Loudest cheer on social media for Modicare

NEW DELHI: 05 Feb 2018

From the government’s agri push and ambitious health programme to the criticism that the wishlist of the middle class has not been considered, and above all, the prime minister’s cheering in Parliament, every proposal that FM Arun Jaitley read out on Thursday prompted a chatter on social media.

And capturing this feedback— across blogs, Facebook, Twitter and any place on the Internet that people found to talk about the Budget—was an analytics team stationed in the I&B ministry, studying the comments and providing feedback to the government on reactions to the budget and which aspects of it need to be explained more. This war room of sorts, set up to get real-time feedback and empower the government to react suitably, was being monitored by minister Smriti Irani.

Those involved in the initiative told ET that the healthcare proposals dominated online discussions while the special scheme to address pollution in Delhi and NCR, hike in MSP, welfare schemes for the rural section and the poor, rural toilets and focus on infrastructure too generated positive reaction.

“Initially, there was some doubt with regard to what the FM had said about fixing MSP of kharif crops. That had to be clarified,” a professional said. He added that the loudest cheer, however, came when the FM announced the National Health Protection scheme to cover 10 crore poor households. “The announcement of the health scheme drowned out all other discussions.”

While there were questions on Modicare, there were also comments pointing out to a recent World Bank report that said many countries, including Nepal, Afghanistan and Thailand, are on the right track of implementing such a system.

The team, before getting down to analyse reactions to the FM’s speech, had to mine data and reactions related to the economy and expectations in the last 100 days, and also look at the budgets and reactions of the earlier years to make the algorithm stronger. The in-house developed software had made a trial run by studying people’s reaction to the Economic Survey.( Economic Times )