Nirmala Sitharaman’s ‘swan song’ Budget speech virtually an ode to Modi

She also sought to showcase the new kind of ‘socialism in action’ by the Modi government in which there were only four castes: mahilayen (women), yuva (youth) and annadata (farmers), a new line that Modi has been propounding at his roadshows and rallies. Also, there was enough stress on how previous regimes used social justice more as a political slogan rather than an administrative goal.

The message appeared to have hit bull’s eye. PM Modi was seen thumping his desk non-stop as his trusted minister wound up her speech, heaping praise on his vision and commitment to the poor and vulnerable sections of the people.

Modi gave the finance minister full marks, when he described her budget as “inclusive and innovative”. He couldn’t hold back his penchant for eye-catching numbers and terminologies either, describing the current situation as a “sweet spot” in which capital expenditure has been at a record high of Rs 11,11,111 crore.

Given the interim budget, Sitharaman’s task was rather limited. So, there were hardly any dramatic announcements. No changes were proposed in taxes and levies, nor structures and administration. Here again, claims of benefits and improvements were benchmarked against records of governments before 2014.

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