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Budget Text, Pretext, Context And Subtext

The ‘Subtext’ hangs in the air long after former Finance Minister P Chidambaram decoded the Text, Pretext, Context & Subtext of the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget speech 2021-22 at the Rajya Sabha. What’s the text of the speech? He explained: “The text is prosaic, bureaucratic.” What’s the pretext? “The pretext is: we have a pandemic. (Yet) we have supply side measures!” And the context? “The context is a slowing down economy, pushed into a deep recession, minus 10%, thanks to the pandemic — and thanks to incompetent economic management.” He continued: “But, more than the text, more than the pretext, more than the context, what is important is the subtext. The subtext is: this is a Budget prepared for the rich, of the rich and by the rich.” He said the Budget has nothing for: 120 mn people losing jobs; 64 mn dropping out of the labour force, including 22% women; and 35% of MSMEs shut down. Replying to the Budget discussion in Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman put the things in context: “Speaker sir, the former FM is trying to imitate you but he has been a miserable failure in the impact he created unlike you who has created good impact.” Speaker M Venkaiah Naidu is known for his quick one-liners that fill the House Of Elders with laughter.