people.
However, the united front put by the fractious opposition also hints at some pre-planning by the opposition leaders.
Was this reaction justified?
Shouldn’t the parliamentarians have stayed back and argued the point in the House?
When the finance minister presents the budget, the stock market moves one way or the other.
And like every year this will dominate the news.
Over there and everywhere.
Is that fair? Or convincing?
Some of the analysis will follow a pattern.
If the stock market goes up, the budget may be described as successful because it didn’t “rock the boat”.
If it moves sideways, it may be said the market had already absorbed the good news — the growth figures for instance.
A railway budget separate from the general budget started in 1924 because the railways then formed more than a third of the budget.
A dedicated budget for railways was called for.
However the pattern of government’s finances has changed and the railways despite the impressive statistics - 63,327-kilometre network, 18 million passengers, two million tons of freight – is less important.
Although being the largest state-run enterprise, the immense power of patronage it embodies makes it politically very lucrative.