The finance minister has played true to form, sticking to the rule book and his party's core political interests in formulating his Budget . In the backdrop of concerns over high prices, rising scams, a growing governance deficit and worries over fragilities in growth, there were hopes for some radical measures to tackle these issues.
This was not in evidence in the proposals, which substantially hiked spending on the UPA's pet schemes for the poor .The middle class urban Indian has got very little - a nominal sop on income tax, which should increase the average tax payer's take home by around Rs 2,000 per month.
The tax proposals were clearly designed to link with the introduction of the new Direct Taxes Code from the next financial year, as well as the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. Reforms remain a promise for the future while no substantive measure on black money was seen. Overall, a workman-like but uninspiring Budget.