Demonetisation Did Not Triple Burundi’s GDP, It’s a Satirical Post
File photo of a man with Rs 2,000 notes.
File photo of a man with Rs 2,000 notes. (Photo: AP)

Demonetisation Did Not Triple Burundi’s GDP, It’s a Satirical Post

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What does one do when encountered with a news report or article that seems dubious? Check its veracity, of course. But, that’s not all. One also needs to check the source of the article, to find out whether the intention behind it is a malafide one or plain and simple fun.

On Wednesday, 21 November, The Quint came across one such article, only to find out that it’s a piece of satire.

CLAIM

An ‘exclusive report’ by a website called Orange Fox claims that demonetisation tripled the gross domestic product (GDP) of east African country Burundi.

The report suggests that in 2012, Burundi's "agriculture produce fell to an all-time low due to a widespread epidemic" caused by a weed called crabgrass.

The article then quotes reports to claim that a delegation from India's Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare was sent to Burundi to assess the situation in 2015.

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The report suggests that the delegation discovered that crabgrass pulp could be used for making "paper of the finest quality."

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Adding that following this, an MoU was signed between the two countries and Burundi exported over 2.5 million metric tonnes of crabgrass to India, which was used in making the new Rs 500 and 2,000 notes, the report says, adding that this bumper export boosted Burundi's economy three folds.

TRUE OR FALSE

False, definitely. As Orange Fox, on its website declares that its content is a ‘work of fiction’.

(Screenshot of the disclaimer by Orange Fox)
(Screenshot of the disclaimer by Orange Fox)
Orange Fox website

INDIA DOESN’T IMPORT PAPER FROM BURUNDI

Nevertheless, for the sake of facts, data from the official website of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry shows that India does not import pulp or any raw material related to paper, from Burundi. Imports from Burundi include leather, wooden articles, articles of iron and steel, nuclear reactors and electrical machinery.

In fact, in 2015-16, the financial year reported in the article, India’s imports from Burundi scaled down by more than $67 million.

Details of India’s imports from Burundi in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Details of India’s imports from Burundi in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
(Photo: Official Website of Ministry of Commerce and Industry)

If the next financial year 2016-17, when demonetisation actually happened is taken into account, the imports increase marginally, but pulp still doesn’t feature in the list of India’s imports from Burundi.

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Details of India’s imports from Burundi in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Details of India’s imports from Burundi in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
(Photo: Official Website of Ministry of Commerce and Industry)

WHERE DOES THE PAPER FOR CURRENCY COME FROM

Till two years ago, for printing currency, India used to import paper mainly from Germany, Japan and UK, a Times of India report suggests. However, things changed in 2015, after PM Modi urged the RBI to use Indian paper and ink to print currency notes.

According to a report by Quartz, a new production line was added to the Hoshangabad mill, and operations finally began at a second mill in Mysuru, close to the printing press. This new mill was built with a capacity of 12,000 MT and, together with the Hoshangabad line, was expected to meet pretty much all of India’s bank note paper requirements, while also knocking off around Rs 1,500 crore from its future import bill.

(With inputs from Newslaundry, The Times of India and Quartz.)

(Clarification: This story was updated at 1.50 pm on 22 November to reflect the fact that Orange Fox is a website that writes satirical content)

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