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from India Insight:

Budget speeches in India: it’s how you say it

The annual budget is a big event in India, but ministers' speeches on the budget can be mighty boring. From Shakespeare to Bollywood, ministers have used all kinds of popular and esoteric sources to make their points. Whether that has helped is up to you. Here are a few examples from recent years:

President Pranab Mukherjee is a veteran Congress politician and has presented four budgets. His favourite authority to quote was Kautilya, the great Indian pioneer of economics and politics who was prime minister in the court of King Chandragupta Maurya in the fourth century BC. Mukherjee quoted Kautilya in his first budget speech in 1984 and as recently as in 2010.

Thus, a wise Collector General shall conduct the work of revenue collection ... in a manner that production and consumption should not be injuriously affected ... financial prosperity depends on public prosperity, abundance of harvest and prosperity of commerce among other things

He invoked Lord Indra, the Hindu rain god, and prayed to the goddess of wealth Lakshmi in 2011:

from India Insight:

A look at India’s last five annual budgets

The countdown has begun for the biggest business and economic event of the year, the release of India's annual budget at the end of February, and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has a tough job on his hands. With general elections a year away, he must please voters, boost growth and control deficits.

In the last five years, the finance minister has always relaxed income tax slabs -- by either increasing the basic exemption limit or widening the tax slabs. As far as markets go, the 2009 budget day was the worst for stocks as the index fell around 950 points during trade. However, the focus has always been on the government's fiscal deficit targets, which have hovered around the 5 percent mark in recent years.

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