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The Ol’ Sop ’N Sink

The budget permits a voyeuristic pleasure in watching the rich squirm beneath a 10 per cent surcharge.

What can a troubled FM in troubling times deliver? Very little. But within the constraints, P. Chidambaram has been able to shoot for what he could. He’s been brutally honest: “Even a moderate incr­ease in the level of threshold exem­ption will mean that hun­dreds of thou­sands of taxpayers will go out of the tax net and the tax base will be seve­rely eroded.” No revision of tax slabs, no new exemptions. And barring a mere feelgood credit for 18 million tax­pa­yers—up to Rs 2,000 for incomes of Rs 5 lakh—no relief from rising prices, slow growth, high interest rates.

My column in Outlook

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