IS the stockmarket boom going to last? Is it the beginning of the economic upturn? Do we see, finally, light at the end of the tunnel? For every aye, there's a counter nay. India, after all, is a democracy-look what happens in Parliament every day. But after the 421-point rise in the Sensex in two weeks after Budget 99, the ayes seem to be growing louder-from finance-savvy housewives, medium-scale businessmen, the punting executives, the mid-level employees in the metros, and most certainly, the brokers on the trading floor, even the faceless market junky who till yesterday wouldn't look at the bhav copy. And from the 16 per cent who found the budget far above their expectations in a recent poll among top-level professionals.
Even the industrialists in whose hands the future of this country rests. Post-budget, many of them are smiling. And the confirmed cribbers actually sport a grimace. Says a senior corporate economist: "When I talk to the businessmen, I get the feeling that the loudness with which they used to bitch has come down." A more conservative explanation comes from Amit Mitra, secretary-general, ficci: "There's certainly what we may call a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel perception, even if there's not much statistical evidence. The ultimate recovery, of course, depends on the length of the tunnel. If things go right-and that includes supportive policies-we may see a bottoming out by the busy season."