Budget speech usually proposes multiple ideas and it is essential for analysts to followup on the actuals – Varun(@_quale)
As the current NDA government is about to finish first year in office, social media and traditional media is awash with analysis and comparisons with the previous government. The budget speech is usually a good barometer that indicates the priorities of the government and this post explores the text contained in budget speeches.
In order to undertake a rudimentary text analysis of the budget speech, the text of the first full-budget speech delivered by UPA and NDA were used to obtain the following word clouds.
Word clouds are presented without any comment and it is left to the readers’ judgement to draw conclusions. It must however be noted that word clouds merely provide a pattern in the text and in a document like the budget speech it is natural for the finance ministers to use terms like government, tax, per cent etc. One must also be cognisant of the fact that the budget speech is a combination of political and economic tools, with the scale tilted towards politics.
The following two images show the word clouds for all the budgets presented by UPA-I and UPA II between 2004-05 to 2013-14
The word “propose” features very highly in all the budgets, which signals the necessity to check the actual numbers that are published 2 years after the budget is presented. Typically, the budget estimates are presented for year n, along with the revised estimates for (n-1)th year and the actuals for (n-2)th year. Do read my colleague Pavan Srinath’s essay that outlines 5 broad ideas to read the budget commentary better.
The words “propose”, “government”, “tax”, “crore” ,”per cent”, “duty”,”lakh”, “year”, “http://indiabudget.nic” were removed from the speech to obtain the following word clouds.
Varun Ramachandra is a policy analyst at Takshashila Institution and tweets @_quale