Five Exaggerated Claims From PM Modi’s Independence Day Speech
PM Modi’s independence day speech was laden with statistics, but how far were they true?
On India’s 70th Independence Day, high up from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered what was perhaps the longest speech by any PM in the country.
Heavy on statistics, in 94 minutes PM Modi highlighted the progress his government has made in the last two years. While some of the claims he made may be correct, statistics were befuddling and often exaggerated.
Here are five claims that PM Modi made in his Independence Day speech. How far are they true?
1. Electrification of Villages: The Nagela Fatela Faux Pas
PM Modi held up an Uttar Pradesh village Nagela Fatela as an example of development under the NDA government.
It takes three hours to reach Nagela Fatela in Hathras but it took 70 years for electricity to reach here.Modi’s Independence Day spech
Two days after his speech however, officials were scurrying to make Modi’s claims true. While electricity still eludes the village, the Modi government has passed on the blame to the state government, alleging misuse of central grants.
An official on the ground told Business Standard that he was shocked to hear the village’s name.
We had to rush to this village soon after and start the electricity current in the newly laid low-tension wires. This was the first time the electricity current was released in the wires.
2. ‘Now We Give 15,000 Railway Tickets in a Minute’
Modi claimed that earlier the Indian Railways could process only 2,000 tickets in a minute. “Now we can give out 15,000 tickets in a minute,” said Modi, speaking of the improvement in the railway process.
Those who might have seen it would know how the buffering used to be there, nobody knew when the website would be operational again, but today I have to say with satisfaction that now it is possible to have fifteen thousand tickets per minute.
While Modi may not be completely incorrect in making these claims, the number of originating passengers from 2013-2014’s 8,421 million — when 16,021 tickets were issued per minute — reduced to 8,224 million in 2014-2015.
By that logic, the number of tickets issued per minute may have declined from the 2013 statistics provided by the railway ministry data.
Besides, Modi provides no context of when only 2,000 tickets were issued. He invokes the imagery of a time when the website was laborious to use, but doesn’t specify when, making it difficult to scope the extent of the improvement.
3. Arrears of Sugarcane Farmers Cleared
Among other claims, Modi said the arrears of sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh had been cleared.
I can point out in solace that all the sugarcane which was procured and which came for marketing this time for that almost 95 percent of farmers have got the price of sugarcane produced and I am sure and I believe that the remaining 5 percent of farmers will also be paid in the coming days.
As of 2 August however, sugar mills owed Rs 5,695 crore dues to cane growers so far in 2015-2016, Parliament was informed.
Of the total cane arrears, private sugar mills owed maximum dues of Rs 4,375.29 crore, followed by cooperatives at Rs 1,212.28 crore and public mills at Rs 107.58 crore.
Earlier in May, Modi had claimed that only about Rs. 700-800 crore of sugar cane farmers’ dues were still pending. But the numbers say otherwise.
4. India is the No 1 Destination for FDI
Invoking his popular rhetoric of Make in India and making India a destination for foreign direct investment, Modi said:
In terms of foreign investment, with regard to foreign direct investment, our country happens to be the most favourite destination in the world today. We have left behind even the big economies of the world in matters of growth rate and GDP.
This claim however is entirely incorrect.
According to the World Investment Report 2016, India is in fact ranked 10th in foreign direct investment and is behind countries like China, USA and Singapore.
5. On Sanitation and Open-Defacation
Through the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, and the efforts of the government, Modi said that over 70,000 villages in India are free from open-defecation today.
While government data says as many as 74,922 villages were free of open-defecation, the story on the ground is difficult to corroborate.
In 2015, Modi claimed that under the Swachh Vidyalay scheme, separate toilets for boys and girls were provided in schools. According to FactChecker’s investigation in 2015, the toilets are non-functional in many schools.
According to ABP News, as of May 2016, toilets were in a bad condition across several states.
While Modi’s claim may be backed by government data, the ground realities say that the toilets built to eradicate open-defecation are also in a dismal state.
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