Modi’s Claims on GDP Growth and Housing Under UPA Are Questionable

PM Modi claimed that since 1991, GDP growth was highest under his government. He is being economical with the truth.

4 min read
PM Modi wrongly claimed that the UPA had only created 25 lakh homes in its tenure. File image.

Speaking at the India Today Conclave on Saturday, 2 March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a couple of controversial and easily contested claims.

He claimed that in the years since liberalisation in 1991, India’s GDP growth rate has been the highest in the last five years, under his government. Modi was, in fact, being economical with the truth about the numbers pertaining to the economy.

He also wrongly claimed that the UPA had only created 25 lakh homes in its tenure. In October 2018, Modi had made a similar statement (which had been fact-checked and called out for being inaccurate here).

Here’s setting the record straight, once again, on both GDP and housing data.

The GDP Revisions

CLAIM: The Prime Minister said, “Today, we are the fastest growing large economy. If you look at the Indian economy from 1991, the GDP growth rate has been the highest in the last five years.”

FACT: The metric to evaluate GDP was altered after the Modi government’s own data showed that the GDP growth rate had been higher under Manmohan Singh’s UPA government than under the current BJP government.

As Arshu John explains in The Caravan, “For several years, GDP growth was calculated against the GDP in the financial year 2004-05. In July 2018, a committee set up under the National Statistical Commission – a body constituted under the aegis of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Information – submitted a report that calculated previous GDP growth rates against a more recent base year, the financial year 2011-12.”

The report stated that the average GDP growth rate under the UPA was around 7.75 percent, and it was lower under the first four years of the current BJP government, at 7.35 percent. UPA-1 (2004 to 2009) averaged 8.1 percent and UPA-2 stood at 7.46 percent respectively.

In November 2018, Niti Aayog issued revised GDP data for financial years between 2005 and 2012, retrospectively lowering the average GDP growth rate of both UPA-1 and UPA-2 to 6.7 percent, and thereby transforming the rate under Modi to the highest growth rate in almost three decades.

So, when Modi makes the blanket claim, “GDP growth rate has been the highest in the last five years”, he is being, at best, economical with the truth.

Modi’s Claim on Housing Under UPA

CLAIM: During his speech, PM Modi stated, “Housing for all – a house for every Indian by 2022, and we are making remarkable progress in this direction... 1.5 crore homes have already been created compared to 25 lakh homes made by UPA.”

FACT: The UPA, in its last four years alone (from 2010-11 to 2013-14), constructed 89.65 lakh houses. This number is far higher than the 25 lakh houses Modi is crediting the UPA with. Hence, the prime minister’s claim is inaccurate.

What Are the Different Housing Schemes Under the Government?

As per the information available on the government’s housing website, public housing programme in India started with the rehabilitation of refugees immediately after Independence and since then, it has been a major focus area of the government as an instrument of poverty alleviation. Rural housing program, as an independent programme, started with Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) in 1996.

Although IAY addressed the housing needs in the rural areas, certain gaps were identified during the concurrent evaluations and the performance Audit by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in 2014.

To address these gaps in the rural housing program, the IAY has been re-structured as the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) in April 2016. The urban equivalent of the scheme was earlier known as the Rajiv Awas Yojana, which has now been restructured into the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Urban.

How Many Houses Have Been Constructed Over the Years?

Multiple government data sources have been looked at to arrive at the number of houses constructed over the years in the rural housing scheme. Information provided by the government in the Rajya Sabha in 2016, in the Lok Sabha in 2018, CAG report of the year 2014, annual reports of the Ministry of Rural development have all been combined to arrive at these figures.

As per these figures, the UPA government constructed a total of 89.65 lakh houses as part of the IAY in their last four years between 2010-11 & 2013-14. The current government on the other hand constructed a total of 111.44 lakh houses in their first four years between 2014-15 & 2017-18.

How Did Various Governments Fare?

In general, the number of houses constructed has seen an increasing trend over the years. The NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on average, constructed around 11.68 lakh houses per year during its six-year tenure.

The average under UPA-1 was 17.39 lakh houses per year where as it was 24.7 lakh houses per year under UPA-2. Under the current government, the average of the first four years is more than UPA-2, at 27.86 lakh per year.

(Certain sections of the article, that are related to Narendra Modi’s claim on housing under UPA, first appeared on and have been republished with permission.)

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