MANASI PHADKE | Updated on January 23, 2018

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The exempt, exempt, exempt equation

Clever Guptaji (Sycophantically): Sir! Welcome back Sir! Our hero! We saw you on TV. What a performance! Awe-inspiring! All those slogans and placards! For a heart-stopping minute, I thought you’d gone over to the muffler party. And tearing up paper and throwing it up in air confetti style! Waah!

Neta (swelling up with pride): Haahaa. Oh yes, we were truly in a “Singham” mode. Guptaji, I have always wished to be part of some struggle! And this time, my wish was really fulfilled.

CG: Of course, Sir! The earlier one was to get Swaraj. And this one was to get at Swaraj. 68 years ago, the people of this country decided we don’t want a Raja. And now we don’t want Raje. Such similarities!

Neta (a bit unsettled): Umm, yes, yes. And did you see our leader talk? That is the form we were waiting for!

CG: Of course, Sir. Though I must say it was unsettling to see a Gandhi fight against Swaraj.

Netaji (discomfited): Guptaji, stop talking like that. Sometimes I wonder on whose side you are.

CG: Between Gandhi and Swaraj, an average Indian does get confused, Sir. But Sir, what is this entire thing about taxes? Why were you protesting about taxes?

Netaji (now really uncomfortable): Actually, even I did not get it properly. They kept on talking about rolling out a GST and hiking MAT. So confusing! Because I always roll out the mat in the evening and don’t know anything about GST! But someone told us that the GST would make liquor expensive. We immediately protested.

CG: What intoxicating depth! You made the entire country reel under the impact! And Sir, did the FM manage to introduce the Direct Tax Code at all?

Netaji (vehemently): I get very bored of this DTC business. The FM kept talking about converting some long run vehicle from EEE to EET. I was greatly troubled first because there is no vehicle called EEE. And even if there is, how can the FM convert it? He is a lawyer, not an engineer. But then someone told me that a vehicle means savings scheme. These economists! Always using confusing jargon. But the moment we heard E means exempt, EEE sounded like the perfect thing for us!

CG: For us? Parliamentarians?

Netaji (now indignant): For us; the public of this country. You don’t need to be an economist to know that Exempt, Exempt, Exempt is much better than Exempt, Exempt, Tax. We immediately protested.

CG: Sir, I heard NGO saying that cost of stalling the Parliament is ₹30,000 per minute. That is a total cost of ₹1.44 crore per day.

Netaji (concerned): Nonsense! How can it be so less? In 2012, this cost stood at ₹6 crore per day! They’ve forgotten to add the inflation, the idiots!

CG: To experience inflation, you need to have value, Sir. But ahm. We are diverting. So, 40 of you have created a cost of ₹126 crore!

Netaji (flattered): Well, now everyone knows we are truly our weight in gold, Guptaji! Now that the opportunity cost of our work has been estimated an NGO, we have decided to put in a demand to increase our per day allowance for attending the Parliament peacefully. Our placards are already done. Paper balls are being made even as we talk. We will create an international awareness about our working style.

CG (mumbling): That you’ve already managed to do, Sir. The Oxford Unversity is replacing “unparliamentary” with “parliamentary” with immediate effect.

The writer is a Pune-based economist

Published on August 16, 2015

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