YOU MAY soon get, or may have already got, either an email or SMS or both from the Railways — may be from Suresh Prabhu’s email ID as well — giving you detailed highlights of the Rail Budget.
Acting on Prabhu’s orders, the Railways is sending out seven crore emails and one crore SMSes to target groups, telling them what the Rail Budget has in store for them in what is turning out to be a never-before public relations exercise surrounding the budget.
Rail Bhawan officials prepared group emails of target audiences like state-specific NGOs, chambers of commerce, farmers’ associations, trade unions, bar councils, chartered accountant associations and the like and culled out from the budget speech content relevant to each of the target groups.
A quarantined facility in Rail Bhawan was busy preparing these targeted highlihts since Thursday morning and by evening the mails and the SMSes started firing.
Rail Bhawan alone will shoot 4.5 lakh emails to target groups. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation has prepared a database of around seven crore email IDs for this purpose.
Even the zonal railways had been given targets. South Central Railway in Hyderabad alone has sent 50 lakh emails and 45 lakh SMSes to people in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
It is not known whether all the emails will reach the inbox of the recipients or go straight to spam folders but this is the first time such a huge set-up of officials was deployed to disseminate customised, curated information on the Rail Budget.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a pre-budget meeting, had suggested that the Railways leverage the potential of the social media and other means of spreading information on the budget. Going by that, the Railways created a microsite for the budget and had even tried to make popular the hashtag #changeishere.
By evening, the PR machinary at the ministry started circulating SMSes saying #RailBudget2016 had reached the top spot on Twitter trends during the day.