New Delhi: In a first of its kind of exercise to gauge the public mood, the finance ministry on Wednesday invited people to vote on Twitter for the group they want the Budget 2016-17 to focus more on -- farmers, middle class, women or the underprivileged.
The ministry also wants to know public opinion as to which sectors -- agriculture or industry or service -- should
get priority in the Budget, to be unveiled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 29 February.
People can exercise their voting option on the official twitter handle of the Ministry of Finance. The voting would
remain open for the next six days.
"Your views matter! Which sector (Agriculture/Industry/Service) need more focus in Budget2016? Vote and give your
suggestions," a finance ministry tweet said.
In another Tweet, it said: "Which section (farmers/middle class/youth & women/ underprivileged) need more focus in
Budget 2016? Vote and give your suggestions".
Although there is still time for voting to conclude, the Twiteratti in their initial phase suggested that focus should be on farmers, followed by middle class, youth and women and underprivileged.
Many netizens have suggested that middle class should be given larger tax exemptions as it would encourage savings,
while few others wanted government to do more for the farmers and underprivileged sections of the society.
As regards the sectors, the initial voting pattern suggested clear preference for agriculture, followed by
industry and services.
Jaitley has already held extensive pre-budget consultations with various stakeholders, including economists,
industry chambers, trade unions, social sector as well as banks and financial institutions.
In his meeting with the Consultative Committee attached to the finance ministry, Jaitley had said that Budget for the next fiscal needs to provide Rs 1.10 lakh crore for implementing the OROP and 7th Pay Commission award, besides a higher allocation for the farm sector.
Agriculture growth in the last two years has suffered mainly due to insufficient monsoons.
"More incentives will be given to agriculture sector for increasing agriculture production and productivity," he had said.
Finance Minister's Budget team comprises Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind
Subramanian and NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya.
The official team is led by Finance Secretary Ratan Watal, DEA Secretary Shaktikanta Das, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Disinvestment Secretary Neeraj Kumar Gupta.