The budget speech had long ceased to be a game changer in markets. Budgets mostly tell the story in numbers. The speech always provides optics and can at times be excruciatingly number heavy. And, the numbers are rarely complied with by the time the year ends. The story of every budget looks inevitably cliched in flashback mode. The actual numbers always look very different from estimates. Yet, we habitually take budgets very seriously.
An event industry thrives on budgets. Television takes it too seriously and markets get their highs on Budget speculation. But, their relevance ends there. So, how is the budget really relevant?
Budgets are now more relevant in presenting big ideas to the world. This budget speech had very few numbers. The numbers were in the attached document. There was no mention of any state-specific projects. The whole focus was on mission building. Clearly, the government is moving towards telling us what it will do over its whole term. Housing for all, water at every doorstep, EV revolution, an investment target of 100 Lakh crores infra, and stock exchange for social impact ventures are a few examples of the missions in progress this budget seeks to create.
So what does this mean? It completely shifts focus to execution. It is no more only about resource allocation. It is much more about delivery. The post-budget narratives clearly show that India is not ready for patient measurement of missionary execution. But, the markets don’t really have a choice. This is the reality we must learn to live with. Mission 2.0 has only begun.