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'Budget promises are hardly ever kept'

Malini Kumar, 36, a filmmaker, says: "I feel that the Budget presentation has an important place in a democracy like India. In fact Budget allocations are done even in those countries which do not have a democratic set up. Presentation of the Budget reflects the growth of a nation and hence it is important to go through this exercise every year.

Frankly I do not have much expectations from the Budget because people like us hope and pray that the prices do not rise to such an extent that it throws your financial management out of gear. But that is what happens every year. Prices of petrol, LPG, electricity go up and we end up paying fat bills.

Once the elections are over, the political parties -- no matter who is in power -- do not care about the promises they had made to the people. They come up with one thousand excuses for not keeping up their promises.

I do not think that anyone plans expenses after waiting for the Budget. There are things that you must do and you cannot wait for the presentation of the Budget. The people are crushed between the Budget of the Union government and the other by the state government. If you escape one then you are bound to get caught by the second.

P Chidambaram is a good politician and did very well when he was the finance minister few years back. I hope he would live upto the expectations of the people and give us a tax-free Budget at least for the middle class people. I would rate him 8 on the scale of 10 as the finance minister of India.

If I were the finance minister the only thing that I would like to see and ensure that the costs of the essential commodities do not rise and if there is an increase it is so marginal that middle class does not feel that it is being burdened with taxes.

- As told to Onkar Singh

Photograph: Vijender Tyagi

Budget 2004-05: Complete Coverage

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