With 15 August just around the corner, several messages claiming free distribution schemes by the government have inundated WhatsApp chats.
One such message speaks of a free cycle distribution scheme for students which will be undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, on 15 August. Urging all students to fill the form available at the link, the message also encourages people to share widely so as to help as many as possible.
This message is however fake, since there has been no official confirmation of such an event by the government so far.
The link in the message reads: http://Bharat-Sarkar.com/साईकिल/. Every Indian government authorised website is set up by the National Informatics Centre. Hence, most government websites end with the url nic.in or gov.in.
Further, the official website of the government of India is the National Portal of India (india.gov.in). Additionally, the website address Bharat-Sarkar.com finds no mention in the GOI web directory, a one-stop for all government-related websites.
Upon clicking the link http://Bharat-Sarkar.com/साईकिल/, users are directed to a page which requires them to fill out personal details including their address.
The terms and conditions link at the bottom of the page redirects to a page where a warning message pops up stating that the website is NOT associated with the government or any political party,
BOOM, a fact-checking site, also did a website analysis on the url, but could only discern that the url was created in Delhi.
BOOM also noted that the message was in fact a rehash of an earlier message in Hindi that promised free school bags to students on 15 August.