PM Modi’s survey not about country’s opinion on demonetistaion despite 93 per cent support

On Wednesday, the government announced that 93 per cent of the five lakh people who participated the survey were in support of demonetisation.

Written by Radhika Iyengar | New Delhi | Published:November 24, 2016 5:01 pm

 

demonetisation, Narendra Modi, NM App, demonetisation survey, smartphones, news, latest news, India news, national news Only 17 per cent of the entire Indian population has access to smartphones.

In the wake of mammoth protests against his demonetisation step, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 22 tweeted, “I want your first-hand view on the decision taken regarding currency notes. Take part in the survey on the NM App.” It was an invitation to participate in an app-based survey so that Modi could assess how many people were “for” his bold step, which has as of on Wednesday left more than 65 people dead and plummeted the country into a financial whirlpool.

Watch: Demonetisation Is Monumental Mismanagement By Modi Govt, says Manmohan Singh

On Wednesday, the government announced that 93 per cent of the five lakh people who participated the survey were in support of demonetisation. The sample size, however, features only a minuscule portion of the country. Has the 93 per cent positive response been used by the government as a broad brushstroke to paint the overall mood of the country? Or has it been used to gloss over the stark ground realities?

Let’s unpack this. First, only 17 per cent of the entire Indian population has access to smartphones. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that this percentage represents the educated, digitally-savvy lot that has access to debit/credit cards, knows how to use them and is well-versed with e-transaction apps like Paytm and Mobikwik. In effect, therefore, this percentage has been least hit by demonetisation in comparison to those who live in rural villages; those who are the daily wagerers, those who perform small, cash-based transactions everyday, many of whom don’t have bank accounts and have no idea what a plastic card does.

However, let’s look at those who have responded to the survey. Registration is a prerequisite on the app, without which you cannot take the survey. The app requires you to feed in your name, your email id, phone number, your professional background, along with your voter ID card. It basically informs the government exactly who you are. When it comes to taking surveys, however, particularly those which concern the nation, many would prefer to remain anonymous, in order to steer clear of potential trouble they may face in case they give poor ratings.

Why? So far the narrative that has been built around demonetisation in the country is this: If you are in favour of it, you are hurrayed for your patriotism. If you are not in favour, you’re labelled as unpatriotic and possibly a hoarder of black money. In fact, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been releasing radio messages which corroborate and proliferate this narrative (http://bit.ly/2gDj1Jf). Those who oppose the move then are fearful of voicing their views.

Third, there are many who are skeptical of the results. In an interview with NDTV, Mohan Guruswamy who heads Centre for Policy Alternatives, an independent think-tank in Delhi, said that he didn’t take the survey’s results seriously because “the way the questions were framed and it’s [Modi’s] app, so his admirers will come to it…I’m surprised his didn’t get 100% or 99%” in favour of demonetisation. He added, “If Kejriwal had such an app and asked similar questions, I suppose you’d get overwhelming 90% saying that ‘we don’t like it’, because generally it’s the followers/believers who go to such apps.” That’s an argument which may see debatable, but I wanted to see if there was any weight to it. So I logged into the app and read some of the comments our Prime Minister had received from the survey. The comments are available on the app itself and a majority of the comments are in support of Modi. Have a look:

demonetisation, Narendra Modi, NM App, demonetisation survey, smartphones, news, latest news, India news, national news The app requires you to feed in your name, your email id, phone number, your professional background, along with your voter ID card.

Modi claimed that 93 per cent of those who took the survey are pro-demonetisation. It’s important to note that it is the BJP (who developed the app) that has control of the information it received and therefore it’s the BJP that has therefore the overall control of the result. In rural India, including Modi’s adopted village Jayapur, the locals have no access to cash. In fact, the banks closed its doors yesterday at 1:30pm informing the locals that it had run out of cash.

One cannot, therefore, look at this survey in isolation. It skews public perception and doesn’t reflect the stark ground realities.

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  1. P
    Padmakumar
    Nov 24, 2016 at 11:51 am
    Sure enough, the survey results indicate the mood of those who have access to smartphones and the intelligence to take part in key discussions regarding the nations economic situation.
    Reply
    1. G
      G.P.Dube
      Nov 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm
      Good.like Indian express
      Reply
      1. M
        Mukund
        Nov 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm
        This is pathetic. Of course this is not representative of the entire country - and of course the survey is worded to get a particular response (who would answer saying they support black money?)lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;However, that does not mean that the move does not have por support! This country has seen m street protests over corruption and the government did nothing. Its pretty obvious that the majority of the country is supportive of action against black money and corruption.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Of course better implementation would have been great - the real question is, how will people look back at it after six months and longer. If the government is diligent in follow through, I expect people will overwhelmingly feel a part of the crusade and proud of their sacrifice.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;And the opposition, including, disappointingly, Arvind Kejriwal, will have COMPLETELY lost the plot on the issue.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Most of the journalism right now is just silly, reactionary, attention seeking noise.
        Reply
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          Narasimha N
          Nov 25, 2016 at 10:16 am
          the NM app is not a govt owned app.It ia owned and registered in one individuals name as a pvt individual and regd with the BJP party office address 5 lakh people have been duped into parting with user data thinking it maybe a govt site and there is data security .lt;br/gt;google for " surgical strike by BJP on user data" in news and you will get the impact of loss of privacy and data security. Misrepresentation and fraud comes to mind in the way users have been induced
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            nitin
            Nov 24, 2016 at 12:05 pm
            Dont call barking of some rascals as lt;br/gt;" mammoth protests against his demonetisation step"...
            Reply
            1. S
              SG
              Nov 26, 2016 at 8:11 am
              किसी भी रिसर्च सर्वे में non-respondent की संख्या का ब्यौरा देना होता है. अगर भारत की १७ प्रतिशत जनसँख्या मात्र के पास स्मार्ट फ़ोन हैं एवं उनमे से कितनो ने जवाब दिया और मोदी के पक्ष में जवाब देने वालों का पोटेंशियल उत्तरदाता का कितना प्रतिशत था यह सब भी बताना चाहिए था ताकि आंकड़ो का ी मतलब निकले. नहीं तो यह "doctored" रिसर्च के श्रेणी में आता है.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;पर उससे भी बड़ा सवाल है - क्यों स्मार्ट फ़ोन के दुनिया के बहार लोगों की राय कोई मैंने नहीं रखता? lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;मोदी के सरकार में एवं बीजेपी में सान्ख्याकिविदों (statistician) की बहुत कमी है.
              Reply
              1. S
                Saurabh Awasthi
                Nov 24, 2016 at 12:52 pm
                If you want to know the 'ground reality', go to Radhika Iyenger. she has my full support!
                Reply
                1. S
                  santosh
                  Nov 24, 2016 at 2:37 pm
                  Why we should believe your article where expert is from ndtv which does negative reporting about government.
                  Reply
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