Ordinarily we are all fools till the 1st of April. Because most of the budget proposals come into force today; those we like and those we do not. Today, finally we leave behind all our budget dreams and get down to counting the gains and losses in the new regime.

For instance, we have finally put aside all the expectations we had from our ‘new’ Finance Minister Chidambaram. Perhaps, after a series of disappointments from Pranabda, we would get an exciting budget; just like he gave us in good old years.

Well, let us no longer be the fools. The good old years when we just began to break out of our ‘licence raj’ shell, are over now. Then, anything that promised a little economic freedom, a little vent to our creative abilities, a little chance to rise to our best, looked exciting. And we did respond to those stimuli and produce commendable results.

But honeymoon cannot be forever. Now is the dawn of hard reality. The big advantage of a low base line is no longer available to us. Our own past performance has set the bar higher now. So now we need far better performance to look tolerable.

And that is indeed difficult under the circumstances in which we find ourselves now. Europe and US are struggling to get back on their feet; we can no longer expect for any significant boost from their sagging economies. And we have a competitor struggling to sustain its own performance – China I mean; the competition is even more cut-throat now.

The last thing that we can and ought to do now is rest on our laurels. The tough march up hill has just started now. Are we in a mood to accept the challenge ? Or shall we be the fools ?