By Manuwant Choudhary
Today I have succeeded where the Indian government has failed for 60 years - providing electricity to my home, my farm.
An ingenious mechanic helped me fix a dynamo to a pump set machine. At first it seemed like trying to make an elephant dance with a mouse but it worked. As water gushed and irrigated my farm I also got electricity. I watched TV this afternoon!
Yet, I am not sitting in a fancy Delhi studio chat show on national TV discussing the didi's and dada's budget because I perhaps do not have a broad smile of Meera Sanyal - the banker - or the expert looks of a Kelkar.
But a few years ago I took this decision to resign from the Indian Liberal Group (of which I was a Life Member) following differences on their views on `The Liberal Budget' particularly their views on taxation where they held the same viewpoint as Mr. Kelkar and the Congress Party that farmers must pay income tax.
We had argued that farmers do pay income tax when they have other sources of incomes as well like a fixed deposit or rental income and in fact their agricultural income is clubbed with their other incomes.
Now I am actually growing crops this season and it further reconfirms my view that farmers should not pay taxes. There is no income.
Yet Diesel prices have been increased and its the Indian farmers who will pay more.
Why not just farmers I believe no Indian should pay any direct taxes. Look at the mess India is in. And this has nothing to do with our citizenry but everything to do with the `Gorment'.
This is budget for bankers and oil companies - gift by a banker Prime Minister.
On budget day I remember the late Nani Palkhivala and the ernestness with which he explained to the common man how the budget would rob him of his few enjoyments in life. For Palkhivala budgets were not personal on how much tax he would save or the Tata's would save but what the budget would do to the country.
As I watch TV debates today I just miss him.