Nearly 50,000 people have responded to four Twitter
polls put out by the Union finance ministry’s official handle, in its effort to get ideas from the people for Budget 2017-18.
On January 6, 9 and 10, the ministry tweeted four multiple-choice questions, asking respondents to select sectors, demographic groups and schemes they wanted the government to focus on in the Budget. These four tweets have been retweeted or “liked” about 5,883 times till the filing of this story. The number is quite likely to increase — indicating more participation — as the polls close Friday.
Till Thursday evening, 23,500 people had responded to a question on which sector the Budget needs to focus on, and 65 per cent respondents had chosen agriculture. About 17 per cent had selected infrastructure, 11 per cent manufacturing and seven per cent information technology and services.
To a question on which area needed more focus, 53 per cent of 7,800 respondents said micro, small and medium enterprises, 29 per cent clicked on low-cost housing, 10 per cent on automobiles and ancillaries, and eight per cent for the garments sector.
Responding to a question on which section of society should benefit most from the Budget, 53 per cent of the 10,000 voters said farmers, 29 per cent said youth, 11 per cent voted for the underprivileged, while seven per cent said women and children.
To a question on which scheme the Budget should focus on, 51 per cent of the 7,000 respondents clicked on “housing for all”, 15 per cent said MUDRA Yojana, 24 per cent said Startup India, and 10 per cent for Stand-Up India.
Some of the responses to the tweeted questions were quite colourful. Some demanded more protectionism for domestic firms, especially from Chinese companies; other asked for reduction in regulations, focus on employment generation, universal basic income and better health care.
The most replies, however, were about tax breaks. People asked for reduction in tax rates for professionals, easing of tax slabs and exemption limits, tax incentives for cashless transactions and tax breaks and sops for various sectors.
When tweets are around, can trolls be far behind?
Some respondents trolled the FinMin, asking it to save a religious leader from sexual assault charges, saving cows, protecting Hindus from conversion to other religions, and saving the Jallikattu festival of Tamil Nadu — currently in the eye of a storm.
Some people even said the focus of the Budget should be improving the lot of the Reserve Bank of India.